Image for Prince @ Allphones Arena, Sydney (11/05/12)

Prince @ Allphones Arena,Sydney (11/05/12)

Artists get hyped beyond belief in this day and age so when a true legend whose discography spans thirty two years announces a rare Australian tour, his diehard fans and the wider public quite rightly get excited. Prince’s aversion to the media and interviews has given him an aura of mystique, much the same way as Dylan and over his career he has used it to great effect to construct an otherworldly and fantastical public persona that fuels the passion and curiosity of his fans.

Arriving at Allphones Arena hit home that this really was an ‘event’, quite different to your standard rock concert. There was purple everywhere – purple hair, dresses, shirts and make-up and it must be said, not the most flattering colour to base your outfit around. Nonetheless the extent to which people had embraced Prince’s visit was testament to his iconic status. Weaving through the throngs of merchandise seekers it was baffling how an artist who invests so much in his image could churn out such mediocre t-shirts and random items like tambourines. Again though, the fans were lapping it all up.

The promoters had repeatedly told people prior to the show to ensure they were seated by 8pm so thirty minutes later when murmurs of impatience were beginning to spread through the arena the lights suddenly dimmed and the iconic Prince symbol appeared on the screens amid lightening and thunder. It took a while but finally acoustic guitarist Andy McKee rose from beneath the stage plucking the strains of Purple Rain. It was a soft start to the evening but it worked well, building the anticipation for the arrival of the man; and there he was all of a sudden, Prince, resplendent in gold and launching into the song of the same name before segueing into Jam of the Year from Emancipation. The crowd quite rightly went apeshit, everyone on their feet, arms in the air and reveling in the fact that they were in the presence of the artist with a damn funky band behind him.

The stage was in a 360 degree configuration in the shape of his infamous symbol which meant that most of the crowd had a range of views of Prince as he roamed the stage with his backing singers and dancers also venturing to all corners. The first big hit came with Let’s Go Crazy with those familiar opening strains of ‘dearly beloved…’ it really brought the funk for the first time and showed the difference between much of his older material and the simplicity that made those songs work so well. Unfortunately like many of the songs it was a truncated version and while it was frustrating to only get parts of songs the upside was we heard more of them. Let’s Go Crazy morphed brilliantly into Delirious before taking things up another level with the party anthem 1999 and then getting into a darker sensual zone with Little Red Corvette. At this point the band, audience and Prince himself seemed well and truly settled in for the party.

Though the show was heavily populated with the hits there were also some interesting diversions into lesser known tracks as well as the reclaiming of hit songs he’d written for others like Dance Electric (Andre Cymone), Jungle Love (The Time), Love Thy Will Be Done (Martika) and a snippet of Nasty Girl (Vanity 6). The highlights of these covers of covers was his soul wrenching take on Nothing Compares 2 U made famous by Sinead O’Connor. He took it to another more visceral place and the co-vocal from singer Olvia Warfield was magnificent. There was also a wonderful tribute of sorts to Michael Jackson with Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough played during an organised stage invasion by the people in the expensive seats next to the stage.

Though Prince with a killer band behind him is an amazing thing, the best portion of the show came with him solo at a synth disguised as a piano, working his way (and the crowd ) through a medley that included When Doves Cry, Hot Thing, a criminally short part of Sign O The Times and The Most Beautiful Girl in the World. He reduced the songs to minimal electro funk, showcasing just how experimental an artist he can be when he sets his mind to it.

From there on the hits kept coming with the sexual funk of Kiss rounding out the main set. Prince re-emerged to play his signature tune Purple Rain but it was there that some of the energy that built up through the night began to wane. The song was stretched out to a slow moving epic that would have worked if he had taken it to real heights with some of his interstellar guitar playing but it never went there, instead he relied on the audience to endlessly sing the central melody of the song on and on and on. When he did open up on guitar it made you want to hear more with the lack of his quite brilliant guitar playing a minor disappointment of the night. Controversy brought the heart rates back up and then he was gone. But wait, was that it? For those who stayed in the darkness, in their seats for a good fifteen minutes or more there was an added bonus with the guitar heavy Peach to take the music back to its rock and rnb roots.

