Gimme my Prince

Pub date May 15, 2007
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

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Iggy Pop spit in my face at one of the Stooges’ sold-out shows at the Warfield last month. And I loved it. The crowning moment, however, came just before that, when he stared me down and mouthed the lyrics of "1970": "Beautiful baby, feed my love … all night … till I blow … away," then slithered away from the seesawing mass in the pit. In the wake of our brief encounter, everything — the amplifiers’ deafening roar, Pop’s leathery frame, the tug-of-war crowd ripple — seemed to run in slow motion, amalgamating into a nauseating blob of wah noise. My mind and body felt geutf8ous after Pop’s rock ‘n’ roll kiss of death. Sure, it was a disgusting moment, but it was my Iggy moment, and you can’t take that away from me.

Rock star moments are quite a rarity nowadays, and I’m not referring to your recent brush with that sweaty tail wagger crawling around onstage at your favorite hole-in-the-wall dive in Hipstertown, USA. True rock stars are getting older, and there aren’t too many of the nimble bodied left who are willing to give you your full money’s worth like Pop. That is, unless you’re talking about the artist formerly and currently known as Prince. My devoted glorification of — or obsession with — the Purple One stems from the early ’80s, when Michael Jackson ruled the world and MTV still played videos. Nursed on albums such as Dirty Mind and Controversy (both Warner Bros.; 1980, 1981), I’ve come to celebrate his entire recorded output — except for For You (Warner Bros., 1978), which is a little too disco-y for my taste — and have eBayed his concert T-shirts just so I could get a piece of the action. At one point I even owned three VHS copies of his 1984 movie Purple Rain, for crying out loud. But what’s most unsettling is the fact that I’ve never seen Prince live. I’ve only heard the stories from concertgoers, and like Pop’s, his ticking clock isn’t slowing down.

Aside from his 96-date Musicology jaunt in 2004, the Minnesota native’s touring schedule has boiled down to a couple dozen sporadic dates in recent years. He’s also limited his public performances to awards ceremonies, and as of March his weekly concerts at his 3121 club in Las Vegas have ground to a halt. With hip-replacement gossip still lingering in the tabloids, we all might be SOL in terms of a Prince fix soon.

Yet the artist’s rain-soaked halftime performance at this year’s Super Bowl leaves a thread of hope that he’s not ready to wave the white flag just yet. The funky Rick James dance moves might have been absent, but it’s obvious he’s still able to rip on an electrifying guitar solo or belt out that soul-drenched wail. There have also been rumors that he’s slated to headline this summer’s Al Gore–curated Live Earth Festival and that he’s working on songs for a new album, to be released later this year.

I’m not expecting Prince to roll out a tour on the scale of those of his Purple Rain days, but considering it’s been two decades since the release of Sign ‘O’ the Times (Paisley Park), a live rendition of the entire album would be quite nice. Still, as with his one-off San Francisco performance May 19, Prince can pop up whenever he feels like it and entice a crowd with the mere snap of a finger — just because he’s fucking Prince. And as my Iggy experience gradually fades in my memory, I’m in desperate need of my Prince moment. At this point, I’ll take it any way I can get it. *


Sat/19, 8 p.m., $90–$225

Orpheum Theatre

1192 Market, SF