Review: Prince’s Paramount Theatre shows in Oakland 2/28/16


Prince’s shows at the Paramount Theatre last night were wonderful. I will not write another oversized million page book about it like I did for the recent January Paisley Park shows. I’ll keep it short and just get straight to the point.

Twitter: @PRINCE3EG

Got there a few hours early and met my friend Sarah at one of my favorite little places down the street, Luka’s Taproom and Lounge. No tables or seating left because people dressed in purple and various Prince t-shirts had totally taken over the joint. Saw an empty table in the back near pool table and grabbed it! While fueling ourselves real quick with salad and soup, we rambled on about how excited we were. Luka’s has a jukebox in the back pool table room so I appropriately put on a variety of Prince songs. The first one that randomly played was Purple Rain. People cheered and got even more happy. I headed back to the table and saw two women crying nearby. I thought maybe they both suddenly had an allergy attack or something so I asked, but no, no allergies, they were crying. It’s too early ladies! They said they couldn’t help it, their emotions got the best of them knowing what was in store. The struggle of trying to look in control right before a Prince show is real.

Next we headed over to the venue. Adrenaline! Anxious people outside milling about and blocking a lane of traffic while taking pics of the marquee, the crowd, the venue, the atmosphere overall . Staff didn’t even bother trying to contain it, they must have worked a Prince show or two before and knew what time it was. We come deep! No one passing by honked or got in a tizzy. People were driving past smiling and waving and looking just as excited. Prince is in town OK?!?!?!!!

We finally headed in, hit the merchandise table and headed to our seats. The magic began shortly after:

Prince walked out on stage and the theater suddenly belonged to him. Just like that. BAM. This is Prince’s theater now. And everyone in there could feel it and knew it. It is what it is. Sorry Paramount owners. It’s not yours right now.

Prince welcomed us and got right into it: “I’m not a woman…. I’m not a man… I am something that you’ll never understand…” Oh. My.

This show is obviously much different than any other. No band, no singers, no dancers. It’s Prince. Piano. His amazing voice. Period. Sit down, relax and really let it soak in. Shhh…Listen. Appreciate this unique experience. We will see him shred guitar, bring the funk and all that amazingness again, soon enough. But for these shows, appreciate them for their own amazingness and for what they are: Beautiful.

He told us how he wanted to be just like his father — play the piano like his father. He wanted to be cool like his father. He said he loved just what his father loved: His mother, the bible and music. He then gave us blues, he gave us jazz, he gave us soulful ballads, he gave us church, he gave us beat-boxing and Prince screams and deep voiced sangin’ and falsetto (the kind that sends shivers up and down spines). He gave us him. He gave us his music. He gave us those ‘looks’; those Prince looks. I know you know (and if you don’t, first of all shame on you, and second of all, you need to stop living your life as you know it right now, find where he is playing next and then figure out a way to be there, so you will finally know all about it. You need to know). He gave us food for thought. Plenty of it. He quoted Kendrick Lamar: “We gon’ be alright”…“but we gotta self-preserve”. He sang and talked about Flint. He said that when people tell you their lives matter… listen to them.

Prince is an exquisite being on stage. He is precise and detailed and knows how to own a stage, even all by himself. Sitting at the piano, you could still see the huge mass of energy that just seemed to seep out of him. It’s like he almost couldn’t contain it. His body would sort of take over and he’d be suddenly standing up while playing. Didn’t matter how slow or fast or how heavy or light the song was. His body sometimes looked like it was saying, ‘I can’t just keep sitting here boss!’. And at the same time, he still looked smooth and composed throughout. In addition to his piano playing and singing, he also used his body as part of the music. He used his feet for sound, he beat boxed and snapped into the mic when he needed to add to the groove.

As usual, as the night went on more and more women (and people in general) were feeling some type of way. Think of that one scene in Five Heartbeats with Cookie!


I love to see the audience transform throughout show. Yes, everyone’s excited and happy to see him. Adrenaline is flowing, whether attending your 50th or 1st Prince show. The transformation I notice is from people that don’t really know how Prince gets down but walked in all confident thinking they did. They start off all happy and clapping and whooping and hollering and soaking it all in but as the show goes on, they realize that ‘it just got real’ and they are on a ride they had no clue they’d be on. Their whooping and hollering turns in to gasps and hands clutched over their mouths or tears or total intense silence. Yes, I do happen to notice this! I witness ‘the change’ around me at every Prince show. It’s inevitable.

As I heard a woman scream out to him at one point, “OK Daddy, it’s alright!”, I continued to absorb as much as I could to store in my Prince memory bank. I thought, ‘Yes, this is definitely alright! It’s pretty much everything.’

Mouthwatering set lists below: (apologies for any imperfections on order of songs, etc.)

SHOW 1 (2/28/2016)
I Would Die 4 U
Batman Theme
Over The Rainbow
Big City
I would Die 4 U (part2)
Take Me With U
Little Red Corvette/Dirty Mind
Linus and Lucy…
I Feel For You
The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
Pop Life
The Max
The Ballad of Dorothy Parker
Black Muse
Diamonds and Pearls
The Beautiful Ones
It /Unchain My Heart
Thieves in the Temple
A Place in Heaven
Raspberry Beret
Starfish and Coffee
Paisley Park
How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
Nothing Compares 2 U
Purple Rain
Black Sweat
Purple Music
Venus De Milo

Show 2 (2/28/2016)
Joy in Repetition
When The Lights Go Down
I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man
Little Red Corvette / Dirty Mind
Linus and Lucy…
With You
I Wanna Be Your Lover
Do Me Baby
Dear Mr. Man
I love U But I don’t Trust U Anymore
Strange Relationship
Something in the Water (Does not Compute)
Love 2 The 9’s
Waiting in Vain / If I Was Your Girlfriend
A Case of U
How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
Take Me With U
Raspberry Beret
The Love We Make
Diamonds and Pearls
Pink Cashmere
The Beautiful Ones
Sometimes It Snows in April
Purple Rain
Free Urself

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s