Soul (September 25,
My friends and I decided to
meet at 8, the start time of the
Newpower Soul concert, because
concerts never start on time.
This time, however, the concert
started on time, or at least
before I arrived at my seat at
8:20 pm. We just caught the tail
end of Larry Graham, the New
Power Generation, Candy Dulfer
and Graham Central Station
playing "You Can Make It If You
Try", but arrived just in time
for "Free" featuring Chaka Khan
in a gigantic cape and Prince,
carrying the cape behind her.
She looked like Batwoman with her
tight black outfit. Larry
Graham, GCS, NPG, and Candy
Dulfter all wore white Huggy-Bear
style suits. During "Free",
lasers projected an image above
the stage of two wrists breaking
out of chains, a la the
Emancipation cover. Chaka
energized the crowd whenever she
broke out in soulful screaming
and moaning. Chaka and Prince
left the stage when the song
ended. Before playing "Everday
People," Larry referred to the
last time he played MSG with Sly
and the Family Stone. He
followed that song with a mean
bass solo and even came out into
the audience to play. Larry
& co. then broke into "The
Jam," with Mayte coming out to
fan him with a towel. Larry left
the stage, but NPG keyboardist
Morris Hayes called him out for
one more song. Larry tried to
get the crowd to raise the volume
in the Garden for "I Want to Take
You Higher." It wasn't a
complete success, but he's come a
long way in appeasing the Prince
audience from the time he started
opening up for Prince.
After a brief intermission,
Chaka came out with her own band
for her set. Prince gave her a
very flattering intro from
backstage. Her band was all
dressed in black. She didn't
have the giant cape on, but
appeared to have some veils
attached to her arms and back.
Her set was as follows: "Once You
Get Started," "I Feel For You"
(joined by Prince), "You Got the
Love," "Sweet Thing," and "Tell
Me Something Good." Doug E Fresh
came out to rap an intro to
"Higher Love," which
sang in a very reggae-ish style.
She closed her set with "Spoon"
and "I'm Every Woman." On the
last song, two children joined
her on stage and one of them even
sang lead for a bit. Chaka did
not explain who they were.
Morris Hayes was watching
Chaka's set from the sound system
in the middle of the Garden.
Felicia Collins also watched the
whole show from there. She's
part of the CBS Orchestra on Late
Show with David Letterman. She
will be playing with her own band
at LeBar Bat in NYC at the end of
October. I asked Morris where
the aftershow would be. He told
me Trammps, but the announcer
told the whole audience that too
at the end of the show, so I
decided not to try to get in,
assuming Prince would be resting
for the Atlantic City show.
A big symbol drape hid the
stage during the intermission.
The backdrop changed from a green
cloudscape with a doorway to
headstone with LOVE written on it
(similar to Chaka's album cover)
to a large light-brite symbol and
a miniature lightbulb decorated
black drape. The chinese dogs
were also placed at the edge of
the stage. Above the stage was a
sign that read newpower soul
festival 1998. Above that sign
was a series of colorful
triangular flags with words
written on them from left to
right: faith, goodness, peace,
god, patience (can't read my own
writing on this one), joy,
kindness. Two giant images of
Prince bookended the stage, on
the right was the cover photo for
newpower soul, and the left was a
waist up picture of Prince in
red, like on one of the t-shirts
After the intermission, it was
time for the man who rocks the
hardest. It started with a
housebeat, a remix of "Come On."
E. Fresh came out after the
drape went up and began Push It
Up as laser lights spelled push
it up and jam of the year above
the stage. On the right side of
the floor, Prince arose to join
in "Push It Up." He descended
after his rap and then appeared
behind the stage and began "Jam
of the Year," complete with Rosie
Gaines's recorded growling
vocals. He then launched into
"Talkin' Loud and Saying
Nothing," and introduced Candy
Dulfter. Around this time, some
woman started selling bootleg
pictures to the audience. She
was not an authorized seller or
employee of MSG. An extended
version of "Let's Work" was
followed by "Delerious." Then
inflated legs came down from the
ceiling (legs like the ones on
the back cover of Newpower Soul).
