Prince's "Rehearsal" at Dakota Jazz Club, 1/16/13
All of this pleasure on Prince's part didn't come without a bit of mock-ruthless stage management. Following a particularly sick sax solo, he playfully shoved the guy offstage to regain the spotlight. And not long after, there came the closest thing to a recognizable melody from the Purple Yoda's oeuvre. He began a tease of the opening riff of "When You Were Mine," but then thought better of it and laughed it off. Being in his kingdom for a night, especially in such close quarters, means giving up any semblance of control. The room ate it up.
Next came a funk-soul medley that proved as stupifying as any actual Prince creation. In it, Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You" and James Brown's "I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing (Open Up the Door, I'll Get it Myself)" ceased to belong to their original performers once the face-contorting master got a hold and worked his supporting cast into a lather -- and the crowd to their feet. He sang sideways into the mic during the Brown section, but mostly seemed to want to get the crowd going. "Thank you all, thank you!" was as much interaction as we'd get, and he didn't even bother stopping the song to say so.
A brief break followed, and then one final burst of power from the full band. The horn section hopped and slid in sync while Prince hit the keys, and suddenly there were vocals! Well, prerecorded vocals. The recent remix of "Rock N Roll Affair" that popped up online last week via a mysterious 3rd Eye Girl social media presence was suddenly thudding through the speakers, and the band slowly exited to backstage, guarded by off-duty Minneapolis Police, as the song took over the room.
Overheard: "Love you guys. Play Minneapolis more often."
The Crowd: A mix of Uptown and Downtown, young and old, and definitely a few who had greased the hinges in their hips enough to shake them.
Random Detail: After the show, DJ Rashida played some more funky creations ranging from Zhané to Steely Dan. Meanwhile, a couple of women cautiously made their way to the stage and swiped the coffee mug positioned on a table next to Prince's keyboard.
Personal Bias: First Prince show, and definitely not last. A performer who can enrapture an audience without playing a single song from his/her own catalog can do anything. This was a funky night to behold.