This week in music: Prince to hold court at Myth

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Four months and 34 concert performances with his new band after his open rehearsals at the Dakota Jazz Club in January, Minnesota music legend Prince is returning home Saturday for two shows in one night at the Myth Live Event Center in Maplewood.

The Purple One just wrapped his West Coast Tour in Denver Monday with his all-female group 3rdEyeGirl, in a small venue tour with fixed 90-minute sets that was met by mixed reviews from critics.

The show has been reported by several outlets as a mixture of his classic songs, along with new material and the occasional cover tunes.

Reviewing his opening night gig at the Vogue Theater in Vancouver, Vancouver Sun critic slammed the admission price of $275 -- a sentiment echoed in other reviews as well (Prince is asking $259 apiece for the Myth shows).

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

Prince fared better with Seattle Times critic Gene Stout, who called the legendary Minneapolis native's show at Seattle's Shadow Box Theatre 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."

The San Diego Reader's review of Prince's show at the Hard Rock Cafe, however, implied the musician was restrained in a smaller venue.

"Prince seemed impaired not only by the room’s small stage, but also a 90-minute time limit that accommodated a second set later in the evening," Mark Carpowich wrote.

As part of a whirlwind trip last Monday that included an interview with the artist, Amy Nelson of the Pioneer Press reviewed the second show at the Ogden Theater in Denver, saying “the Purple Yoda was in high spirits and total control” as he led his band mates "through a light-show spectacular."

Complimenting 3rdEyeGirl, Nelson said the show show "was a remarkable burgeoning of the band that first played together in sparse candlelight during Prince’s six-gig home stand at the Dakota in January."

Also this week, for the first time since their lockout ended, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will play the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul this Saturday and Sunday.

The SPCO officially got back to work May 9 with a concert at the Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Apple Valley. And while the SPCO received a standing ovation and threw "themselves passionately into a program of Mozart, Robert Schumann and Arnold Schoenberg," Pioneer Press reviewer Rob Hubbard remarked the audience seemed "conflicted."

"One could speculate that the paying patrons didn't want management to assume that all was forgiven after locking them out for almost an entire season," Hubbard wrote.

The SPCO has since played five more dates, and the concerts at the Ordway Friday and Saturday will feature a program including Mendelssohn, Debussy and a new composition by guest conductor Matthias Pintscher.

Also this week, rock legend Todd Rundgren gives a retrospective of his career and his greatest hits with a concert at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis Monday night.

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