Kevin Mazur, WireImage The Boot rounds up today's country music news from…
- Posted on May 14th 2011 3:30PM by Steve Baltin
Opening act Janelle Monae hinted something might be up when she dedicated the Charlie Chaplin-penned 'Smile' to "Our friend, Stevie Wonder." And early in his set Prince called out "love and respect to Stevie Wonder." After the show was seemingly over following a glorious 'Purple Rain,' Prince's stellar band came back out and kicked into 'Superstition,' to be followed moments later by Prince rising from underneath the stage holding Wonder by the arm. It wasn't a total surprise but that didn't keep the place from going justifiably crazy at the sight of Wonder playing his harmonica while facing Prince, who rocked out on his guitar.
Energized by sharing the stage with one of his musical heroes, Prince then led the crowd in singing, "Oh, Stevie Wonder," as Wonder's smiling face absorbed the love. To reiterate the greatness of what had just occurred, Prince reminded everybody, "You've just seen Stevie Wonder."
Coming after a hits-laden set that ranged from 'Let's Go Crazy' to 'Cream,' 'Rasberry Beret' and a duet with Monae on 'Take Me With U,' the guest appearance of Wonder and subsequent onstage dance party was more than enough of a show. But still, Prince wasn't done. At nearly 1AM, he said, "I can't go home" -- and he wasn't kidding.
Musically, Prince and his gifted band are always going to deliver. He remains the peak of musicianship, a hybrid of decades of pop music who incorporates everyone from James Brown and Little Richard to Elvis Presley and Jimi Hendrix. But on Friday, Prince was also feeling particularly playful, and when the showmanship matches the music he is almost without peer.
During the fourth or fifth encore -- we honestly lost count -- he quipped, "I've got too many hits." And then before the 1989 ballad 'Scandalous,' Prince warned the audience, "Oh, we can't do this. Do you know what's gonna happen if we do this?" The place would once again erupt, as they had all night long.