Following the release of the album Planet Earth, Prince started his 21 Nights In London: The Earth Tour at the O2 in London on August 1st, 2007. Until September 21st Prince played 21 regular shows at the O2 Arena and 13 so-called aftershows at the O2 Arena club The IndogO2. A compilation of these aftershows were released on cd as a complement to the book 21 Nights on September 30, 2008, under the moniker Indigo Nights / Live Sessions. On the official prince site prince.com the album is called Indigo Nights. this name will be used as the album title in this article.
21 Nights In London: The Earth Tour
During a press conference in London on May 8, 2007, Prince announced he would play 21 shows at the London O2 Arena starting on August 1st of that same year. The tour was named 21 Nights In London: The Earth Tour. On July 15, 2007, Prince released his latest album Planet Earth, but not in a traditional fashion. The album came free of charge with the English newspaper Mail On Sunday. The rest of the world received a regular release in retail stores.
On August 1, 2007, Prince started his residency in London. He performed 21 times at the O2 Arena. Prince also performed 13 so-called aftershows at the O2 Arena club The IndigO2. On September 21st the residency came to an end. The band was the same as the one that performed at the previous 3121 Per4ming Live tour, which had taken place in Las Vegas. Marva King was the only addition to the band:
- Prince – vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, piano, sampler
- Cora Coleman-Dunham – drums
- Josh Dunham – bass
- Morris Hayes – keyboards
- Renato Neto – keyboards
- Maceo Parker – saxophone (from 08/01/2007 to 08/31/2007 and 09/21/2007)
- Greg Boyer – trombone
- Mike Phillips – saxophone, vocoder
- Lee Hogans – trumpet
- Shelby J. – background vocals
- Marva King – background vocals
- “The Twinz” (Maya & Nandy McClean) – dance, background vocals
Even though the tour was dubbed The Earth Tour, the shows weren’t geared towards the Planet Earth album. On average one or two songs off the album were played.
Book 21 Nights
Early in May of 2008 publishing company Atria Books announced they would publish a book in the fall, which would be a “photographic essay” providing insight into “life, lyrics and mystique of one of the most notable and prolific performers of our time, Prince”. The book would be accompanied by Indigo Nights, a compilation of the aftershows Prince played during his 21 nights stay in London.
Judith Curr for Atria Books: “We are tremendously honored and excited by this opportunity to present this lyrical and visually rich book from Prince that captures the spirit and voluptuous sound of his brilliant [London run]. 21 Nights is an innovative multimedia book project created by a musical visionary and uncompromising artist, an invitation to experience a side Prince has not revealed until now”.
On September 30, 2008, the book, and therefore the album, was released. Indigo Nights was, after the 2002 One Nite Alone… Live! boxset and 2003’s C-Note, the third live album Prince had ever released in his entire career thus far.
The album contains recordings stemming from the aftershows that took place on September 17 and 22, 2007 at The IndigO2 club in London. The album contains no less than 4 covers, and if counting Beggin’ Woman Blues (for it’s a medley of 2 songs with complimentary lyrics by Prince), even 5.
Despite the guest lead singers Beverly Knight and Shelby J., who both don’t add much to the mix, this is a fun live album. Prince sounds very relaxed and delivers nice and creative new hooks. He humorously tells the tale of the time he was still able to roam the streets without being seen as a sex symbol/superstar (“all the girls looking at me… to tell me to get out of the way so they could see my cuter friends” and gives new songs like The Song Of The Heart and Satisfied a new sense of urgency. Whole Lotta Love is almost 5 minutes of Prince going at his guitar with his full might. Pure excitement! The One and All The Critics Love U In London close the album out perfectly.
But, I find it hard to rate this album. I have to say, I do kip almost half the songs, but the songs mentioned above are stellar, but ultimately don’t save the album in its entirety. This album is indispensable for Prince fans, but to the average music lover this album is not required listening.
The book 21 Nights, which houses the album, is beautifully packaged and contains great photographs by Randee St. Nicholas, which are accompanied by (song)texts by Prince. Solely for the Prince fan.
All songs written by Prince, unless stated otherwise.
- 3121 (1)
- Girls & Boys
- The Song Of The Heart
- Just Like U (Monologue)
- Beggin’ Woman Blues (2)
- Rock Steady (3)
- Whole Lotta Love (4)
- Alphabet St.
- Indigo Nights
- Misty Blue (5)
- Baby Love (6)
- The One
- All The Critics Love U In London
1: contains musical themes by The Entertainer written by Scott Joplin, Alexander’s Ragtime Band written by Irving Berlin, Music! Music! Music! written by Bernie Baum and Stephan Weiss
2: written by Prince, Pleasant Joseph, Ben Raleigh, Hilda Taylor
3: written by Aretha Franklin
4: written by John Baldwin, John Bonham, James Patrick Page, Robert A. Plant en Willie Dixon
5: written by Bob Montgomery
6: written by B.B. Borden, Martin Keck, Joyce Kennedy, Gary Moore, Glenn Murdock, Jerry “Wizzard” Seay
Songs 3121 to Beggin’ Woman Blues recorded on September 17, 2007, Rock Steady to All The Critics Love U In London recorded on September 22, 2007.
Lead vocals on Rock Steady by guest singer Beverly Knight. Lead vocals on Misty Blue and Baby Love by Shelby J.
C&D 8/28, a live version of Chaos And Disorder, recorded at the August 29, 2007, aftershow, was streamed on the 3121.com website. The song was not part of the album.
On April 10, 2009, the website www.princeopus.com was launched, announcing the arrival of Prince Opus, a renewed version of the 21 Nights book, accompanied by the Indigo Nights album on a Prince iPod and a 40 minute documentary. No release date was given. It hasn’t been released (yet?). However, the documentary is available, see the link to the video below.
What’s your take on Indigo Nights? Let me know!
This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: Prince – Indigo Nights.
Prince – 21 Nights – Pages images: thisisopus.com
21 Nights In London: The Earth Tour banner image: princevault.com
Prince – 21 Nights (book) image: amazon.com
Prince – Indigo Nights image: spotify.com
Prince – Indigo Nights – CD image: discogs.com