Prince takes delirious MSG crowd to new heights at Jan. 18 concert

Misani | 4/12/2011, 4:44 p.m.
Prince charmingly pushed the capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden to a state of euphoria...
Prince and his guitar (NPG Records 2010LG photos)

After this hot opener, everyone was up dancing and singing in front, behind and all around. Throughout the first set, Prince's backup singers, three awesome women, worked various parts of the stage. Attired in black, their rich, voluptuous voices complemented Prince's, and, like their front man, they radiated great stage personality, charisma and entertainment skills. Like Prince, they also heeded the title of the song "Let's Work," and did just that, to the delight of the excited audience.

As for his musicians, well...Prince surrounded himself with two dynamic female musicians--one on keyboards, the other on bass. The drummer, John Blackwell Jr., has got to be the baddest cat this side of Heaven. He worked it non-stop, continually taking his craft to the next level and the next. Like Prince, all of the singers and band members are worth their weight in gold. And that's what they gave to the audience--pure gold. Needless to say, the first part of the show ended dramatically, as Prince and his backup vocalists, perched atop a trap door, were lowered off the stage and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

The second set opened with the three female singers performing a powerful, gospel-like song that showcased their individual talents as well as their mesmeric harmonizing skills. At the close of the number, Prince made his entrance dripping in purple. Yep, this was the centerpiece for his "Purple Rain" segment, which received continuous thunderous applause. In this portion of the show, the lucky actress Leighton Meester (TV's "Gossip Girl") was serenaded on stage by Prince as the great saxophonist Maceo Parker accompanied him.

Prince also got busy with the crowd-pleaser "What's My Name," to which the crowd responded, shouting, "Prince!" For this segment, the artist signed off with, "My name is Prince. Goodnight." However, the crowd would not let him go.

Returning after another costume change--this time in leather--highlights of this segment included Prince's invitation to the audience to "take out your cells, turn them on, and shine it from side to side." And that they did. Suddenly MSG had become a beautifully lit night sky. He later told the audience, "I like this stage," and still later, "I need someone to pray for me." Just before closing the show, Prince said, "Thank you New York," threw his guitar out into the audience, and walked off the stage amidst tumultuous applause, leaving the audience standing like thunderstruck statues in a magical fairy tale.

Guest performers on the show included Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, who opened the show, and saxophonist Maceo Parker. Among the celebrities and other recognizable personalities who attended were Mos Def, ?uestlove, Madonna, Jimmy Fallon, Leighton Meester, BET's Stephen Hill, Essence founder Ed Lewis, Donald and Melania Trump and A. J. Calloway. An afterparty at the Darby was attended by Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Mos, ?uestlove, Hill, Calloway, Meester and Jones.

The media was given a surprise gift bag from Dylan's Candy Bar, the world's largest candy emporium, which included the scrumptious limited-edition commemorative "Prince NYC 2010" Belgian milk chocolate bar designed by Dylan's Candy Bar "to mark Prince's residency in New York, commemorating the beginning of his much-anticipated 'Welcome 2 America tour.'" The bars are available only at Prince concerts in the U.S. and at the chain's New York City, East Hampton, Roosevelt Field, Orlando and Houston stores. The gift bag was made possible by the courtesy of the Terrie Williams Agency, Prince's public relations company, in association with Live Nation.

Due to the extraordinary response to the critically acclaimed sold out shows, and high demand for the talk-of-the town Prince concerts, another "Welcome 2 America" tour date has been added for Mon., Feb. 7. What a fabulous Valentine's gift for New York City...the concert and the delectable "Prince NYC 2010" chocolate bar. You can bet that when Prince delivers, everyone will be in a quintessential state of mind. For further information and to order tickets, please visit