Shout out to the kid today, as June 7th marks the occasion of Prince Rogers Nelson‘s 52nd birthday – a milestone that Prince himself will choose to ignore, as Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to do.
So what is the State of Prince at the moment? Not much this year, it appears, at least from a fan perspective. There is a brand new issue of Ebony that features an interview, which I haven’t picked up yet. But as far as music goes, his last effort was the triple CD release of Lotusflow3r last year. Seems so long ago, right? It was March 2009 when we saw a flurry of activity with the release of Lotusflow3r, MPLSound, and ladyfriend Bria Valente’s Elixir album – along with three straight nights on Jay Leno, and a special series of shows in Los Angeles. It also saw the debut of www.lotusflow3r.com – which offered fans the chance to enter Prince’s online universe at a fee of $77 (nope, didn’t bite).
2009 carried on, and, except for a few one off performances here and there (mostly overseas), Prince’s enthusiasm for the project apparently faded quickly. Once again, no tour. In fact, it has been six years since Prince has toured (Musicology was the last).
So once again we’re faced with a lull in Prince Land. Even Lotusflow3r.com has gone offline, and we’re looking again at a major artist who chooses not to have an official online presence in the 21st century – a concept that befuddles me.
There is one bright spot this year, however, and that’s the re-emergence of quality Prince videos on YouTube. He’s either given up the fight, or his attention has shifted elsewhere. But it’s good for us, as all sorts of good stuff is popping up again.
For me, I look to the 80’s. This video (parts 1 and 2 below) was filmed in Atlanta on the Purple Rain tour. It was late 1984 during Christmas break when Friday Night Videos aired this entire performance of “I Would Die 4 U” and “Baby I’m A Star.” Other than the performance footage in Purple Rain, this was my first glimpse into Prince as a live performer. I was 14 years old, I had just discovered this eccentric, indefinable force of an artist, and – needless to say (because here I am 26 years later talking about it) – I was just blown away.
Here’s a 26 year old Prince at the top of his game. Prince the showman; Prince the presence, the undisputed ringleader.
“I Would Die 4 U”
“Baby I’m A Star”
UPDATE: There’s a new Prince song making the rounds today. It’s called “Hot Summer“, and here it is…