Label : “Eye” Records
Catalogue : #79-80-81-82
4Disc Length : 86:31 / 85:34 / 85:58 / 82:38
Source : Audience Recordings
Sound Quality : EX- / EX
Year Of Release : 2009
Fink's Comments (rates this release 4.75/5.0)
Subtitled “Sex In The Cities Vol. 4” this is one of a line of releases documenting Prince’s one night stands in various cities between the end of the Las Vegas residency and the start of the London residency. The 3121 perfume launch at Macy’s already exists on the Fearless release ‘Macy’s Afternoon Delight’, and this “Eye” Records version slightly hedges it in the quality stakes. For one, the “Eye” Records version is complete whereas the Fearless release was slightly incomplete and missing a portion of the opening ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’. The crowd are marginally audible throughout both recordings, however they are less noticeable on the “Eye” Records version – thus, for me, making it the better of the two. The recording isn’t without it’s minor issues though, and a little chatter, handclapping and sing-along during ‘3121’ is really my only point of note – other than that, I’m rather partial to the depth and power of this recording. Not a classic show by any means, and other than Sheila’s guest appearance throughout ‘A Love Bizarre’, ‘Get On The Boat’, ‘The Glamorous Life’ and the closing ‘Let’s Go Crazy’, this is standard fare for what would follow in the London residency of August/September 2007 (and beyond). Disc 1 ends with bonus material from two different shows held at Bunker’s Bar. The first contains a short and sweet medley performed by Dr. Mambo’s Combo from the July weekend of Prince’s perfume launch, and the second from February 2008 featuring St, Paul, Eric Leeds et al. Both are very respectable recordings with July 2007 being the better of the two. Both shows are an interesting take on some Prince classics, and even if covers aren’t your thing, they are worth checking out as they are surprisingly enjoyable (the vocal delivery on ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ is especially fabulous). The main bulk of Discs 2 and 3 feature the Target Center main concert of the 07/07/07 weekend which was previously circulating on the Fearless release ‘Hotter Than July’ or (in better quality) on the Free Boot Generation release ‘7-7-7‘.
When this “Eye” Records release was being promoted, the flyer stated “Target Center is now much more enjoyable….featuring much less audience noise thanks to an uncirculating source” – which is slightly misleading as this remains the exact same audience recording as Free Boot Generation’s ‘7-7-7‘ release other than a few seconds during ‘The One U Wanna C’ which has been replaced by a different source, however a few seconds out of 2 hours does not an “uncirculating source” make. That aside, the recording does appear to have benefited minimally from a little audio-work, but the difference really is minimal and anyone with the previous release shouldn’t worry about missing out on anything here. It’s a decent enough show with appearances by Wendy throughout, and Sheila towards the end to lift it from the mundane. The live premiere of ‘The One U Wanna C’ is nice, as is the piano medley which also features full-band backing on ‘Do Me, Baby’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ and ‘How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore’ – other than that, it could be from any of the London 2007 shows if it weren’t for the numerous “My hometown” comments. Disc 3 ends with the 2nd Annual “Prince Family Reunion” featuring (amongst others) Dez Dickerson, Michael Bland, Eric Leeds, Mike Scott and Matt Fink. The choices performed are interesting as they very rarely even get an airing by Prince himself, however the highlight is a too-cool-for-school live performance of ‘Modernaire’ by Dez himself. Unfortunately the recording barely scrapes by with a VG/VG+ rating, but for once, the content far outweighs the quality. In a similar vein to the Target Center recording, Disc 4’s First Avenue aftershow, for the most part, remains the same as on the ‘7-7-7‘ release. The intro to the opening ‘3121’ was missing, so “Eye” have used a different source recording for that and substituted the missing part (very well, I may add). A few very minor glitches to the recording have also been corrected, however once again the result isn’t exactly stunningly different, so if you already have the aftershow on the ‘7-7-7‘ release, and don’t mind missing the opening few seconds, then you needn’t hunt this down. The bonus material on Disc 4 consists of two soundboard tracks from the First Avenue aftershow made available via 3121.com, along with Prince’s appearance on the Tonight Show performing the still unreleased ‘Turn Me Loose’, and the broadcast on Los Angeles radio station KJLH of the studio version.
The release includes a hefty 22 page booklet documenting the Minneapolis trilogy of shows including pictures, 3121 spy reports and various other goodies related to the shows. Normally I wouldn’t rate a release like this very highly as the majority has been available on free releases for a long time, however having all the show together on one release, to me, is a major bonus. When all is said and done, from the new source recording of Macy’s, to the improvements over what was already available, to the interesting bonus material, to the purple majesty (!) of the packaging, this is a high quality product crammed onto 4 90 minute discs. Yes the shows may be a little stale, however the quality throughout is consistently excellent and it documents a very special weekend in Prince history.