Despite the fiasco surrounding the supposed afterparty to Prince’s debut Melbourne show a few weeks back, last night, The Purple One took to Bennett’s Lane to perform a super-secret set to an extremely limited (and lucky) crowd of 70+ punters.
The only notifications of his appearance at Bennett’s Lane Jazz Club last night were through a newsletter that was sent out too late, and a last-minute tweet from Spanish radio host DJ Rashida that read “Prince on stage @ bennetts lane jazz club <Melbourne 2nite! 200$ @ door *secret show* just starting.″
According to Noise11, the crowd consisted mainly made up of attendees of the Allan Browne Trio with Phil Noy, the set preceded Prince’s appearance on stage around 2am.
Prince’s late-night club soiree focussed more on long-time vocalist Shelby J of the New Power Generation as well as being treated to some synchronised dancing from The Twinz.
Nevertheless, the artist-formerly-known-as-now-known-as-again reportedly delivered a two-hour set of searing funk. Including obscurities cherry-picked from the singer’s extensive back catalogue (including “Sexy Dancer” from his eponymous debut and “Love 2 The 9s” from his eponymous ‘Love Symbol’ debut); as well as covers of Rihanna’s “Rude Boy”, Parliament’s “Tear The Roof Off The Sucker” and similarly Funkadelic’s “Up For The Downstroke.”
Noise11 also reported that the performance was conducted in almost complete darkness, with members of Prince’s entourage killing the house lights, “switching them off manually until the only light that could be seen was coming from the office behind the bar, creating a very strange vibe.”
The Purple One’s infamous ‘secret’ gigs in Australia have thus far included a club show at Sydney’s The Ivy with Seal and Flava Flav, as well as two unannounced performances following his Brisbane arena shows. As far as these special shows have been, his show at Bennett’s last night was easily his most surprisingly intimate yet.
It’s not the first time Prince has used the jazz club to host his funk jams, during his last visit to Melbourne in 2003, he played a ‘warm-up’ show for lucky punters for only $20 for entry, making last night’s $200 price tag a 1000% mark-up!
Still, it’s a price most would happily pay for bragging rights.
There may still be one more chance to catch Prince around Melbourne’s nightspots, with the singer scheduled to deliver his final Australian arena spectacular at Rod Laver tomorrow night (Wed 30th).
We’ll just have to keep a close ear to the ground…