Nic Velissaris wrote this review of Prince's 'Piano & A Microphone’ Tour (Melbourne – February 2016). The review was unpublished at the time, and is kindly reproduced here with the authors permission.
I want to start by saying thank you. Thank you for being the person you are, and thank you for giving us your music. I know it might be strange to start a review in this way, but there it is. We don’t often get to say thank-you to those people who inspire us and shape the way we think.
Sure we get to cheer and encourage you in concert, like I did last night, but we don’t often get to have a conversation with you, to really get to know you, we only get to see the stage persona designed to please and make sure we go home with a smile.
Yet sometimes we do, and last night was one of those occasions, on a stage dressed with candles that framed a grand piano, you showed us someone we’ve never seen before, Prince the person.
In a performance designed for the long term fans you treated us to songs that are rarely heard (Sometimes it Snows in April
, I love u in me
, The ladder
, Xs and Os
) , songs that fans dream about, whisper about hearing live. Then there were songs that were reinterpreted and bought together in a way that created new stories, Little Red Corvette
melded with Dirty Mind
(to create the perfect doomed relationship) and an epic How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore
, with Raspberry Beret
bringing out the singing fool in us all.
But at the heart of last night’s performance was your very real grief for the loss of your friend Vanity, Denise Mathews. Last night you gave a performance stripped of everything but you.
Raw, emotional, but no less experimental, you showed what you could do with a Piano & Microphone
. Last night we were in your church and we were bought together in communion. Not the symbolic communion but the communion where we all know how felt, where we as an audience were taken on your journey. And last night it was personal, beautiful and real.
I’ve been to many Prince concerts, but I’ve never seen that Prince, the human being. Thank you for daring to show him to us. I know that the loss of Denise was hard for you and it played on your face (I was close enough to see), but you channelled it into two awe-inspiring performances of Adore
and The Beautiful Ones
, which in my opinion may never be better. As a fan to me you’ve been called many things, a genius, the artist, a sexy motherf**ker, but for someone (me) who can’t play music, you are like a god to me. And as in ancient times, the gods would come and walk amongst mortal men, sometimes that’s what a visit from you feels like. That the gods have chosen to walk among us.
But last night I saw a real man playing piano and sharing himself at a vulnerable moment. This didn’t shatter my illusions but only made me appreciate you and your abilities more.
So I’ll end by returning to where I’ve started by saying thank you. Thank you for sharing your music with us, I, we are grateful and if the recent passing of David Bowie has taught us anything then it is best to celebrate you while we can.
Thank you Mr Nelson,
You’re welcome back anytime. AFTERWORDPrince was a phenomenon, but flesh and blood like the rest of us. To be in his presence was something special, something unique that cannot be described adequately in words, it was electric, spiritual and alive. His passing is a shock, but a reminder to what can be accomplished if you devote your energy to all that you want to do and can be. Rest in Power Prince Rogers Nelson 1958-2016