Review of Prince at Koko, London
Billed as Prince and 3rdEyeGirl playing at Koko, we were there for one man. One of the genuine legends of modern music. Whether you like him or not. Whether you believe some of the urban myths including getting a rib removed to help him relieve stress. Prince has historically divided attention. In his heyday to a similar level as other icons such as Michael Jackson or Madonna. That is the scale of this man.
So the best thing to come out of Minneapolis since…um, err, um – snow?! Never mind. Prince not known for his public avalanches of altruism, is without doubt a genius. The mere fact that he is doing a series of shows for Autism Rocks sends a myriad of questions through the mind. Does he feel sympathies for those on the autism spectrum, or could this be an opening to the fact our troubled genius features on the same spectrum himself?
None of that really matters. His personal reasons for doing these shows is irrelevant. He is a world icon doing shows to raise money for a great cause. One that is often ignored or misunderstood, so hats off to you Mr Prince.
It may seem odd to some that Prince chose Koko to play this gig. After all, he fills arenas all over the world and has played some of the worlds largest stadiums. But Koko is like a spiritual home for Prince. I remember seeing Prince in an alleged after party when Koko was better known as the Camden Palace. (Thats me showing my age).
This display was well orchestrated, with art decorating the walls. An auction for memorabilia in the lobby, a particular highlight was the signed shirt of Brazilian legend Pele (no, I didn’t win, which i am very sorry to say) and some fine champagne for the exclusive VIP section of the crowd.
Prince entered the stage with his usual extravagance. Amazing colourful suit. Ostentatious purple mic stand with his lovely symbol (still not sure about that). And heels that were taller than me. Prince actually looked taller than a seven year old child. All together it helped cement Prince’s stage presence in the physical sense as well as through the musical sense.
Prince often looks isolated and insular in his performances, with the extravagance appearing an act. If thats true, who cares, the man has such an amazing presence. Although we came for Prince and back up band, I left feeling a bit different. 3rdEyeGirl an all female trio were actually amazing. Their performance not only backed Prince’s superbly, it was so good, it lifted the show overall.
The collection of performances was, in my opinion great. Littered throughout, but particularly in the first half of the show were performances of hits such as Paloma Faith’s Only Love Can Hurt Like This. The best performance of the night, ironically normally a show closer, was Purple Rain. Prince still delivers that incredible guitar performance all these years on. This performance is up there with the best in the world, which is a shame, because his showman image often shadows his undoubted music ability. I also loved the cover of MJ’s hit Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.
I hadn’t actually seen Prince perform for quite some time live and in person. In fact, the last time I saw him was his alleged last performance under the name Prince, before he turned in to a symbol. To this day, that remains in my top 5 performances of all-time and potentially in number one. At 56, Prince reminded me what I thought that day. Prince, even transcends music. His presence, his performance, the entire package, makes him one of the all time geniuses of pop.
Prince is here. Prince is doing good for charity. Prince is doing good for my ear drums. Even when he is allowed to collect his free bus pass, Prince will put on a better show than most of his modern contemporaries. Long live Prince.