Live Review: Prince at Tacoma Dome, Monday, Dec. 19
Prince, from memory - Because cameras were not allowed (art by Casey Jarman)
The Tacoma Dome turns out to be a fine place to see a show.
After years of passing the stadium—which kinda resembles a cold war military installation from the afar—en route to Seattle, I was almost as excited to see the place from the inside as I was to see pop legend Prince. And my curiosity paid off: The interior of the Tacoma Dome looks like something Buckminster Fuller might design were he to wind up high at an '80s ski lodge (presumably via some sort of Hot Tub Time Machine). With its majestic wooden beams, echoing metal bleachers and comically outdated (both technologically and stylistically) facilities, the stadium is lovably ornate for something built in the early '80s and it also feels like a total deathtrap.
If the Tacoma Dome is huge, stylish, aging and perhaps not quite as exciting as it was in the '80s, well, so was last night's guest of honor. Hand-in-hand, the two of them performed their essential tasks (looking amazing and making people really happy) in fine fashion: Prince played an arena show worthy of an arena.
Aging pop stars and arena shows are two things I generally despise. But Prince, who shimmied and shook alongside a downright epic band (which included Portland's own Liv Warfield on gospel-leaning vocals and legendary James Brown sideman Maceo Parker on the saxophone), has an onstage work-ethic matched only by his monumental ego, and I had to see it all in person. I mean, the guy is the perfect pop star: He doesn't give a shit if you like him and yet his fans' adoration seems to mean everything to him. The same qualities that make an awful and crazy girlfriend, apparently, make a great pop star.
Speaking of girlfriends (I might get slapped for that transition!), this show made a nice Christmas present for mine. She's a big Prince fan (in her mind, the Purple One forms a holy trinity alongside Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott, with Morrissey and Freddie Mercury singing in the angelic choir), and I was glad to be able to make her yuletide wish come true. And I have to say that the whole thing was epic. Just epic. Basically two hours of this, but in higher definition and with better sound. But because the show was business, I interviewed her about the show afterwards. Here is that interview in two parts. Note: I should have known that Prince wrote "Nothing Compares 2 U." If nothing else, the "2" and the "U" should have given it away. BAD music editor. BAD!