Wednesday, March 31
of course the difference in energy is pretty significant - but with the movie theatre you still have the publicness, the social aspect, and the uniqueness of the event; and if it hadn't been eleven pm on a monday night here on the east coast, i bet the whole room would have been on their feet and dancing, in addition to (as we were doing) applauding after every song, clapping and singing along, and loosing shrieks of excitement and longing with every close-up of the unbelievably svelte, young- looking prince flashing a seksy look or dance move (joe and i and a few of the ladies in the front section were up and dancing for the first few songs or so, but then we gave up.)
and the liveness was an important part of that, helping foster an energy that, diffuse as it was, was in some sense genuinely resonating all over the country, at that precise moment. when one of the audience members he'd invited on stage slipped and fell, and prince shrugged at her and cracked "too many trips to the bar" [or, as joe poetically misheard it "better a trip than a fall"] we saw the freshness of utterly unplanned just as the people in l.a. saw it, even if it took gobs of cameras and satellites and who knows what for it to happen.
and even though we weren't there at all, we were right there and involved in what was happening much more in some sense than the people that were. through the invisible apparatus we got close-ups and cuts and pans to exactly where the action was at any moment - and it was huge! this was also of course the most disruptive aspect of the experience, which let us feel like we were there in the moment (one-on-one with just prince, and nobody else) and at the same time didn't let us forget that we were watching slickly simul-edited camera-work.
would it have been easier to insert ourselves if there had been a static, audiences-eye-view camera, stop making sense-style? well, maybe, but for this particular concert that wouldn't have worked: the show was in the round, on a cross-shaped stage in the middle of the arena, with all the musicians (save drums and keyboards) free to strut back and forth along each arm. even the luckies on the floor right up against the stage didn't get to see nearly as much of the concert as we did. and we even got to turn around and look at crowd reactions from time to time.
so although, especially if you discount the price differential (in the realm of $60, give or take a free slipcased promo cd), i'd obviously rather say "i went to a prince concert" than say "i went to a prince concert" and be baldly lying, i'm not sure the issue is as clear-cut as it seems.
by the way, i should mention that the show was phenomenal. not too much spectacle, thankfully minimal spotlighting of the individual musicians (there were a few minutes of gratuitous circular breathing, but that's about it.) just a tight as hell funk band, hit after hit after hit (hard to pick a favorite moment but nothing compares was pretty great), dance moves copped equally from me (sez ben) and james brown.
perfect encore too - five or six solo acoustic numbers, including a hilarious blues and "little red corvette." then "seven" on which the band entered, and we were all singing along in harmony (at least, i was) and closing with "purple rain," a song whose i appeal i really don't understand, but whatever.
[maybe in a little while i'll write about the openers]
electric word, life?