Review: Prince’s 'intimate' Orpheum dance party

“Cozy” isn’t a term typically used to describe Prince, but that’s the feel the musical great brought to his show at the Orpheum Theatre on Saturday.

It was somewhat of a Bay Area family affair, too. He shared the stage with the Latin jazzy Escovedo family, with a special emphasis on Sheila E., one of his longtime musical associates.

His fantastic band, featuring Maceo Parker and Mike Phillips on sax, Larry Coryell on guitar, Renato Neto on keys and Shelby Johnson on vocals, among other pros, played Sly and the Family Stone’s “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” inviting folks from the audience to dance onstage.

The R&B and funk-flavored tunes (he also covered Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove” and Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”) and superlative jamming really did seem like a party. Wearing a white suit, strutting seductively and playing bass and guitar only sporadically, Prince ordered the house lights up for much of the performance; groovin’ to new tunes including “Satisfied” and “Lolita,” fans enjoyed the fact that they weren’t in a stadium.

The feeling didn’t come cheaply; tickets were $225, offered through a “Traveling Though Life” “intimate” concert series sponsored by the CitiAadvantage credit card.

With the excellent setting, and the fact that Prince and his band are so good, it didn’t matter much that some hits weren’t on the set list. The show lacked “Little Red Corvette,” “When Doves Cry” and “Raspberry Beret.”

But Prince, famous for his independence, did serve up some respectable singles in “U Got the Look,” “Cream,” “Kiss” and “Purple Rain.”

He changed into bright red before the encore to the two-hour show, and closed with “Let’s Go Crazy” as well as a song with a sentiment the late thirty- and fortysomethings in the crowd surely were feeling toward him: “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

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