Catalog # SAB 318/319/320/321/322/323
Release Year 2005
6CD Length 79:11 / 78:42 / 79:16 / 79:55 / 77:56 / 76:38
Date/Venue Paisley Park : 17th,18th,19th June 2004 and Excel Energy Center, St. Paul : 16th,17th,18th June 2004
Source Audience Recordings
Dean's Comments (rates this release 4.5/5.0)
This is probably one of Sabotage's better releases of 2005, and the quality of the Paisley Park shows on here are certainly an improvement over the previous Ladybird release. The exact same source recordings have been used for both Ladybird's 'Musicology Celebration Vol. I, II & III' and this Sabotage release, however Sabotage have evidently spent a little more time and effort into making the recordings sound their best, whereas the Ladybird releases appeared within a 3 months of the actual shows taking place and are slightly rough around the edges (although still of EX quality).
The sheer amount of material on here is rather staggering, and it would be nearly impossible for me to comment on each and everything (the joy of 6cd sets), however all the shows featured have various highlights and there are some inspired performances throughout. One of the most interesting aspects of the shows is how much freedom Prince gives to the various band members, and at times they are more audible than Prince himself. Chance Howard and the members of the N.P.G. are to the fore on nearly every performance. When Prince does perform though, there are are excellent (and rather unique) versions of 'Beautiful Strange, Joy In Repetition, Something In The Water and Purple Rain', not to mention some rarities including the all too brief 'Illusion, Coma, Pimp & Circumstance'.
Discs 1 to 5 are made up of various "aftershow" performances from Paisley Park, whilst Disc 6 features the 3 acoustic sets from the 3 St. Paul Musicology shows. Again the quality is much improved over the Ladybird release, however the disc is a slight let-down and repetitive. The packaging is rather unimpressive and bland. The text in the booklet is hard to read (white text on silver background is not a good combination), and I'm not 100% certain Sabotage have their dates, etc correct. Packaging aside, and concentrating on the content of the discs, this is an excellent release. Aftershows on the Musicology tour were rather thin on the ground (and certainly almost non-existent in terms of circulating), so these Paisley Park shows make nice substitutes. One last small note is that the clear plastic box this comes in has fallen to pieces within a few days of me having it. If you are going to package 6 discs in one box - at least use something a bit more sturdy :-(