“Prince – Live at the Aladdin Las Vegas” is an 80-minute DVD of a
December 2002 concert. It was released the following year,
on the Hip-O Records label. Prince is a multi-instrumentalist, singer,
songwriter, music producer, and all-around entertainer who has
been a major musical force since the beginning of the 1980’s,
if not earlier.
He is credited with creating what has become known as the
“Minneapolis Sound,” fusing Funk, Rock, Pop, Rhythm and Blues,
and New Wave genres into his own music-making style. Prince
has written or co-written many songs for other artists, including
Stevie Nicks, Chaka Khan, Alicia Keys, and Patti LaBelle. He has
also received awards and accolades, on many fronts.
This concert showcases his talents as an artist and entertainer.
It truly does rock and “get funky.” Here, he has an awesome
backup band, including Sheila E. on percussion and Maceo Parker
on alto saxophone. Parker played with James Brown (1933-2006)
during the 1960’s and Parliament – Funkadelic in the 1970’s.
Prince gave him the spotlight when the band performed the James
Brown song, “Pass the Peas.” The band’s version of “Whole Lotta
Love,” also worked, in its own way.
One of the reasons that this band grooved so well was the bass
playing by Rhonda Smith. In recent years, she has played with
none other than Jeff Beck, and her rhythmic pulse was a primary
factor driving the music. Other featured musicians included tenor
saxophonist Eric Leeds, Renato Neto on keyboards, drummer
John Blackwell, and Greg Boyer on trombone.
The music itself was the aforementioned fusion of genres which
is typical of Prince, and the majority of the songs performed were
written by him. He often displayed his considerable guitar chops,
and played keyboards on one song. Prince usually sang in a
high falsetto voice, but wasn’t limited to that range. Although his
musicianship may be formidable, it does him no disservice to say
that his main concern here appeared to be entertaining the
audience, and putting on a good show.
The sound and video quality of this disc are less than ideal, yet
I believe that those who criticize these elements are “missing the
forest for the trees.” In my opinion, the actual performance is
what counts the most, and this DVD is enjoyable to watch.
Whenever I encounter a film or video performance which isn’t
“state of the art” from a technical standpoint, I make the necessary
mental adjustments, as I did here.
Based upon the Prince albums I’d heard, I was not a fan, and
additional research has revealed that the entire performance was
not included on this disc. However, I came away from watching this
DVD with a new-found respect for Prince and his great band.
I actually enjoyed this! Although it’s not the type of music that
usually attracts me, let’s face it: Good is good! This band is
definitely “all that and more.” I recommend this DVD, particularly
for Prince fans.