Over the years, there have been some great live performances by Prince captured on tape and video. Over the years, the mighty purple one’s lawyers have dutifully gone about their business removing things from the internet, keeping them from fans’ eyes and ears.
There have been some great shows issued officially, of course. The VHS of the near three hour show from the ‘Purple Rain’ tour is legendary (and overdue a DVD reissue) and – even with overdubs – the ‘Sign ‘O’ The Times’ concert movie is beloved by fans.
There’s been very little pre-‘Purple Rain’ live Prince to be seen, at least in anything like a complete performance. It is fantastic, then, that the Capitol Theater in New Jersey habitually recorded their visiting performers (a great gig from The Police can be seen here). As part of the ‘Controversy’ tour, Prince and his band visited the Capitol and just over an hour’s worth of a pre-megastar megastar was captured for posterity. It’s such a pleasure to experience the early Prince at work, it’s easy to forgive the black and white source material.
‘1999’ and the beginnings of pomp and perfection are so close at this point…and yet in other ways, so far away.