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Prince dividing critics on West Coast tour

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Apparently Prince isn't always creating the same sort of buzz on the West Coast that he established earlier this year with a set of hometown rehearsals and an electrifying performance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

The reviews for the Purple One have been mixed on his West Coast tour, which has been taking the Minneapolis native and his new band 3rd Eye Girl to smaller venues. In most of the cities on the tour, Prince is playing four shows over two days.

Prince kicked off the tour in Vancouver last week at the Vogue Theater, where the critic for the Vancouver Sun slammed the admission price of $275 for a fixed, two-hour set, which featured a mix of classic tunes like "Let's Go Crazy" and his new material.

"For the asking price, whether the artist’s name was Prince or not, it wasn’t nearly enough," Francois Marchand wrote. In summary, Marchand, called the show "an uneven, overpriced jam session."

While Marchand didn't question the Minnesota music legends creative decisions, he added that fans "could be excused for being close to losing your cool as Prince wasted a good five minutes playing a schmaltzy electricity-laden piano-rock instrumental that sounded like a cheesy movie soundtrack, complete with blossoming flowers on screen."

Prince fared a bit better with the critic for the Seattle Times where played Showbox at the Market for his next set of shows.

Critic Gene Stout called the show (priced at $250 per ticket) an "intense, 90-minute performance that reveled in ’80s excess," and wrote that "eye-popping lighting effects and videos made the room feel like a mini arena."

Stout noted the crowd was definitely into the show, too, as the "bounced and bobbed, thrusting arms in the air and singing along as they celebrated one of rock’s most flamboyant stars."

Perhaps most impressed with Prince so far was Jim Harrington, a Bay Area News Group critic whose review of Prince's first San Francisco gig this week is featured in the Pioneer Press.

Noting the downside of seeing Prince in the 800-seat DNA Lounge -- "Sightlines were poor, especially from the back of the venue" -- Harrington rebounded by saying the inconveniences "were greatly outweighed by the fact that we were in such proximity to greatness ... and Prince was certainly great during this roughly two-hour set."

Unlike the previous shows, Prince apparently wasn't quite as game to end his concerts so early.

"He kept threatening that he was leaving the stage, only to stick around and play more numbers," Harrington wrote.

Prince will next play Las Vegas Friday and Saturday, and then he's off to Phoenix, San Diego and Anaheim, Calif., before wrapping up the tour May 12-13 in Denver.

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