Prince: a 'multi-monikered, partial-to-purple, hip-swaying funk-pop legend'
We celebrate the music icon's unexpected UK arena tour
Never one to rest on his laurels, Prince continues to be startlingly relevant and wonderfully tricksy well into his fifties. The multi-monikered, partial-to-purple, hip-swaying funk-pop legend is on his umpteenth album and since 2013 has had a new band. He is now the strutting frontman to all-female backing band 3RDEYEGIRL, who – with his usual disregard for anything as straightforward as giving some notice – he booked in for an impromptu second UK stretch of his Hit and Run tour last month, including his first Glasgow headline slot in 19 years.
It’s quite an effort for anyone but the most ardent fan to keep up with Prince’s ever expanding back catalogue but the cherry picks represent a golden haul by any pop standards. Albums such as Controversy, Dirty Mind, Sign ‘O’ the Times, 1999 and Purple Rain contain gem after gem of a sound that has always blurred the boundaries of funk, R&B and pop-rock but remained solidly seductive in tone. The source of his sexual superpowers may be a mystery to many but they never seem to diminish. Few musicians manage to carry that off, no matter how hard they try, in their sixth decade.
More recently, after years of record label wrangles, some truly forgettable albums and an on-again, off-again relationship with the internet, he’s settled down into a period of relative calm, focusing his energies on playing live, often to small audiences at iconic venues. His latest style incarnation sees him channelling his inner Jimi Hendrix with big hair and big glasses, mixing classic Prince with newer tracks and setting loose his virtuoso guitar solos on a new generation who must wonder why they don’t make musical heroes like this any more.
The Hydro, Glasgow, Thu 22 May.