Catalog # SAB 295-296-297
Release Year 2008
3CD Length 67:07 / 79:57 / 74:04
Date/Venue Warfield Theatre, San Francisco 11/11/88 (am) - Roseland Ballroom, NY 10/3/88 (am) - The Palace, LA : 7th November 11/7/88 (am)
Source Audience Recordings
Quality VG / EX-
Fink's Comments (rates this release 4.5/5.0)
This collection of Lovesexy aftershow material was released originally in September 2008, however Sabotage updated Disc 3 with a different, superior source recording in November 2008 - if you have the original poor quality Los Angeles aftershow on Disc 3, I'd suggest updating your release so you have the excellent new source recording.
The Oakland/San Francisco show featured on Disc 1 was recently released by 4DaFunk on both their 'Take The W Train' and 'Take The Other W Train' releases (2 different recordings of the same show), so the question of "is this better / do I need to bother if I have them" is a valid one - for me, I'd say yes. The channel switching during the opening few songs was left intact on the 4DaFunk release, however to Sabotage's credit they have attempted a (pretty decent) mastering and correction of the problem. It's not perfect, and one can still easily identify where they have tried to fix the problem (the opening 'Positivity' and 'I'll Take You There' for instance), but it's an attempt. Likewise, there were some pretty intense bass & feedback issues during the show, and whilst they are still audible here, they are much less severe than on the 4DaFunk release. The Oakland/San Francisco set-list is fairly typical of the other aftershows, in fact whilst it is a stellar performance, the set-list is rather basic in comparison to the shows featured on Disc 2 and Disc 3. 'Housequake' is perhaps a slight oddity for an aftershow and is performed in almost identical style to the main show performance. The show climaxes towards the end with a non-stop extravaganza from 'Lovesexy' onwards, moving seamlessly through the 'Eighties Medley' and ending with a jam on 'Chain Of Fools / It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night' before Prince brings the show to a close with the usual "Confusion" horn shout.
Disc 2 is something of a mixed bag, and has the highest of highs and the (I lie, but for poetic effect, bear with me here, bitches) lowest of lows...almost. The opening 50 minutes is superb for an audience recording from 1988 and rivals as one of the best aftershow recordings from the 1988 US leg with minimal audience intrusion, outwith a little chitter-chatter during the opening few numbers - no complaints from the opening up to 'Cold Sweat'. Alas 'Purple Rain' onwards descends into a hissy, gritty, wavering mess, sounding distant, thin and with distortion in places. I appreciate one can only work with the source recordings which exist, however this isn't great and sounds all the worse following on from the excellence of the opening 50 minutes. Saying all that, this is the first time the entire show has appeared on a pressed release, so there is one positive...of sorts. The show is a beauty with Patti LaBelle guesting on the opening 'Positivity' and 'Wade In The Water' before Prince takes the reins for the usual mellow 'The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker - Four'. One of the best live versions of 'Just My Imagination' follows, again including the repeated "Sitting in a cafe" lyric from 'Noon Rendezvous'. A bizarre performance of 'Jack U Off / Sister' is performed which is radically different from the main show versions - both being mostly instrumental and much looser and more of a groove. Boni takes the mic for the mid-section of the show before Prince again adds a slice of the main show with 'Purple Rain' and '1999'. The show ends with a lengthy frantic jam beginning with '80's' and ending with the audience on-stage and joining in with the band, this portion includes various shout-outs including a portion of 'Good Love' and the "The roof is on fire" chant. Such a shame about the quality of the closing 30 minutes though.
Disc 3 features the Los Angeles aftershow which was previously available on the fan release 'Reseda'. The original September 2008 Sabotage release of this set contained the above mentioned recording mixed in with part of a video-sourced recording, and the results were less than impressive, and in all honesty the quality of the recording really did not justify a pressed release. Within a week of Sabotage releasing this set, a newly discovered fan release appeared in much, much improved quality from a completely different source audience recording on 'Hollywood Lovesexy - The Aftershow', and now, in November 2008, Sabotage have replaced the poor quality recording on Disc 3 with this newly improved recording - so anyone who originally had the Sabotage set should track down the new replacement Disc 3. This isn't a straight-rip of the fan release thankfully, and it appears that a little work has gone into improving the new source recording. The audible screaming throughout the opening few tracks is greatly reduced and the recording appears to pack slightly more of a punch than the raw fan release - it's not perfect, but to me it's an improvement. Added to this, Sabotage have added in the opening 'Pink Cashmere' played over the PA, along with inserting a 30 second portion of 'Just My Imagination' which was missing from the fan release (they used an inferior source, but at least the show is now complete). It's a phenomenally good show, and one of the more interesting set-lists of any Lovesexy US aftershows. The opening 18 minutes is a master class of Prince at his best with the only downside being 'Positivity' is very short in comparison to any of the other performances. The closing 20 minute funk-workout is sheer brilliance, and whilst I've covered it in great length in other reviews of the show, once again I'll say the man is on fire for the closing two songs.
Accompanying the discs is a rather nice 14 page booklet with
rather detailed information by Sabotage on the choices they made for inclusion
in the release, and the mastering process the recordings went through to end up
on the release. It also reviews the song choices played at the aftershows, along
with a quick re-cap of Sabotage's back catalogue containing Lovesexy material.
The booklet also contains a fair amount of pictures from the era and is nicely
presented. The original September 2008 release was a hit-or-miss affair simply
due to the poor quality of the recording on Disc 3....however now that has been
replaced with a superior recording, any complaints I have are minimal in the
extreme and overall this is an excellent collection of Lovesexy US aftershow
material. The shows are interesting, enjoyable and at times majestic, and whilst
Disc 2 descends into audio chaos, one can still find redeeming features due to
the show content.