Prince played rockabilly-style on piano during the rest of
"Delerious" and did some miming
just as he performed it on Vibe.
The crowd finally came alive
during "Purple Rain." The
audience's singing finally
reached an audible volume. He
asked the crowd's permission to
play his guitar before starting
the extended solo. It was
probably the longest version of
"Purple Rain" that I had heard
since the Purple Rain tour.
The lighting turned red for
what else: "Little Red Corvette,"
complete with video choreography.
He then led the crowd in "I Would Die 4 U," with instructions to
point above to God, as he must
have learned that people thought
he was singing about himself when
the song was originally released.
He introduced Rhonda on bass and Kirk on drums, but no one else for
the rest of the night. He then
began mocking doubters, imitating
them saying "He's not successful,
he can't sell that place out."
He even mentioned
John's recent comments and
referred to him as a friend.
Then expressing pain like a
target of Ken Starr, he
complained about lies and said
let's talk about a man being
dragged by a truck and kneepads
in the Whtehouse. He introduced
the next song as being from his
most unsuccessful record. It was
"I Could Never Take The Place Of
Your Man." During the intro he
said this is heaven on earth for
me. The song closed with a
Santana-like guitar solo as the
laser lights showed his symbol
guitar flying towards the viewer.
Candy re-emerged playing a sax solo. Then Mayte came out dancing
dressed in numerous veils to the
intro of "The One." She
continued to dance as Prince came
back out to sing the song. In
the meantime, he changed from
white to red. He continued the
vibe with "Do Me Baby"
interspersed with "Scandalous"
and "How Come U Don't Call Me
Anymore." He then did "If I Was
Your Girlfriend," as he performed
it on on Oprah.
He sat down at the piano and
began "The Most Beautiful Girl in
the World" by himself. Only
Morris joined in with organ.
After a little of Beautiful Girl,
he started "Adore," then
"Diamonds and Pearls," then "The
Beautiful Ones." He started
playing "Darling Nikki," but
walked away. The crowd was so
loud it drove him back to try
again. Again he walked away
after a couple of measures. The
crowd went wild and made him go
back. He started singing it, but
did not say masturbating or
grind. And when the crowed
finished that verse he stopped
and said he was going to tell our
He went back to the piano to
do "Nothing Compares 2 U." The
joined in. He closed the show
with "Take Me With U" and
"Raspberry Beret," just like it
was performed on VH1, complete
with "Mr. Happy" outro.
The crowd of course demanded
more. Doug E. Fresh came out and
told us how he explained to
Prince that when he came to NYC,
he had to do some ol' skool.
Kirk had the sample box and began
playing the instrumental of
"Erotic City." Prince came out
in black and said he wasn't doing
that. Kirk then began "Pop
Life." Prince gave in and sang
to that music. Kirk then started
"Sign o the Times." Doug began
rapping "La-Di-Da-Di" over that
music and did the beat box thing,
followed by a face off with
Candy. Kirk then played "I Wanna
Be Your Lover," which Prince
sang. Kirk started "Adore," but
Prince didn't want to go there.
The show ended with the band
playing "Freaks on the Side" and
"Come On." For "Come On," lots
of people were invited onstage.
Before Prince left, this one guy
and Prince did a high five.
Prince then put out his hand for
another five and the guy slammed
his fist against it. Prince
acted as if his hand was hurt.
I'd kill the guy if he actually
did damage Prince's precious
guitar and piano playing fingers.
Then the guy kissed Prince, and Prince gave a look of mock horror.
When I left the show, I went
to the souvineer stand where
people were racking up the money.
I bought a $15 dollar single of "2gether" featuring some remixes.
The tambourines were sold out.
T-shirts were expensive, except
for Chaka's stuff, which were
about half the price of Prince's
stuff. I saw people buying
KamaSutra, Crystall Ball, and
Emancipation, sales that
Soundscan probably won't tally.
It may not have been a sell out
concert, but it was a profitable
night of neosoul and rock and