I'm a long time Prince fan. Betcha never would have guessed that. True. He played to sold out shows in Oakland last Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Here's what one critic, KTVU critic David Pehling
wrote about the Oakland venue.
"If Prince’s much ballyhooed Bay Area stop of his ‘Welcome 2 America Tour’ had ended after the second sold-out night Wednesday, it still likely would made the short list for music event of 2011 for many local critics. On Thursday evening, the artist unleashed a torrid three-hour set that erased any doubts.
Prince who emerged clad head-to-toe in shimmering gold on a platform near the center of of the huge glyph stage in the middle of the Oracle Arena floor to a wildly ecstatic reaction from the crowd. One might have expected him to kick off the show with one of his more recognizable hits or at least a high-energy dance tune to get people out of their seats. Ever the iconoclast, Prince started things off on simmering note with the slow jam "The Love We Make."
A misstep? In a word, no. Prince turned the song into an epic, emotional guitar meltdown in a rare display of simultaneously heartfelt and mind-blowing six-string virtuosity. A facet of Prince's skills frequently forgotten by those only familiar with his recorded material, the man took charge with with a showcase of the kind of guitar pyrotechnics that would dominate the early part of the show.
The crowd may have been aching to hear the hits, but the immediate response was nothing short of abject adoration. Screaming Prince's name at every crescendo (at least in the section of the arena where I was sitting) the audience jumped squarely into the palm of his hand for what would unfold as a spectacular ride through the rest of the night.
The hits did come in short order with a rendition of "Take Me With U" from Purple Rain, but followed the golden guitar god path with the appropriately titled "Guitar." The ode to his ax continued what seemed to be an implicit aim to place Prince into that vaunted pantheon that includes Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen and Monday night special guest Carlos Santana. But for all the chops on display, Prince's guitar playing still served the songs on the Parade gem "Anotherloverholenyohead" and the seductive groove of the '90s-era ballad "Shhh."
The show hit another apex of energy as Prince's longtime drummer and live-band foil Sheila E rose to the stage for her own spotlight moment, punishing her timbales in a slinky white dress as the band powered through a version of her Prince-penned hit "Glamorous Life" that further inflamed the crowd. As much as the marathon concert was without question Prince's show, it was just the first of several points where the Purple One would relinquish center stage to his heroes and disciples.
I'll leave out the remainder of the article. ... with exception of the last paragraph:
"As the show wound down, Prince's boundless energy seemed to eclipse the audience's flagging endurance as the crowd had a tough time delivering the verses to "Raspberry Beret" prior to the latter-era hit "Cream" and onstage crowd celebration of "Cool" (a song he wrote for The Time). Still, those remaining danced on with abandon through the show's closing salvo of the early chestnut "Let's Work" and the '80s favorite "U Got the Look." For those lucky enough to catch the master in action on his last night in Oakland, Prince left the crowd exhausted, sated and hopeful that their next encounter might be just as magical."
I shoulda been there.