|My Name Is Prince
|Beurs van Berlage
|From – to
|March 8th, 2018 – 10:00 to June 8th, 2018 – 18:00
|03/14/2018 10:00 (VIP)
On August 21st, 2017, it was announced that the exhibition, titled My Name Is Prince, was to be organized at the O2 Arena in London. It was supposed to last for 21 days, just as long as his 2007 residency at the O2 during his 21 Nights In London: The Earth Tour.
Due to overwhelming interest, the exhibition period was extended. Starting on October 27th, 2017 to January 7th, 2018, many visitors were able to witness the exhibit.
On January 3rd, 2018, an announcement was made that the next stop for the exhibition was going to be Amsterdam, from March 8th to June 8th, 2018.
March 14th, 2018
On March 14th, 2018 it was time. As a birthday present I went to the exhibition. Because the elementary school was on strike, my youngest son came along.
At 10:15 the VIP tour started, guiding visitors through a separate section next to the regular exhibition. An enthusiastic guide led the group past containing, among other things, the handwritten lyrics to Another Lonely Christmas, flight-cases, (designs for) clothing and peronal makeup-up kits used on his last tour. A video is shown containing footage of his last performance at the O2 Arena during his 21 Nights In London: The Earth Tour. Perfect.
The ‘highlight’ of the VIP tour is that each visitor is given the chance to hold a, personally Prince played, guitar. Well, hold… With white gloves on you get the chance to have a guitar laid on your held out hands for about 2 to 3 seconds. The ritual is rather ridiculous and doesn’t add anything to the experience, as far as I’m concerned.
After the VIP section the regular exhibition is next. The visitor is guided through the early years and albums in a chronological fashion. The chronology hold up unto Purple Rain, after which it’s let go. In the beginning of the exhibition the bulk of the information is given.
It’s strange to see a photo of a bootleg (Jack U Off) between all the images of Prince releases. Given Prince’s relentless war on bootleggers during his lifetime, it’s remarkable that his family allowed this to be part of the exhibition.
In the Purple Rain section of the exhibition you can see the first, Prince written, draft of the film, still called Dreams at the time. Funny to see that Vanity 6 was part of the first script. Vanity hadn’t left the Prince camp yet. The scripted cheering (VANITY 6 VANITY 6 VANITY 6) is a treat.
Seeing the first piece of clothing from the Parade era, moves me. That emotion is also there with Sign O’ The Times, and, particularly, Lovesexy. Those 3 albums are my favorite Prince albums. I have seen the clips and concert footage from those years innumerable times. Seeing those artifacts here, touches me. A pity that, relatively speaking, not too much is present form those years, which were, artistically, his most relevant in his career.
What stands out also, or rather, shocks, is how small Prince really was. Granted, the clothing isn’t displayed at its best, but at times the clothing is so fragile and small, that it is almost impossible to believe Prince was really that small. During the One Nite Alone… Tour in 2002 Prince walked past me at about 50 centimeters. At the time his size was definitely not what stood out to me (his charisma was breath taking).
The thought that Prince, besides all the recording, touring and filming, also designed a lot (all?) of his own clothes (and oftentimes those of band members) himself is pretty impressive. It’s not what I came for, but it really shines through.
Relatively speaking, a lot of attention goes out to his later work (2004 onwards). I don’t have a very strong bond with those years, so I could have done less with that. But a number of items are great to see (the Raspberry Beret suit he wore in the video accompanying the song, is one).
Of course an opportunity is granted to buy merchandise. Because I had purchased a VIP tour, I got the exibition programme for ‘free’ (value € 17,50). Choices are limited and the prices are through the roof (€ 51,00 for a t-shirt is almost criminal).
The book Prince: Guitar & Bass also is not cheap, but it truly is beautiful. I got it as a present. Essential.
All in all I was happily surprised by the exibition. I recommend a visit to non-Prince music lovers and fans alike. The VIP tour comes recommended to die-hard fans.
I have to compliment the staff. Friendly, and all obviously happy and proud to be working there.
But be warned. The exhibition’s claim that it is a special and personal peek into Prince’s musical life, the creativity and the unique vision, can only be validated in part.
Despite the pieces of clothing, guitars, basses and music and clips, I learned nothing to very little. The ‘peek’ is limited to watching artifacts from different periods of time. It is moving at times, but it does not give new or deeper insgiht into Prince’s inner drive.
In 2017 I attended two lectures by Susan Rogers (Prince’s main engineer from 1983 up to and including 1987) in Rotterdam. I learned and heard more at those two lectures about Prince the artist and Prince the man, than at this exhibition.
Do you feel like a day out watching Prince, and the occasional surprise? Go and visit the exhibition. To the fans: do the VIP tour