Prince, London Roundhouse, gig review: Endless medley of hits renders modern artists embarrassingly under-accomplished

5.00

Part Two of the artist's guerrilla series of live dates gave fans just 48 hours to descend upon the venue for a set packed with classics

It’s become a familiar sight in London in the past few months: an undulating line of people, snaking down through the street from the door of [insert name of famous music venue far too small to be hosting a show by the likes of Prince here], all elbows and anticipation as they jostle to catch a glimpse of the legendary artist in action.

Part Two of his guerrilla series of live dates – aptly named the ‘Hit And Run’ tour – paints a similar picture. This time, fans were given just 48 hour's notice to descend upon the Roundhouse in Camden for one of two separate shows this evening, both of which sold out just four minutes after going on sale.

And those lucky enough to get their cyber hands on tickets certainly get their money’s worth. From the moment The Artist steps onto the stage, clad in a gold lamé smoking jacket and flanked by his equally glamorous all-female backing band 3rdEyeGirl, he sets into motion a seemingly endless medley of hits that blend into one silken performance of funk euphoria.

From the thunder clap start, it takes just two tracks and a squealing solo before the crowd are drawn deep into the neck snapping rhythm of “Raspberry Beret”. Intense synths accompany a sing-a-long rendition of “C.O.O.L”, punctuated by some impressive pirouetting, as the familiar keys of “When Doves Cry” plunge the Roundhouse into arm-waving hysteria.

Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL perform at Paris Zenith Prince & 3RDEYEGIRL perform at Paris Zenith

Tossing his guitar to one side, he climbs behind the keys for an emotive, stripped back rendition of “I Would Die 4 You”. “Controversy” and “Play That Funky Music” follow to rapturous reception, heightened to fever pitch with an up-beat instrumental interlude, “1999” and an overtly sexual, banter-laced performance of “Little Red Courvette”.

“Nothing Compares 2 U” tugs neck hairs the room over, soon flattened back into position by a gyration-fuelled version of “Kiss”.

The panic of the first encore is soon subdued as, now wearing a sleeveless black vest, Prince bounds back onto the stage for “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man”.

“We love you London, but not like we love these guitars,” he shouts, before diving into another anthemic rock instrumental.

Shade is provided back behind the keyboards with “The Beautiful Ones”, as the stage is bathed in indigo and lilac for a special, extended version of “Purple Rain”.

After one-and-a-half hours of non-stop classics, many assume this to be the end, and although delighted, are mildly bemused by the striking up of a second encore. It’s about this time that the venue security beef up the evening’s somewhat aggressive ‘No photos, no videos!’ policy. Several quivering young audience members attempting to snap a keepsake on their mobile phones are rooted out and ejected from the venue by the arm in an almost military operation that adds an unsettling undertone to the evening’s otherwise upbeat mood.

The set finishes with a solo-heavy version of “She’s Always In My Hair”. At the end of the song, Prince struts off stage, only to return laden with a bunch of helium-filled balloons, which promptly travel up to the roof as he attempts to throw them out into the crowd.

“It just… Really doesn’t get any better,” a near-by reveller reviews to a friend. She was, clearly, not one those caught taking their phones out. But, while her turn of phrase is hideously overused, few statements apply more accurately to tonight’s proceedings. 

Ageless, timeless, almost genderless, he remains an inimitable showman, with an emphatic back catalogue that renders the majority of modern solo artists so embarrassingly under-accomplished, it’s almost hard to think of him as a real person.

So if you do see that queue forming at a venue near you, jump in it. Fan or not, it’s an experience that simply can't be matched.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week