Prince and the fantastic Parade Tour

Prince live 1986 (

Prince And The Revolution - Parade (

This article belongs to the story Prince’s second soundtrack, the sublime Parade.


In 1986 Prince was the biggest star in Europe. But, he hadn’t performed there since 1981 when he visited Amsterdam, London and Paris with his Dirty Mind Tour. After playing 11 shows in the US Prince finally announced the one thing Europe craved for: concerts in Europe! Was it really happening?

Prince - Letter to The Revolution, rehearsals 01/03/1986 (

Prince – Letter to The Revolution, rehearsals 01/03/1986

Hit N Run

The first show with the ‘extended Revolution’ (or the ‘Counter Revolution’ as Eric Leeds called it) was played on March 3rd, 1986, at First Avenue in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis. The Parade album hadn’t been released yet, but the set contained a lot of songs off the album. On April 7th, 1985, Prince had announced that he would retire from performing. Within less than a year he was back with a bigger band than ever before and presenting a brand new show.

The recipe for the shows in the US was the same (except for the two New York shows). Shows were announced at the very last minute (at times a day before the actual show). It resulted in the name Hit N Run Tour, even though it was never officially named as such.

Prince live 1986 (

Prince live 1986


A total of 11 shows were performed in the US:

  • 03/03/1986: Minneapolis, First Avenue
  • 04/03/1986: Boston, Metro
  • 05/23/1986: San Francisco, Warfield Theatre
  • 05/30/1986: Los Angeles, Wiltern Theatre
  • 06/06/1986: Detroit, Masonic Temple Auditorium
  • 06/07/1986: Detroit, Cobo Arena
  • 06/10/1986: Louisville, Freedom Hall
  • 07/01/1986: Sheridan, Holiday Inn Sheridan-Convention Center
  • 07/03/1986: Denver, McNichols Arena
  • 08/02/1986: New York, Madison Square Garden
  • 08/03/1986: New York, Madison Square Garden


The average setlist on the Hit N Run contained:

  • Around The World In A Day
  • Christopher Tracy’s Parade
  • New Position
  • I Wonder U
  • Raspberry Beret
  • Alexa De Paris
  • Controversy
  • Mutiny
  • Dream Factory
  • Holly Rock
  • (How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window? / Lady Cab Driver
  • Automatic
  • D.M.S.R.
  • The Dance Electric
  • Under The Cherry Moon
  • Anotherloverholenyohead
  • Soft And Wet
  • I Wanna Be Your Lover
  • Head
  • Pop Life
  • Girls & Boys
  • Life Can Be So Nice
  • Purple Rain
  • Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On
  • Mountains
  • A Love Bizarre
  • America
  • Kiss
Prince & The Revolution 08/18/1986 poster (

Prince & The Revolution 08/18/1986 poster


On July 30th, 1986, Dutch newspapers announced he was coming to The Netherlands. He was supposed to be on Dutch soil some three weeks later. At first many were a bit skeptic, but as the moment approached more and more, and especially after it was confirmed he actually had taken the stage in London, The Netherlands went absolutely bonkers. Many articles in newspapers, magazines and even television, Prince was everywhere.

Prince & The Revolution 08/18/1986 concert ticket (

Prince & The Revolution 08/18/1986 concert ticket


On August 17th, 1986, Prince performed his first show at the Ahoy’ in Rotterdam. The second night, August 18th, 1986, was my personal baptism. I previously shared that story in 30 years ago, the best show I ever witnessed. I really don’t have anything to add to that story, it sums it up perfectly.

The Dutch audiences were ecstatic. Prince and band were amazed by the enthusiasm and relived Purple Rain mania. It signaled the start of a lengthy love affair between Prince and The Netherlands.

Click on the pages of the tour itinerary to enlarge.


A total of 15 European and 4 Japanese shows were performed during the Parade Tour:


  • 08/12/1986: London, England, Wembley Arena
  • 08/13/1986: London, England, Wembley Arena
  • 08/14/1986: London, England, Wembley Arena
  • 08/17/1986: Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Sportpaleis Ahoy’
  • 08/18/1986: Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Sportpaleis Ahoy’
  • 08/19/1986: Rotterdam, The Netherlands, Sportpaleis Ahoy’
  • 08/21/1986: Kopenhagen, Denmark, Valby-Hallen
  • 08/22/1986: Stockholm, Sweden, Isstadion
  • 08/25/1986: Paris, France, Le Zénith
  • 08/26/1986: Frankfurt, West Germany, Eissporthalle
  • 08/27/1986: Brussel, Belgium, Vorst Nationaal
  • 08/28/1986: Frankfurt, West Germany, Eissporthalle
  • 08/29/1986: Essen, West Germany, Grugahalle
  • 08/30/1986: Hamburg, West Germany, Alsterdorfer Sporthalle
  • 08/31/1986: Hamburg, West Germany, Alsterdorfer Sporthalle


  • 09/05/1986: Osaka, Osaka-jō Hall
  • 09/06/1986: Osaka, Osaka-jō Hall
  • 09/08/1986: Yokohama, Yokohama Stadium
  • 09/09/1986: Yokohama, Yokohama Stadium
Prince & The Revolution (

Prince & The Revolution Ahoy Rotterdam 1986


The average setlist for the Parade Tour contained:

  • Around The World In A Day
  • Christopher Tracy’s Parade
  • New Position
  • I Wonder U
  • Raspberry Beret
  • Delirious
  • Controversy
  • A Love Bizarre
  • Do Me, Baby
  • (How Much Is) That Doggie In The Window?
  • Automatic
  • D.M.S.R.
  • When Doves Cry
  • Under The Cherry Moon
  • Anotherloverholenyohead
  • 17 Days
  • Head
  • Pop Life
  • Girls & Boys
  • Life Can Be So Nice
  • 1999
  • Mountains
  • Kiss
  • Purple Rain

At the first two European shows Mutiny replaced A Love Bizarre. Do U Lie?, Condition Of The Heart, The Ladder, ♥ or $ and America were played at some shows. I Wanna Be Your Lover, Miss You (Rolling Stones cover) and Manic Monday were all played once.

