When Prince announced two piano only shows at Paisley Park for Thursday, January 21, 2016, they sold out in mere hours. A sound reasoning behind this would have to do with the fact that when he plays Paisley Park, tickets are not usually involved, as well as a guarantee that he will show up at all. Fans were not only guaranteed a show, but a piano show at that.
I have played the piano since I was two years old and have been a diehard Prince fan since I was roughly ten. I had to see this show and was lucky enough to snag up tickets for the eight o’clock set minutes before they sold out. Those who don’t play the piano don’t really understand how amazing it is to see a true talent play an acoustic piano set because most shows of such a nature are focused on an acoustic guitar, rather than a piano. I could have sat and just listened to him play the piano all night with singing a single lyric.
In an incredibly uncharacteristic manner, Prince took the first set to divulge a large amount of his private life, encompassing his life growing up around music and how it shaped him. He began by playing the old television Batman theme, after watching it as a child, and worked his way through several albums. He then proceeded to play a song from each album there on out, “Baby”, “I Wanna be Your Lover”, “Dirty Mind” and “Do Me Baby” before breaking into deeper tracks.
Hearing tracks such as “Free” and “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)” live was mind-blowing. These are songs I never in my life thought I would hear live. There are standard sets of tracks you expect if you are lucky enough to see Prince live and the majority of those played that night were not them. During “Free”, he took a moment to mourn the late David Bowie, reminiscing upon meeting him and how nice he was. It was a wonderful moment, which transpired in Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”, as well as a cover of “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”.
The show continued with just as many fantastic deeper cuts as before, including the heavily admired “The Beautiful Ones”, a slight tease of “How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore?” (Why didn’t he finish it?), as well as the falsetto ballad, “Sometimes It Snows in April”. “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” was initially teased to us, with him telling us we didn’t know the song and rather playing “Eye Love U But I Don’t Trust You Anymore”, only to then complete the song. “Starfish and Coffee” was a fantastic inclusion, in my opinion. I have always found that to be a really fun and different tune. To hear it live was something I never figured would happen.
The final song of the first set was “Anna Stesia”, a song that has to be heard in person to really hear it. The song played on the purple baby grand in that room illuminated only by candlelight was an experience like no other. Those of us singing and dancing to it knew how lucky we all were to be witnessing this, along with the past two hours.