Daaaayummm! Take a good look at Beyonce`: side-boob, zippered thong, sexy body chain and all on the latest cover of GQ Magazine. Sure there’s some Photoshop going on, but you have to have something to work with in the first place, right?
It appears 2013 is going to a huge year for Mrs. Carter. She’ll be performing at Barack Obama’s inauguration (singing The National Anthem) later this month as well as headlining the Super Bowl Halftimeand has her own HBO documentary airing in February. (I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.)
Let’s all revel in the glory that IS Beyonce’s underboob. (Why are Americans so prudish? It’s like the underboob is still unchartered territory and nearly taboo. Honestly.) Nevertheless. Bey looks incredible.
Wow. Remember this?? I sure do. Gorgeous Aussie, Tina Arena released this hot (and very suggestively BDSM) single back in the mid-90’s. I used to play in on REPEAT back then, and I think I will again. I say, gotDAAAAYUM.
It’s a good thing I made this the Song of the Evening.
Very few artists have earned the attention and respect of the normally chatty/texty/drunk/rude/late-arriving, early-leaving Los Angeles concert audience quite like Prince. He’s so confident in his ability to draw a crowd and make foreclosure-avoiding income that he booked 21 days at the hardly desirable Inglewood arena, The Forum. And then to cause a good 24 hours of fandemonium, the Purple One announced two small clubs date at the famed and awesome 350-seat Troubadour in West Hollywood. Last week, I was at one of each, and here are some thoughts, panic pics and set lists.
THE TROUBADOUR, WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 7 pm
Small stage, front row. Already a win.
Everyone around me had been to at least one of The Forum shows, and with set lists and vibes that change every night, discussion about what we were in for only increased giddy giggling. When the three-piece band (Renato Neto on keys, bass player Ida, drummer John Blackwell and Mike Phillips on horns) started in, it was pretty clear we were slow jam/jazz clubbin’. A cover of Billy Cobham’s trippy “Stratus” was an encouraging opener; this was going to be a musicians’ show, with plenty of opportunity to spotlight the extraordinary chops of this band. And let me say now that Mike Phillips is the biggest badass dude of the bunch. Not only did he go toe-to-toe with Prince, but Phillips met and exceeded every musical opportunity with blowing of epic skill. I think the audience kinda fell in love with his showmanship and determination to awe.
Prince entered to “Power Fantastic” (and it was both), and followed up with one of the few falsetto displays in “Somewhere Here on Earth.” He left the stage frequently, both allowing the band to work out and avoiding the few people who dared the militant security to try to take a forbidden photo. There were a few tech kinks that seemed to irk Prince, and when he did notice a foul camera, he called on said security (which either enforced total picture deletion, or ejection from the club).
More jamming, very little chatting and plenty of opportunity to restrain myself from touching his taupe platform shoe. Really, that close. And let me say this now, he is a Sexy M.F. Not a flaw on his skin, and those playful sideways glances with them big lined eyes. Slim hips. Great hair. Lord have mercy.
Andy Allo was the guest vocalist on a “Let’s Get It On” arrangement that included “Computer Love” and “I Want To Be Your Man”. Later, Prince tried to introduce a new song called “When She Comes”. Two notes here: 1. I think he couldn’t remember his lyrics, because in addition to false starts, Prince abandoned the vocals. It was nice to see that type of musical humanness, and kept the night feeling more intimate, like a basement jam session. And B. “When she comes…she doesn’t close her eyes.” I think he’s a big tease, acting all Jehovah’s Witness-y, but singing about orgasm. Not buying the purity ring he’s selling. And although he’s second only to Steven Tyler when it comes to silly double-entendres, he’s still first when just saying it like it is.
Prince, by this time, had clearly loosened up. He jumped on bass and keys, joked around a bit, encouraged singalongs. Most rock godly, he handed his freaking guitar to a guy in the audience for a few minutes, took it back, shook the dude’s hand, turned away, then came back and high-fived him! It was a moment of bromance, but Prince never turned himself over fully to us – it remained a show about musicianship.