During the August 25th, 1986, show in Paris It’s Gonna Be a Beautiful Night was recorded, which, after heavy overdubbing, would eventually be released on the Sign O’ The Times album.

Prince - Parade Tour - Aftershow London 08/14/1986 (

Prince – Parade Tour – Aftershow London 08/14/1986


During the Parade Tour a new phenomenon was introduced, something Prince would be renowned for in the years to come: the aftershow. Upon finishing a regular concert Prince wanted to unwind by doing what he loves best: play some more. In a small club, without a setlist just jamming, playing songs he normally wouldn’t and as close to the actual audience as humanly possible. While in Europe he played no less than three aftershows:

  • 08/13/1986: London, Engeland, Busby’s
  • 08/14/1986: London, Engeland, The Roof Gardens
  • 08/24/1986: Paris, Frankrijk, Le New Morning

The tour

The tour was Prince’s first real European tour, followed by his first ever performances in Japan. About 120,000 people witnessed the shows. In Europe it was the start of a lasting affair, whereby Prince increasingly aimed his attention towards Europe, leaving the US behind. The love was completely mutual. Prince’s genius was openly and loudly proclaimed, his record sales were up all over Europe and his music was embraced by all, whereas reactions in the US soured and even were hostile at times.

The last show of the tour also meant the end of The Revolution. On September 9th, 1986, Prince smashed some of his guitars on stage. The band immediately picked up on the meaning and realized an era was about to end. Prince would never perform with The Revolution again.

Prince live 1986 (

Prince live 1986

The band

As stated before Prince brought along the extended Revolution:

  • Bobby Z. – drums
  • Brown Mark – bass
  • Wendy Melvoin – guitar, vocals
  • Miko Weaver – guitar
  • Dr. (Matt) Fink – keyboards
  • Lisa Coleman – keyboards, vocals
  • Eric Leeds – saxophone, flute
  • Atlanta Bliss – trumpet
  • Jerome Benton – background vocals, dance
  • Greg Brooks – background vocals, dance
  • Wally Safford – background vocals, dance
Prince - Parade Tour - Stage (Leroy Bennett)

Prince – Parade Tour – Stage

The stage

The stage design was sparse and simple, black and white tiles, upon which the musicians were situated. Prince and the dancers were up front, demanding all immediate attention.

Tour book

The Parade tour had its own ‘tour book’. See the (sub)article Prince And The Revolution – Parade Tour Book.

Unanimous praise Dutch press after the concerts (OOR)

Unanimous praise Dutch press after the concerts

Press reception

The Dutch press raved about the shows. A selection:

Overwhelming performance by superstar.
(Algemeen Dagblad, 08/18/1986)

Prince in The Netherlands is an unforgettable experience.
(Leidscher Courant, 18-08-1986)

Prince live is a swirling show of dance and music.
(Nieuwsblad van het Noorden, 08/18/1986)

Astounding revue-show by Prince.
(NRC Handelsblad, 08/18/1986)

The show is perfect. The audience dances the entire time to the steaming, beautiful music. The band plays fantastically, the lighting is breathtaking.
(het Parool, 08/18/1986)

At the beginning of the concert Prince guaranteed it was going to be a “party”, and he delivered.
(de Telegraaf, 08/18/1986)

With his dance, music, sex, romance the seducer and leader turned Ahoy’ in to one big boudoir.
(de Volkskrant, 08/18/1986)

It was a great show, but nothing earth shattering.
(het Vrije Volk, 08/18/1986)

For whoever isn’t seduced by Prince is beyond saving.
(de Waarheid, 08/18/1986)

His Royal Badness Prince was in Holland. And those who were there, will never ever forget it.
(Eindhovens Dagblad, 08/19/1986)

Very good soulrevue with too little calmer moments.
(Limburgs Dagblad, 08/19/1986)

Prince shows his mastery in kaleidoscopic Ahoy’ show
(Trouw, 08/19/1986)

Prince; immense musical baggage.
(Algemeen Dagblad, 08/20/1986)

He was the undeniable master and effortlessly demanded all the attention.,
(OOR 17, 08/23/1986)

Prince live 1986 (4) (

Prince live 1986 (4)


As stated in the article 30 years ago, the best show I ever witnessed the Parade Tour was the best I ever saw. I was utterly and completely swept off my feet by the music, dance, performance, charisma, professionalism, enthusiasm, energy and genius of Prince and his fantastic band. An unforgettable experience, the real start of un unstoppable fascination that lasts to this day. The only downside is that it has shaped me forever. This was the new concert standard to live up to. That didn’t happen very often…

Parade Tour BW (


    • JJ on 03/30/2021 at 10:37 PM
    • Reply

    Wow — This is an amazing story. So glad to have found it. I was lucky enough to see the First Avenue show, from the very front of the room. The only time I’d seen him before this was the Syracuse show at the end of the Purple Rain tour, and to be so close was and continues to be mind boggling. In fact, at the end of the first song(s) he threw his paisley tambourine into the crowd and it would have hit me in the head if I hadn’t caught it! It still hangs on the wall at home. The show was very loose and amazingly sharp at the same time. They were having fun but everybody was paying close attention, and even Prince said that they hadn’t been in rehearsals very long, and asked that we be “nice”. Thank YOU!!!

    1. You’re welcome. Thank you so much for your kind words!

Compliments/remarks? Yes, please!