Catalog # 044/45/46
Release Year 1995
3CD Length 45:42 | 48:06 | 78:51
Date/Venue Paisley Park October 23 and November 11, 1995
Source Audience Recordings
Quality VG+ / EX-
Deane's Comments (rates this release 4.0/5.0)
Another great release for Moonraker. Great package and booklet and a wonderful show. Starfish and Coffee is mistitled as The Ballad of Dorothy Parker on the sleeve, but the bonus of the 1987 rehearsal makes up for it and it is not listed on the sleeve.
Mike's Comments (rates this release 4.0/5.0)
The October show here is one of the best from the series of Paisley Park concerts played sporadically throughout the latter half of 1995. He begins the show by laughing and joking before launching into 'Glam Slam boogie', and his good mood ensures a great show. There are many highlights, including an unhurried '18 & over', an excellent 'P. control', plus some fine jamming during the last 3 songs. The November concert has some great moments too (most notably a rousing 'Hide the bone' opener and a nice rendition of 'I hate U') but too often seems to drift. The overall impression is that Prince's heart wasn't in it - maybe he'd just seen early sales figures for The Gold Experience!.
Fink's Comments (rates this release 4.25/5.0)
Discs 1 and 2 contains a Paisley Park show from 23rd October 1995, and whilst one look at the set-list may indicate that this is a great show, the performance really isn't on a par with most others from the same era. There are a number of technical problems throughout and constant shouts for various levels to be turned up - not really creating the best atmosphere, The show starts off rather typically with a long instrumental groove on 'Glam Slam Boogie' before a brief snippet of 'The Ride'. Sonny T is up next for vocals on 'Count The Days' before a very lengthy version of '18 & Over' which includes a number of crowd chants (the obligatory "18 & Over, I wants to bone ya"). Immediately after 'Hide The Bone' the show takes a rather strange downward spiral, and I have to say the remainder of Disc 1 is really uninteresting. The band launch in to various tracks only to stop during the first verse, or as Prince himself declares as he stops mid-way through the beginning of 'Zannalee', "I ain't in a rock and roll mood". The second half of the show is far superior and begins with a full length version of 'Pussy Control' followed by 'Letitgo' and the revised 'Starfish & Coffee'. 'Days Of Wild' is unfortunately incomplete, yet even with a large portion of the opening of the performance missing it still clocks in at a lengthy 14 minutes and includes an appearance from Jellybean. 'Girls & Boys' is played on the Goldaxxe as in intro to an instrumental version of 'Race' which is followed by 'Johnny' (which is missing from the tracklisting on the accompanying booklet and artwork) again is mostly instrumental and features Jellybean on stage. The sound quality throughout the 23rd October recording is of very high quality, however as with most audience recordings from the time the audience can be a little distracting at times. They are not detrimental to the show, but are certainly audible throughout. Bizarrely Disc 2 closes with 'The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker' from the Sign O' The Times tour rehearsal at Paisley Park on 21st February 1987. Again (as with track #6) this is not listed anywhere on the accompanying artwork or sleeve. Disc 3 contains a show from Paisley held on Mayte's birthday and there are various references to her throughout with the crowd singing her "Happy Birthday" at least three times. The show is extremely good, and I'd say better than the show which spans Disc 1 & 2.
Prince is in a great mood and there is some phenomenal guitar work. The version of 'Papa' listed here can't really be classed as such as it is purely instrumental and bears very little similarity to the actual track. 'Zannalee' is a straightforward performance of the song with some of the best guitar work from the entire show and leads in to an equally great 'The Cross'. 'Gold' is listed as being performed, however it is merely the NPG Operator voice which leads in to the track, "Welcome 2 the dawn, you have just accessed the Gold Experience. Press Gold to begin." the track itself is not played. Similarly 'Glam Slam Boogie' is listed, however it is merely used as an instrumental outro to the show and lasts barely 1 minute. The sound quality of the 3rd Disc, whilst being excellent is not without it's problems. There is a fair amount of distortion on Prince's mic during 'Zannalee' and the bass is very overpowering on a few numbers. The volume has a slightly annoying tendency to fluctuate during the mid-section of the show - most obviously during 'Love...Thy Will Be Done'. That said, these are minor complaints due to the overall excellence of the recording and the quality of the actual show.
Whilst this is not the best volume of The Park series, it is of very high quality and contains 2 extremely enjoyable shows. The packaging is (as with the other volumes) stunning and certainly one of Moonraker's best efforts. There are a few tracks not listed on the packaging, but again it's a minor complaint considering the quality.