This article belongs to the story Prince live in 1990, the story of the Nude tour.
This article contains a portion of the press’ reactions to various Nude Tour concerts. The majority of the reviews I have gathered are in (my native tongue) Dutch. Since I know that many of the readers on the English version of my blog don’t understand Dutch, I omitted those reviews from this article. Would you want to read the Dutch reviews anyway, please click here, or click on the Dutch flag beside/below this article.
Los Angeles Times, 05/02/1990
POP MUSIC REVIEW : Prince Gives Tribute to Friend, Offers a Peek of World Tour : Concert: Hits from the ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Batman’ periods highlight benefit for family of his late bodyguard.
By Jon Bream
MINNEAPOLIS — Every time since 1981 that Prince has done a major concert tour, he’s previewed it with an unannounced club gig here in his hometown.
This time, it was different. Prince wanted to pay tribute in song and to the tune of more than $50,000 to his former bodyguard Big Chick Huntsberry, who died last month of heart failure at age 49, leaving a family of seven. So on Monday, Prince played an announced, $100-a-ticket concert at swanky, suburban Rupert’s Nightclub, where in 1987 he had previewed his European tour with an unannounced, $5-a-ticket, four-set bar-band performance.
Before Prince sang a note Monday, he dedicated the concert to Huntsberry, assuring the 650 fans that the burly bodyguard-turned-evangelist was “looking down, smiling.” If so, he witnessed a fun 90-minute greatest-hits party, heavy on tunes associated with “Purple Rain” and the recent “Batman” period.
The most emotional moment of the evening came when the uncharacteristically talkative Prince dedicated a stirring performance of “Purple Rain,” Huntsberry’s favorite of his ex-boss’ tunes, to his widow.
“Question of You,” the lone new piece in the program, was an eclectic and exciting showcase of Prince’s versatility as he offered some gorgeous Spanish-flavored guitar, a playful Chaplinesque dance, a bluesy vamp and a James Brown coda.
Prince has once again revamped his band, dropping the two-man horn section, replacing the drummer and keyboardist and hiring three male dancers in place of the electrifying Cat Glover. Prince is favoring more of a rock than funk feel, obviously offering a whiter show than the kind of James Brown-inspired funk extravaganzas he has taken on the road beginning with 1984’s “Purple Rain” tour.
This concert was billed as a preview of his 56-concert European “Nude Tour,” which begins June 2. It refers to the superstar’s return to stripped-down rock. Meanwhile, U.S. fans will have to wait for a new show, expected to hit the road in the fall after Prince’s “Graffiti Bridge” movie, set for an August release.
(Los Angeles Times, 05/02/1990)
Rolling Stone, 06/14/1990
Meltdown in Minneapolis
Prince previews European show at benefit concert
By David Fricke
THIS WAS THE KIND OF PRINCE GIG you don’t get to see much anymore: no props or heavy sacred-sexual shtick, just hit songs, dirty dancing, whiplash funk and blowtorch guitar. On April 30th, at Minneapolis’s yuppie watering hole Rupert’s Nightclub, the paisley potentate of Eighties crossover pop played his first live show of the Nineties, stripping down to pre-Purple Rain essentials in a torrid ninety-minute club preview of his European summer roadshow, appropriately titled Nude.
Fronting a five-piece band augmented by three male dancers, Prince didn’t actually take his clothes off for the sellout crowd (he did start the evening shirtless). But he let his R&B soul hang out all over the place, giving “Housequake” the hyper-James Brown treatment and transforming his latest “hit” (via Sinead O’Connor), “Nothing Compares 2 U,” into a steamy Stax-Volt prayer. He even whipped into a quick version of “Respect” during the encore, with new singer-keyboardist Rosie Gaines wailing like a brassy young Aretha Franklin.
It was actually a sober occasion, a $100-a-ticket benefit concert for the family of Prince’s former bodyguard, Charles “Big Chick” Huntsberry, who died April 2nd of heart failure at age forty-nine. After leaving Prince’s employ in 1985, Huntsberry — who died without life insurance — kicked a serious cocaine habit and became an evangelist, setting up Big Chick’s Ministries and speaking in schools and prisons. The show raised about $60,000 for Huntsberry’s widow, Linda, and their six children.
Prince, however, conducted the whole affair like an Irish wake. He opened with a brief eulogy and an eerie reading of “The Future” (one of four songs he performed from Batman), performed entirely in dusky silhouette. Then he went into funkadelic overdrive with a lengthy bump-and-grind suite that featured “1999,” “Housequake,” “Kiss” and a short, saucy dose of “Sexy Dancer” from his 1979 LP Prince. Fueled by the muscular whomp of new drummer Michael Bland, the corpulent sticksman from the “Partyman” video, this was a leaner, meaner act than Prince’s recent stage productions — no jazz brass, no Cat, no mating-ritual playlets. Instead, Prince and his Revolution-style lineup of guitar, bass and twin keyboards, including the veteran Prince sideman Matt Fink, concentrated on vocal sass and snappy propulsion, turning “Alphabet St.” into a rap & roll mini-epic, complete with a quick snip of “It Takes Two,” by Rob Base and D.J. E-Z Rock.
The show found Prince more celebratory than sentimental. He dedicated “Purple Rain” to Huntsberry and paid his final respects with several hallelujah choruses of incendiary Hendrixian guitar. The only new song in the set, “The Question of U,” from Prince’s upcoming film Graffiti Bridge, was a complex, compelling number that began as a bluesy piano romance, accelerated into a stirring Latin-flavored guitar sequence and climaxed as a funky raveup.
Alas, the Big Chick benefit was the only scheduled American performance of Prince’s Nude revue. He will tour the U.S. this fall with a revamped production featuring music from the double-album soundtrack of Graffiti Bridge, which is scheduled for release August 10th. But if Prince’s return to full-tilt sex boogie and mischievous good humor at Rupert’s is any indication (he finished the set with the Joker’s classic bon mot from “Batdance”: “This town needs an enema!”), he still plans to keep his promise to “party till it’s 1999.”
(Rolling Stone, 06/14/1990)
Click on the reviews to enlarge.
Click on the reviews to enlarge.
Prince – Nude Tour – Tamborine image: rrauction.com
Los Angeles Times – Logo image: latimes.com