Prince celebrated his release of two albums Tuesday — Art Official Age and PlectrumElectrum with 3rdEyeGirl — with a live-streaming event that night, taking viewers inside his Paisley Park estate for a tour and much anticipated concert.
The one-and-a-half hour program streamed on Yahoo’s Live Nation channel kept the focus on The Purple One’s iconic history and modern work with his band 3rdEyeGirl. All the while, the artist everyone tuned-in to stayed at an arm’s length and viewers waited through extensive interviews with collaborators around his Minnesota studio complex.
But all was forgiven when Prince took the stage, even calling Kendrick Lamar out for a guest performance to everyone’s surprise. The set brought all the great promise of an energetic hometown show — not only celebrating Prince’s new releases but his continued legacy of excellence — but all excitement turned to disappointment when the broadcast was ended suddenly after only three songs. The Internet at once experienced a massive WTF moment:
Is that it? Did we wait 2 hours to watch 3 songs live via stream? #PRINCEGLOBALPARTY
— C. Riemenschneider (@ChrisRstrib) October 1, 2014
It was fun while it lasted. Yahoo played with my emotions tonight! Idk how I feel about that though lol nah but seriously #PRINCEGLOBALPARTY
— Kay Rochelle ? (@YOUlove_Kay) October 1, 2014
— SeventhWard (@SeventhWard) October 1, 2014
The whole episode was a roller coaster ride, for sure. Here are the highs and lows of Prince’s Paisley Park live stream celebration:
Basically anytime there was music, it was for the best. Whether that meant footage of Prince and 3rdEyeGirl jamming during a standard 12-hour recording session or NPGQ playing smooth late-night jazz, this really was what the people tuned in for.
Host Maya of the “Shameless Maya” vlog was entirely out of her element, neither showing any supreme knowledge of Prince and his work nor skills as an interviewer. To be fair, speaking engagingly in front of a camera for about an hour straight is not a simple task. But any minute without her on camera was a relief. The only thing that’s less clear than how she got this job is how she got the job shooting Prince’s Art Official Age cover artwork, which she repeatedly made note of during the nearly information-free tour of Paisley Park.
Prince’s engineer Joshua Welton playing some peaks of new material, including collaborations with Kendrick Lamar and Rita Ora on one incredible slow, sexy tune from the boss man himself. Prince called on the studio phone during this and said of Lamar, “Lord have mercy… he’s a bad man.” And of Ora and the dense, swaggering rock-heavy track with a fierce chorus, he said “we have to petition her record company perhaps” for its release.
A drawn-out Q&A with the women of 3rdEyeGirl and Maya with fans with special access for the event, who proved to be more adept at asking questions than the host herself. One takeaway: There’s not much fun to have in Minnesota.
Drummer Hannah Ford let it slip that a tour may be coming up. It went down as she was going through her and fellow 3rdEyeGirl members’ stage outfits saying they were looking forward to taking the clothes on the road.
The 10 minutes of waiting for Prince to take the stage filled by host Maya awkwardly dancing in the audience, trying to unfortunately engage with fans, sometimes lip-syncing along to the lyrics of Art Official Age in dramatic pantomime.
Prince’s performance. Opening with the 3rdEyeGirl track “Pretzelbodylogic,” Prince wore big black sunglasses, a vest and massive gold chains around his neck, jumping from guitar to keys mid-song as he and his bandmates brought a heavy dose of rock to the amped audience.
Excitement swelled when Kendrick Lamar joined the group for “What’s My Name” from the Crystal Ball box set, spitting rhymes over the song’s hard funk riffs.
And then, joined by Liv Warfield, Prince played the downtempo Sly & The Family Stone song “Thankful N’ Thoughtful,” delivering a smooth and soulful vibe that had the audience all warmed up and in the groove.
That was it. There was nothing more. The end.
For those who missed it or want to relive the show, Yahoo will be replaying the entire video until Thursday.
UPDATE: The original version of this story had the Sly & The Family Stone song “Thankful N’ Thoughtful” erroneously reported as Prince’s Art Official Age ballad “Time.”