Okay, I’ll do two today. (21 Nights)

I forgot to blog yesterday.

I was at Border’s picking up a gift for my nephew when I saw a stack of ridiculously huge purple books which turned out to be remaindered copies of ‘21 Nights‘ by Prince and the photographer Randee St Nicholas. The book originally sold for $50 but I grabbed it for $3. Of course, even $3 is a lot to pay for a book of glossy photographs of a pretty pop star but this one included a live CD. I ended up listening to it three times over the course of the day.  Here’s the thing about Prince; if you don’t understand why his fans are his fans you have got to see him live and all will be clear. There just isn’t anything else quite like it, and I’ve seen plenty of live acts in the past quarter century. His shows are unpredictable musical parties that never disappoint.

This disc was culled from after-show parties at the O2’s Indigo Club and captures Prince and his band jamming hot and loose. The track listings are an attempt to label what songs were played but the way Prince rearranges and improvises there are snatches and segments of other music it is as if he is sampling himself; I’m listening to the first track, ‘3121’ right now, and it turned into ‘D.M.S.R.’ for a little while there. The cover of Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ is amazing if for no other reason that Prince doesn’t even bother with lyrics but rather just shreds on his guitar; it is a reminder that even though God clearly made him funky, the kid from Minneapolis can also rock out with the best of them.

There are three cuts where he lets other people do vocals which is fine with me. Prince operates like an old school bandleader and is always giving opportunities to singers and musicians. He also writes for more than one musical voice; I think some of the stuff he writes needs to be sung by a woman with a voice like Sinead O’Connor or Mavis Staples and he serves himself well by letting other people have the mic. I am loving this version of ‘Whole Lotta Love’. I’m going to run some errands and visit some folks. I’ll be back later today. Maybe I’m ready to write about politics.

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