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Critics split in reviews of Prince at Myth

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One local music lauded Prince and the other was clearly disappointed by The Purple One's much ballyhooed appearances at the Myth Live Event Center Saturday night in Maplewood.

Jon Bream of the Star Tribune was in Prince's court, writing that "the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer delivered two of his most rocking shows ever in his hometown"; while Russ Raihala of the Pioneer Press -- writing only about the first of Prince's two shows -- says "every song was begging for at least a little more grit, a little more sex and a little more passion."

The shows follow Prince's sold-out open rehearsals at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis and subsequent tour of small West Coast venues. The Myth is larger than all the venues with a capacity of 3,200, and reported sluggish ticket sales at $259 each (he charged around the same price for the small-venue gigs) led to a last-minute reduction in ticket prices for different tiers in the venue.

Bream says a much different Prince, in the musical sense, played the Myth, delivering a more rocking sound than the funk and pop that launched his career.

"This was Prince, who turns 55 next week, in a Purple haze, playing heavy rock, sort of a reimagination of his youth listening to KQRS, with shades of Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles and even the James Gang," Bream wrote.

Bream noted how Prince even played a cover of Pearl Jam instrumental "Even Flow," which Raihala called "a true head-scratching moment in an evening full of them."

Raihala did find some positive notes in the show, however. He wrote how it was touching to see Prince's former drummer, Bobby Z, sit in "Purple Rain," and noted how Prince's new band, 3rd Eye Girl, shows "tremendous promise" and "seem to be getting tighter with every performance."

On the flip side, Raihala noted, Prince kept his new band on "such a tight leash, the show often had the polite, professional feel of a Sunday afternoon jam session led by bored Guitar Center employees."

As for the musical performance of the artist himself, Bream wrote, "Prince was a monster on guitar, showing more range and depth, though less soulfulness and subtlety."

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