I have been a fan of Prince for over 30 years. I had the posters on my bedroom wall, the singles and the picture discs (still up in my loft) I loved everything about him; his style, his showmanship, his guitar playing and of course his superior songwriting.
There will never be anyone as great as him, for me. He truly was a modern day icon. He could sing, dance, write beautiful or dirty lyrics, and was a multi-instrumentalist. He style was unique and constantly reinventing himself.
Even when he went by a symbol for his name, or had slave written on his cheekbones, I still idolised the man.
I was very lucky to actually see him live in Birmingham in 2014 and it was a night like no other. He was simply electric, and didn’t stop for 2.5 hours. The best night of my life.
I was due to buy tickets for his “One man and a piano” gig in London this year, but they got postponed, allegedly due to issues with ticket touts. I was gutted.
So, when I heard the news that he had died, I was dumbstruck. I kept hoping the breaking news was wrong, and it was not him that had been found. When the confirmation came through, I am not ashamed to say I sobbed my heart out.
Now, some people think it’s stupid crying over someone you didn’t know personally. I am and always have been, an overly emotional person. Get me on the wrong time of the month and I will cry over a washing up liquid advert. However this was different.
His music had been with me longer than I’d been with my hubby, Leslie. He had seen me through hours of exam revision, long journeys, lounging on sunbeds on holiday, and breaking up with boyfriends in my teenage years.`
Even now, I find it hard to believe he is gone. His music is still on the radio and there are many albums due to be released from his vaults.
So it was with some trepidation that I bought two tickets for “Purple Rain – A Celebration of Prince” at our local theatre.
Billed as the number one Prince tribute artist, Jimi Love leads an 8 piece band who perform hit after hit. Well we would soon see!
Taking our seats in the second row of a tiny auditorium, we sat waiting for the start. Talking to Leslie, he expressed the hope that the act would be good as he was worried that it would be a pale imitation. I leant over and said “If it is rubbish, we will leave at half time, OK?”
Immediately the first bars opened up and I knew we were in for a night of amazing entertainment. The stage (and the crowd) literally exploded with noise.
Jimi Love hit the stage in full force, Guitar chords ringing out. The rest of the band were equally as electric. And we were already up on our feet dancing along!
From being apprehensive to how good it could be, to jumping and signing along with every word, we were totally sucked into the performance.
Jimi Love not only sounded like Prince, he played like him too! His guitar skills were epic, and it was almost like Prince was in the room.
His band, were equally amazing. I have to admit being mesmerised by the Bass player Andy T, who was dressed in a dapper three piece pinstriped suit and who literally didn’t stop rocking with the music, it was almost as hypnotising as a metronome!
His backing singer, Emma Blakk had an amazing voice and danced non-stop. I could have easily listened to her sing solo all night, she was that good!
The keyboards were agilely played by Tony T and his finger were on fire! He sounded (and dressed) just like Dr Fink, and was a master of the keys.
Drums were provided by the beautiful Amanda B who had rhythm right down into her bones. She hit the skins as well as Boby Z and looked a lot better.
The horn section of Becca H (alto sax) and Sheila MG (trumpet) were exceptional! They really knew how to blow. The funky horns really added that final touch to the whole experience and made it seem like a Prince Concert.
I have to admit, being the emotional wreck that I am, I shed a tear when Jimi and Emma were singing “Nothing Compares 2 U” The original being far superior to the worldwide Sinead O’Connor hit version. I was transfixed as Emma took on the Rosie Gaines part. It truly was beautiful, and it made me cry.
The half time break came and we couldn’t wait for it to start again. Jimi took to the stage in a different outfit, but with the same skills, and we were up on our feet again. Yes, they played all the massive hits, but they played some of the rarer stuff that only really die hard Prince fans would know.
We reckoned that there were approximately 28 songs in the whole concert, and every one was spot on! The night ended with Purple Rain. I sat mesmerised by the guitar solo; his fingers flying over the strings just like Prince. His vocals sent chills down my spine, and I sobbed my little heart out.
I cried for the beauty of the music. I cried for the loss of an idol. I cried for the loss of a musical genius. I cried for the senseless waste. And selfishly I cried for myself.
We left the gig emotionally drained, shattered from non-stop dancing, voices hoarse from all the singing. It truly was a fabulous gig and I was so glad I decided to buy the tickets.
In fact, they have already sold out some of their gigs for DECEMBER 2017!!! That really does speak volumes for the bands amazing skills.
If you love Prince or his music then I highly recommend you get yourself some tickets to your nearest gig. I can promise you won’t be disappointed!
Till next time,