March 1, 2006, Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA - Who else but Prince could announce a show with less than a week's notice, sell it out instantly and have fans lining up in the cold after midnight on a Wednesday? And here's the kicker: Prince wasn't even the headliner.
Part of a renegade theater tour intended to introduce audiences to his latest (in a long line of) protege, Tamar, Prince opted out of the main spotlight Wednesday night (actually, Tuesday morning) at a packed The Electric Factory when he and his band took the stage just after midnight. Instead, he handled lead guitar duties, allowing the glamorous Tamar, and a duo of identical twin backup singers, to front an old-school R&B-styled review that kept people dancing until well almost 2 a.m.
Even before the show started the audience was dancing. Standing stage right behind two turntables was the hottest DJ I've ever seen who spun an incredible variety of old school funk classics and of some Prince tunes including the full length "Black Sweat." Check out DJ Rashida's website for more information.
The first half of the show was basically Tamar's soon-to-be-released album titled "Beautiful Loved & Blessed" and due for release on May 2, 2006. I'd say Tamar (www.tamaronline.com) had the body and moves of Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin's voice. Prince did his best to stay in the shadows and let the spotlight shine on Tamar. At one point--after playing a riff from the extended "Kiss" 12" -- Prince even said, "No, no, no, it's not my show." Tamar really won me and the crowd over. Despite her novice status, Tamar commanded the stage.
The second half of the show was a guitar funk party. Prince and Tamar treated the crowd to "Play that Funky Music," Aretha's "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," and a searing "Rock Steady" (what it is, what it is, what it is), a Jackson-family special of "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "What Have You Done For Me Lately?", Sly's "I Want to Take You Higher." The only time Prince took the microphone on his own was with a full-out funky vocal on "Party Man," through which you could practically hear him laughing. With a stage filled with dancing audience members, Prince stopped his "Party" just long enough to tell a grabby older woman, "Excuse me, grandma, I'm working."