On December 19th, 2011, Prince left thousands of concertgoers unsatisfied after a far too short show at the Tacoma Dome in Washington State. How do I know they were unsatisfied? Very few people left the arena, even long after the houselights came up and the stagehands began disassembling equipment. There seemed to be a collective feeling of disbelief among the large crowd, many of whom were likely well aware of the lavish praise Prince’s current Welcome 2 America tour is receiving. The folks I talked to after the show were outright pissed – and with good reason: the good seats were around two hundred bucks a pop (to say nothing of the VIP tables near the stage). Couldn’t Prince manage a two-hour show at the very least?
Not on this night, as it turned out. It’s especially unfortunate for those who were seeing Prince for the first time. It was my sixth Prince concert, but it's the first time I felt like I didn’t get my money’s worth. The show started late, but not absurdly so. The stage – in the shape of Prince’s patented symbol that once served as his name – was in the center of the arena. He’s done this before and I was happy to see this type of presentation again. It gives the audience a much better view, one that favors the entire arena rather than only those closest to the stage. There were a few false alarms with the lights going down briefly and coming right back up, amping up the anticipation prior to Prince and his band taking the stage.
Now would be a good time to say I love Prince and consider him to be, bar none, the baddest man in all of music. He’s truly in a class of his own as a live performer, breathing a rarefied air known only to the likes of the late Godfather of Soul, James Brown. His bands are always incredible – with legendary sax man Maceo Parker taking on a co-starring role on the current tour. Parker has been playing with Prince for years now, but he’s best known for the groundbreaking funk solos he played during his many years with James Brown. When Prince was onstage in Tacoma, he put on a solid show as usual. At barely an hour and a half, there just wasn’t enough of it.