Naked prince. Or almost. Stripped of these instruments which he knew how to play since the age of 15. no band Without his inseparable guitar. For the first time in his long career, the Minneapolis genius has decided to challenge himself.. He wanted to show himself as such to his public, enveloped only by a microphone and a purple piano specially designed and manufactured for him. As if he felt the end was near. ‘Piano & a Microphone Tour’ was ‘Prince’s last tour. Twenty gigs. The last, at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. April 14, 2016.

“A challenge for myself”

For much of his career, Prince Rogers Nelson accompanied groups like Revolution or New Power Generation. His latest, 3rdeyegirl, was an American funk rock trio that had been supporting him since 2014. For some reason, 40 years after the start of his musical career, he wanted to show himself naked. In an interview for The Guardian in December 2015, he announced that this will be his last tour: Piano & a Microphone Tour.

“I do that As a challenge for myself, I won’t know what songs I will do when I go on stage. I won’t have to, ’cause I won’t have a group”. abandoned her inseparable guitar and replaced him for a piano. “The rhythm, the keys, all those things can determine what the next song I’m going to play is. As opposed to ‘Oh, I have to do my hit single, I have to play this album all the time. ‘ There’s too material and it’s hard to choose. It’s hard. So that’s what I would like to do.

A purple grand piano

Prince always knew what he wanted. And for the intimate meeting with his fans, I wanted a special piano. At the beginning of 2016, he began discussions with Yamaha and ordered a custom purple grand piano – Yamaha C7Z – that would be the central element of his last concerts. A “top-secret” order.

“Prince was very mysterious and quite reserved,” the Yamaha Entertainment Group founder told Etonline. “They called us and said he wanted a very specific piano.” He was on top of every detail, even the color of the seat that came with the instrument. the end product – a magnificent grand piano with gold trim – arrived in Paisley Park just in time. Prince loved his new toy.

20 concerts in eight cities

After a few warm-up shows in Paisley Park, On February 16, 2016, the ‘Piano y Un Micrófono’ tour began in Melbourne, Australia. It was extremely small. Barely twenty concerts in eight cities. It is true that he was planning to perform in France and the United Kingdom. But the shows were canceled, among other things, due to the Islamist attack in Paris on November 13, 2015. In addition to stopping in six cities in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he booked two American stages . One in Oakland (California) and one in Atlanta (Georgia).

Prince’s piano on display in front of the stage at Paisley Park, Prince’s home and studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota on June 30, 2021. / KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images

The one in Atlanta, on April 14, 2016, was the last. As in most of the course, he did a double session. Two concerts: one at 7 p.m. and another at 10 p.m. The more than 9,000 people who filled the capacity of the Fox Theater ((some had paid as much as $1,000), were exceptional witnesses to the incomparable strength of their idol. … and his unexpected goodbye.

“Sometimes I forget how exciting these songs are”

Prince took to the stage at the former Moorish-designed cinema, a week later than planned. Affected by a strong flu, the shows of April 7 had been postponed. He had apparently made a full recovery. Other than using a cane, which he had been doing occasionally for several years, he showed no signs of failing health. Her voice was louder than ever and, as always, she showed youthful enthusiasm.

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Prince (1958-2016) performs onstage during the 1984 Purple Rain Tour on November 4, 1984 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. / Ross Marino/Getty

The second session was longer. He made up to three encores after saying goodbye. And each time he reappeared, the noise from the audience was deafening. The artist fed on this energy that came to him from these thousands of followers who applauded, shouted and chanted his songs. Girl, I would die 4 U, Nothing compares to 2 U. Her version of David Bowie’s Heroes caused a stunned silence. He played and sang whatever he wanted. And, at one point in the recital, he said: “Sometimes I forget how exciting these songs are.”

And the lights went out…

A naked prince, alone, seated at the purple piano, with the spotlight on him, rocking back and forth on the purple seat. Their last performance of the evening was a mix of three legendary songs – The beautiful ones, Diamonds & pearls and Purple rain – reduced to several layers of instruments.

And then, to a flurry of piano notes and thunderous applause, Prince bowed, thanked the audience, and left. The lights went out. And just a week later, on April 21, 2016, Prince’s life also died.

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