If I had to point to one performance that sums up everything I like about Prince, it would be his August 3rd, 1983 benefit show at First Avenue in Minneapolis (the day I turned 13!). It was not only the debut of new guitarist Wendy Melvoin (just 19 years old at the time), but the debut of many of the tunes from Purple Rain, which wouldn’t be released until the summer of 1984. In fact, some of the recordings you hear on the Purple Rain album come from this show (“Purple Rain” and “Baby I’m a Star” to name a couple). The circulating video bootleg is called The Makings of Rain, and it is essential viewing for Prince fans. It’s out there. I recommend you track it down.
This is classic Prince in every sense for me: young, vibrant, sensual, sexual, urgent, commanding…here is an artist coming off a very successful album and tour (1999), and about to unleash (what I consider) his masterpiece upon the world.
So every once in a while, part of the performance pops up on Youtube. Here’s the unreleased classic “Electric Intercourse”.
(Dead Youtube link, sorry)