Prince Of Monaco
At first look, the seating arrangements and standard of dress left one wondering whether concertgoers would know they were about to get hit by the groove train, or if they would sit through it all as if in a chichi, Muzak-infused dining car/banquet hall. Thankfully everyone, even dressed to the nines, tens and elevens, was aboard for the musical melange from the moment Prince and the band (Renato Neto, Rhonda Smith, John Blackwell, Morris Hayes and harmonicist Frederic Yonnet) set in motion.
Prince took (or more accurately owned) the stage in a purple and gold ensemble befitting of (musical) royalty at this black-tie affair, showing concertgoers what a Prince in Monaco can do -- tear things up, avec joie et grace! He started the show off with Purple Rain, much to our surprise, and from there moved on to When Eye Lay My Hands on U and a steamy, slowed-down version of Little Red Corvette that's sure to become a favorite.
A mirror ball dropped down for the opening notes of Somewhere Here on Earth, creating a mood well-suited to the room. After that the band rocked things out a bit on Cream, with Yonnet jumping in on the action. Miss You (the Stones classic) turned into a singalong, dancealong funky jam, with Yonnet soloing through Prince's mic. The crowd ate it up.
Later in the set they romped through 1999, turning the hall into dance club once again. Prince guided them through a an extended improvised version of Controversy, working the crowd with Housequake callouts and playful chants about Monaco.
For the dinner party's encore, of course came the dessert, the jam not to be topped this night, la vie du partie -- A Love Bizarre. By the end of the song, many well-heeled folks were onstage, getting their groove on. As if the jam wasn't funky enough on its own, Prince and the band broke it down to just the beat and dropped in some licks from Love Rollercoaster, whipped in a little Sexy Dancer and added a dash vocals from Dance 4 Me. Cool Whip couldn't top this!
Nothing Compares 2 U closed out the night, many of the dancers still onstage circling Prince as he crooned his much-loved classic. This has been a night and a week those in Monte Carlo will not soon forget. Even with the summer music festival drawing near it's close, event staff enjoyed this as if they'd never been to a concert. Perhaps they'd experienced their Prince in Monaco many times, but never like this. Bon nuit!
(Thanks to the no-name reporter.-Dr.FB)
We'd been hoping the rumors were true about a potential 77 afterjam Sunday nite. We got the word last minute: it's on!
As guests like Tyler Perry, Herbie Hancock and Jennifer Gordon (you'll know who she is real soon, trust us) mingled in the kitchen, we heard a few strums of an acoustic guitar around the corner in the ballroom. How cool is this -- a surprise acoustic set with Prince on guitar, Shelby J and Liv Warfield on vocals and tambourine and Frederic Yonnet on harmonica. They opened with "North Carolina," Shelby J.'s theme song. Inside track on this song is that Prince and Shelby are really taking their time about creating classic material before recording Shelby's debut CD. They've dabbled in the studio but after fleshing the tunes out in a live setting, the songs take on a life of their own. Expect big things from this project. The quartet stopped briefly to congratulate a newcomer to the party, Whitney Houston, on her triumphant return to the stage the previous night during the pre-Grammy Bash at the Beverly Hilton.
The room filled up with faces familiar and not, groovin' to "Crimson & Clover", "I'm Going Down" "Long Train Running" and "Kiss" Dance joint of the night tho was "Hollywood Swinging." They just couldn't stop that sucka, no matter how hard they tried. Everyone -- the servers, DJ Rashida , the security, even the housekeepers -- YES everybody was dancing! Nobody outdanced The Twinz' mother tho, who, dressed in white, was auditioning for her daughters' vacated spot.
It seemed like one big family, everyone chill, having fun regardless of background, age, gender, race, social status. None of that mattered. It felt a lot like any Prince concert -- music is the bond that unites us all. Being in a room of totally satisfied people cannot b overstated. It's utter bliss. Try it sometime. Invite your favorite people over and put on some of your favorite music and just dance. Don't even think about it, just dance. Like Holly Robinson, Sanaa Lathan, Chris Tucker, Bria Valente, and her handsome and gracious father, Tyler and Whitney did...just dance.