Prince Douses Crowd With Purple Confetti at 'Welcome 2 America' Tour Opener
As fans filed into the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on Wednesday night for the start of Prince's "Welcome 2 America" tour, they saw on the arena's doors a rather disconcerting sign o' the times: no cameras or cell phones permitted. Now, the Purple One is notoriously protective of his image -- he once threatened to sue folks merely for posting his photos and album covers on their websites -- but this seemed a bit much. Was the privilege of hearing 'Purple Rain' live really going to cost a few thousand people their smart phones?
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The answer, luckily, was no. The security staff made only a cursory attempt to enforce this unenforceable rule, and midway through the set, during a show-stopping version of 'If I Was Your Girlfriend,' Prince himself urged fans to take out the supposedly banned devices and wave them in the air, proving he's not as out of touch with the realities of modern life as some might have feared.
As it turns out, Prince is still in touch with a lot of things, the most important of which being his prodigious talents: the James Brown dancing, shrug-of-the-shoulder guitar shredding and Little Richard shrieking. He opened the show -- the first of this winter's five New York and New Jersey appearances -- in a manner befitting his legend, rising slowly from a trap door in the center of a stage shaped like the unpronounceable symbol he once used as his name. Shrouded in smoke, dressed in a long purple overcoat, he laid down a fierce 'Laydown,' giving his Telecaster one of many workouts it would receive over the course of his 23-song set.
Then, just as quickly as he'd appeared, he returned to his subterranean lair, leaving the next tune, a new one called 'Black Muse,' to his three female