Prince put on the first of three scheduled concerts at Madison Square Garden Saturday night and it was was teeming with celebrities – many of whom ended up jamming with His Royal Badness on stage.
Spike Lee, Naomi Campbell, Jamie Foxx and his homegirls from “The View” – Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd – were among the famous faces pulled on stage during the sold-out show.
Prince had some extra fun with Shepherd, who famously swooned over him during his surprise visit to “The View” last week. After calling her on stage Saturday, he pretended to bolt — like he did at “The View” after she told him of her longtime fantasy to make love to him. But when he mentioned her name at the Garden, he slyly told her: “Come on, Sherri. Dance with me, please. I wanna see what you really do.”
Lee played the tambourine as Alicia Keys, Foxx, Professor Cornel West, talk-show host Tavis Smiley, Sinbad, John Leguizamo and others danced onstage with Prince and Sheila E. to their hit “A Love Bizarre” during the second of two encores. The audience benefited from huge monitor screens above and around the stage — which was in the shape of Prince’s logo and featured lights around it like an airport landing strip.
The concert was part of Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” performances in the New York City area; this was his first night at MSG.
Although Prince released a new album overseas this year, Saturday’s concert was classic Prince. He sang memorable tunes like “Kiss,” “1999,” “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Purple Rain” — the only thing missing from the old days were the heels he used to wear, according to AP. (He strutted and danced on stage in more sensible flats.)
Prince gave fans a surprise as he dusted off some of the more sexier songs from his classic catalog, including “Cream,” “Shhh” and “U Got The Look.” The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer hadn’t sung many of those songs in years since he became a Jehovah’s Witness. He didn’t get too wild though and didn’t pull out songs from his once-raunchy past, according to the AP.
The audience roared at the opening chords of each familiar number, from “The Beautiful Ones” (performed with the accompaniment of a sexy ballet dancer) to “Let’s Go Crazy” to “Delirious” to “Raspberry Beret” to “Nothing Compares 2 U” to “Purple Rain.” The only cover songs on display, Sylvester’s “Dance (Disco Heat)” and The Time’s “Cool,” were melded seamlessly into the lineup.
Before her appearance for the all-star “Love Bizarre” encore, Sheila E. was brought out to thunderous applause for a duet on “U Got the Look” and a lengthy solo on “The Glamorous Life” that allowed Prince time for a costume change.
Bass player Larry Graham and Graham Central Station, one of Prince’s musical inspirations, served as the opening act. Graham commented that it was his first time performing at Madison Square Garden since he appeared as part of Sly & the Family Stone. Prince briefly joined them for a raucous medley of that group’s hits, including such classics as “Family Affair” and “Everyday People.”
Prince has two more dates left at the Garden — one later in December and another in January. Judging from the extended standing ovation he received Saturday night, he’s looking forward to coming back. As he left the stage, he quipped: “This is my house now.”