Prince delivered in every possible way, playing many of the songs people were desperate to hear, a true spectacle of lights and generally good sound, a surprisingly high level of banter and audience interaction (though did we need to be constantly reminded we live in Sydney?) and stellar musicianship from all on stage. This was one of those increasingly rare large scale music events that genuinely worked for both casual and ardent fans.

Prince set-list

Jam of The Year
Song of the Heart
Let’s Go Crazy
Little Red Corvette
Nothing Compares 2 U
Take Me With U
Raspberry Beret
Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough/Cool
Sometimes It Snows in April
Love…Thy Will Be Done
Mountains/Dance Electric
When Doves Cry
Hot Thing
Sign “O” the Times
The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
Forever In My Life
I Would Die 4 U
Purple Rain

Comments arrow left

dtrain101 said on the 12th May, 2012

great concert last night but he did not play 'jungle love' as stated. wish he had though, love the time!


doubtfulsounds said on the 12th May, 2012

I thought he threw a few bars of the chorus of Jungle Love into the set around the time he was doing Dance Electric. Maybe it just sounded very similar. I reckon there were quite a few little musical references thrown in that most of the crowd wouldn't have noticed, probably more for the band and his enjoyment.


grattan said on the 14th May, 2012

Telegraph's review:
It was an A-list audience of adoring worshippers who saw Prince at his funktastic best, including Jamie Packer in the serious A-list table by the symbol stage, plus Packed to the Rafters star Hugh Sheridan, and musicians Megan Washington and Silverchair’s Chris Joannou, Universal music boss George Ash, radio talent Brendan Jones, and JJJ comedian Tom Ballard.


mfrench said on the 14th May, 2012

i was always a big fan of prince although i have not heard his music for a while now becasue he has not been touring in our country i still have his songs on my play list, as always! he is really a very talented musician and he stood the test of time just showing that he does have the talent for it. i also like the fact that he continues to grace us with his talent by continually touring around the globe. hope that he comes back her soon!


Samuel890 said on the 14th May, 2012

prince is not michael jackson and never will be. he did not amaze the world so much less he started now. michael jackson is the unmatched genius, you can also be a prince's fan but this doesn't make him a great singer. ah.. he is only this, a singer who still sings... and makes tributes to teh unique michael jackson like everybody else to be in the spotlights. that's all.


berlinchair101 said on the 14th May, 2012

What is with all the derps today?

Michael Jackson was a dirty pedo.


shazie said on the 14th May, 2012

Michael Jackson was a lyrical genius you guyz!

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 14th May, 2012


Braveheart81 said on the 14th May, 2012

Prince is alive and fucks some of the hottest women on the planet.

Michael Jackson is dead and diddled kids.

I'm sure Prince is glad he'll never be Michael Jackson.


grattan said on the 16th May, 2012

Show last night was just off the charts amazing. If you're not going to this tour you're out of your fucking mind.

And to cap it off Falvor Flav and Chuck D joined the purple genius on stage as well.

Sexy Dancer (Instr.) / Le Freak (Chic cover)
(Theme Song From) "Which Way Is Up?" (Stargard cover)
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) (Sly & The Family Stone cover)
Play That Funky Music (Incl. 911 Is A Joke) with Flavor Flav
Let's Go Crazy
Let's Go Crazy (reprise)
Little Red Corvette
I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man
Nothing Compares 2 U (Shelby J. Co Lead Vox)
Take Me With U
Raspberry Beret
Cool (incl. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough)

Make You Feel My Love (Shelby J. Liv Warfield, Elisa Dease Lead Vox)
Purple Rain

Encore 2:
Sampler Set :
When Doves Cry
Nasty Girl (Instr.)
Sign "O" the Times
Hot Thing
Darling Nikki
Pop Life
A Love Bizarre
(Sheila E. cover)
I Would Die 4 U

Encore 3:

Encore 4:
The Dance Electric

Encore 5:
Love... Thy Will Be Done (Shelby J. Liv Warfield, Elisa Dease Lead Vox)
Days Of Wild (Incl. Wild & Loose - Ain't Nobody) with Chuck D


grattan said on the 24th Oct, 2012

New song -


sarcasm_mister said on the 25th Oct, 2012

i didn't go to any of the shows and i'm not all that familiar with Prince's music. but i can't help but feel that this is easily the most awesome tour to go around Australia in many years. the radiohead tour might have all the hype but there's no way they will match the unique and spectacular brilliance of this tour.