And for me, those highlights came toward the end. Just when I thought we were going hitless, “Controversy” launches. Holy hell. It was loud and so full of funk the temperature went up about twenty degrees in there. Polar opposite was “A Case of U” by Joni Mitchell, which was sparce and gorgeous. The finale was raucous “Beggin’ Woman Blues” which touched my Chicago-girl soul. Then Prince said, “Thank you so much. We are playing the Forum this weekend. Please check us out.” One does what Prince tells one to do.
Troubadour Set List:
Stratus (with One Nation Under A Groove)
Somewhere Here On Earth
Jazz Swing in C
Let’s Get It On
When She Comes
U Will Be With Me (with Shhh)
A Case of U
Beggin’ Woman Blues
THE FORUM, SATURDAY, MAY 14, 7pm
I’m not entirely familiar with Prince’s deep catalogue. The guy put out more music than I have time for, some of it under the radar (and some out of this country), and anything post-2003? No clue. The Troubadour show forced me to download the bejesus out of his discography, so as to not be in the weeds again wondering “What the hell is Prince playin’ now?”
The Forum. Great seats in the loge. Pre-show wondering is it going to be a 90-minute set or a 3 ½ hour set? Is anyone opening? Who will jump on stage as a guest vocalist? Halfway through the 21-day stint, not one show has been quite like another.
Generally, our luck ran in the middle. Amel Larrieux was the opener. Lovely voice, classy lady, pleasant songs, albeit too low energy for my needs. Though, Prince’s start was a little slow once he got on stage as well, with “When Eye Lay My Hands On U” and “Laydown” to prep us.
The stage was awesome. In the shape of his symbol (or is it his name again?), outlined by lights, he, with a small band (same gifted players as at the Troubadour show), was able to move around the whole thing and give everyone an opportunity to, again, sneak a photo. Three backup singers were allowed to shine, and two dancers, “The Twins”, occasionally added visual appeal and motivated the crowd to move it.
Several “lesser” songs later, Prince broke out “Purple Rain”, which of course reduced me to silly 1984-style tears. Let’s face it, that is one perfect song. And it was performed perfectly. The only way to quickly snap back from such a transportive tune is to being Sheila E., all sparkly and hot, to the forefront with “The Glamorous Life”. Quite a joy to see such a powerful woman owning the room.
Things were steadily cooking through “Take Me With U” (big sigh…nice to hear live), “Raspberry Beret” (meh, but kinda fun live) and “Cream” (dirty bird. Yum!) Then Hollywood sets in, and Halle Berry takes the stage to vaguely dance to “Cool” mashed with “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough”. (Musta been sexy over-40 night, as Susan Sarandon showed up later.) She’s impossibly gorgeous, but not enough to distract from how righteous Prince does Michael Jackson.
Get off the stage, Halle Berry, because Prince needs the room for the next blast of aural awesomeness: “U Got the Look” (not missing Sheena Easton at all), “Nothing Compares 2 U” (swoon) and again, a funktastic “Controversy”. The megamix of hits was OK, though Prince was a little tease by playing the open lines to “Darling Nikki” which got everyone instantly agog only to be denied the song with the weak “I’m in rehab” explanation. Whatever, Prince.
More than two hours later we reach encore #1: “Kiss”. He could have let me go with that. But Prince had to up the dance ante with “Play That Funky Music”. I don’t even remember the last last song.
The $25 ticket price isn’t the only reason people have been seeing multiple Prince shows at The Forum (though it’s likely the reason they aren’t going to debtor’s prison to do so); it’s hoping Prince is feeling generous with a long ass set, wondering who will open and who will guest and who will dance with him, praying he plays your favorites, and the treat of every show being a “Chocolate Box” of surprises. And really, there’s no such thing as disappointing chocolate.
The Forum Set List
When Eye Lay My Hands On U
She’s Always In My Hair
Future Soul Song
The Glamorous Life
Somewhere Here On Earth
Take Me With U
Cool/Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough
U Got the Look
Nothing Compares 2 U
Medley: When Doves Cry/Nasty Girl/Sign O’ The Times/The Most Beautiful Girl In The World/Love/Black Sweat/Darling Nikki/I Would Die 4 U
If I Was Your Girlfriend
Play That Funky Music
Hollywood (Inglewood) Swinging
[Editor’s Note: Daaaayummm girl. Both shows?? I can’t thank you enough, Deborah, for this unbelievable review. xoxo DivaJulia]