This time last week in a little flat in East London, something magical was in the works; the return of pop legend Prince.
The 55-year-old had previously dropped hints of holding a press conference in his friend and fellow musician, Lianne La Havas’ residence. Well come February 5th, he’d done just that, allowing just a couple of journalists in to cover the event and playing to them, before moving onto an impromptu gig at London’s Electric Ballroom, billed as a ‘sound check’.
Well it was one of the most popular sound checks the city had seen as fans were queuing for hours to get a glimpse of the man, who was charging just $10- a distinct difference to the last time he had played in the city 7 years ago, when he held a residency at the 20,000 capacity 02 Arena.
With a three-piece backing band in ‘3RDEYEGIRL’ and an incredible show to kick off promoting his upcoming album, is this a style of marketing and promotion that we’re going to become familiar with?
Sure, it’s a clear regression, restricting yourself and your product to just a handful of superfans who happened to be in the right place at the right time (oh and be living in London!), but this type of guerrilla advertising and banding together increases hype and anticipation. You can be sure that long-standing rumours of Prince headlining Glastonbury ’14 and perhaps a couple of Hyde Park shows have reignited due to his few small London shows, which would allow the masses to see what all the fuss is indeed all about!
With very little YouTube footage and pictures available from the gigs at present, it is a method that has captured the imagination of the public, in a world where everything is planned out, tours are announced months in advance, with ridiculous pricing and booking fees that music fans take as a given. It’s refreshing to see such spontaneity and a seemingly genuine passion for the music, that Prince and his band seem to have. Whether it’ll catch on or not is another thing completely, but who wouldn’t love to be able to see their favourite artist for the price of a night down at the pub?!
Below is some recent footage of the show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, put out by 3RDEYEGIRL, we see the crowds of people and happy faces, alongside a Hendrix-looking Prince and the band themselves. It looks like a magnificent event to be a part of, one of those ‘I was there’ moments, and with tweets being put out by Prince’s manager, enticing fans about further mystery shows, it appears the show is not yet over!
It’s debatable whether or not it’s actually been a wholesome success for Prince; sure had he announced a UK-wide tour starting at £50 apiece he would’ve been making millions rather than thousands, but has he not won the respect and admiration of his loyal band of fans and gained a few along the way at the same time.
I for one am intrigued to see what actually comes of his latest album, as the tasters sound amazing and you can expect the legend to expand his tale yet!