HEY PRINCE, YOU FORGOT A FEW SONGS!

Dear Prince,

I caught the first of your “Welcome 2 Chicago” shows this past Monday, and I wanted to wait a while before I shared my thoughts on it — mainly because, at first, I didn’t know what to think or how to feel about the night’s events. Just like you and your catalogue of groundbreaking music, it was different from any other concert experience I’d ever had.

I guess my mistake was walking into the United Center with expectations. Since you’re not promoting a new album, I expected a greatest hits show — similar to the Sade show I went to last year — sort of a comprehensive look back at the visuals, songs and statements that made Prince, Prince. In some respects, you gave us that. But mostly, I got the feeling that you didn’t really have a plan for the evening, other than to have a big jam session. You played whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, without much regard to what that particular song meant to your legacy. In retrospect, I see that this approach gave us some really cool, organic moments, like when you and your background singers broke into that gospel medley and took us all to church on a Monday night.

But, this approach also puzzled me, and left me feeling a little frustrated. I felt like you wasted valuable show time singing covers of other people’s music. You’re Prince, and as you said many times throughout the show, you have too many hits. So why do covers of Curtis Mayfield and Michael Jackson? I mean, we all love Mike, but you’re PRINCE. You could’ve cut those covers — the lowlight of the show for me — and sang the songs that we really wanted to hear, like “Let’s Go Crazy,” or “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” I’ve heard “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” enough times to last me ten lifetimes — I didn’t really need to hear the Prince/Minneapolis funk remix version.

When you did play your signature songs, and you played a good amount of them, I swear, every human being in that place was screaming like a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber show — female AND male. “Purple Rain”? Pure magic. “Kiss”? You at your funky best. “Take Me With You”? Made me feel like it was 1984 all over again. Those moments, along with you covering the songs you developed for/with other acts (Sheila E. and The Time, in particular), made the ticket price well worth it.

The next time you’re at the United Center, I’ll be there, too.

Brannon