On Saturday, Prince made some sort of history by playing three shows at three venues in one night, stopping by each of the spots inside the L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles to deliver a set inspired by one of his new albums: rock (Lotus Flow3r, Nokia Live, 7 p.m.); funk (MPLsound, Conga Room, 9:30); and loungey jazz (Bria Valente’s Elixer, Club Nokia, midnight). [Read EW's snap judgment of all three!] The Music Mix was there for (almost) all of it, and is proud to now bring you the minutes of this massive town meeting, sponsored by Target, LotusFlow3r.com, and the gods of perseverance.
6:48 p.m. Your correspondent and L.A. Times music critic Ann Powers are outside the Nokia, in long line to get past the metal detectors. Many of the women outside are dressed like strippers, or very enthusiastic Vegas vacationers. Or maybe that’s just how they dress. Your correspondent is wearing cowboy boots and feels they demonstrate she made an effort.
7:02 Finally inside Nokia. Venue resembles a movie theater designed by people who also design cell phones, complete with ushers hawking popcorn. It’s not quite full. But how late can Prince start without running the whole night behind schedule?
7:11 Prince’s Target ad runs on the jumbotrons, without sound. Instead, the DJ is pumping "Ladies’ Night."
7:16 DJ plays "Glamorous Life." People cheer. Target ad plays again.
7:19 Pre-show mix sounds disturbingly familiar to the pre-show mix played at the Prince Oscar party, which started three hours late. Your correspondent begins to get nervous. Jumbotron ad keeps touting tonight’s "3 full shows!"
7:22 Target ad runs again. Am now pondering deeper themes of ad. Prince is on a rock in a pool… There is a woman… His guitar fretboard whizzes past her face and buries itself in the Target logo…
7:33 Magic Johnson enters venue, receives applause
7:36 House lights go out, jumbotron begins playing the Blade Runner/Matrix-inspired video for "Chocolate Box." Everything is very hi-def in Prince world nowadays, it seems.
7:41 Video ends with a "to be continued." The "Purple Rain" chords tease as the curtain opens to reveal the band in front of a giant Lotusflow3r billboard. Prince enters, wearing a zebra-striped tunic, as the band plays the first of many funky jams. There are jellyfish hanging from the ceiling that look a bit like 99-cent store piñatas. "Everything you think is true," says Prince. "Instead of hate, celebrate," says Prince. He asks everyone to clap.
7:44 "What’s my name?" asks Prince. Then he whips off his sunglasses. The ladies go wild.
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