After opening his Welcome 2 Australia Tour at Sydney's Allphones Arena May 11, 2012, Prince was back the next night with a show filled with enough changes to the setlist to keep things from getting too repetitive. Once again, FT Records brings us the recording of this show on "Welcome 2 Sydney: Night 2". As was the case with the first show, the audience recording here is wonderful. Clear vocals, nicely mixed and another solid B+ recording.
The opening of this show is drastically different from the first night. Things kick off with "D.M.S.R.", one of my favorite purple funk jams, but I simply despise the butchering Prince has done to the lyrics of this song. His no cursing policy to please the Jehovah's Witnesses is one thing, but the lyrical changes here are nonsensical and asinine. You can't say 'screw the masses'? "Wear lingerie 2 a restaurant' is a problem but changing it to "get busy in the middle of a restaurant" which is easy to take as people fucking on the floor at Applebees is cool? 'Strip right down 2 your underwear' becomes 'shake that body 2 the early light, c'mon now if U dare', I mean this is fucking ridiculous. Yes, if Prince won't swear I will because that is what it is. I'd prefer he NOT play this song anymore, the lyrical crimes bother me so much.
"This is not a Lionel Richie concert! You're in this too!" Prince announces as the band starts "Pop Life". Once again, his banter from the stage alone makes it worth checking out these shows. He is very talkative on this tour and a lot of it is damn funny. Prince is starting to sound even kookier than normal if you can believe it. "Musicology" is turned into an extended jam that incorporates the unreleased "Prince And The Band" before the run of songs not played on the first night continues with a near seven minute version of the guitar heavy "Shhh". Prince then addresses the crowd by expressing how much he loves their country then says, "I have the most beautiful view... of my bathroom mirror. I'm kidding...sort of."
Prince and The NPG then run through a number of his hits with "Take Me With U", "Raspberry Beret" and "Cream" all bunched together. Of note, they incorporate the chant from AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" into "Take Me With U", showing some love for the rock legends from Australia. One of my favorite parts of the show follows with another long jam on The Time's "Cool" mixed with some of Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough". During the call and response part at the end of "Cool" Prince cracks on his backing singers, asking Shelby J. "Shelby, are ya hot? Do you know why? Cuz you ain't got no hair!" before turning his attention to Elisa Dease with "Elisa, are ya hot girl? Do you know why? Cuz you got somebody else's hair on." The old school funk-fest continues with "Let's Work" which Prince precedes by saying, "It's Saturday night. We're not gonna leave the 80's. Prince, you ain't funky no more. I don't have to be cuz I was funky then. If it was good then it's still good."
Disc One closes with a rather messy "U Got The Look" before the mash-up of "The Question Of U" and "The One" that was often played on the Musicology Tour. This is a jazzier, piano heavy version and is lacking the emotion and fire he played it with in the past. The same can be said for the next song, the incredible funk monster that is "Days Of Wild". Of course all the cursing is gone, and this song suffers more than most because of it. It represents a certain time in Prince's career, an angry time and it is just stripped of its raw energy playing it this way. Again, a nice addition to the setlist but the true Days Of Wild are long gone with Prince.
The second half of the show and Disc Two opens with a piano medley. The highlight here is a full performance of "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore" where the 'old Prince' makes an appearance, saying towards the end, "So what I got baptized. I still like, I still like a fire between your thighs." I doubt Larry Graham would approve. After "Nothing Compares 2 U" and "Controversy", another long version of "Purple Rain" has the crowd singing along, this time topping 15 minutes in length.
Prince is in full on brag mode at this point. "Didn't your parents warn you about me? I got too many hits. We could be here till tomorrow. Didn't they warn you about me? Too. Many. Hits." In typical Prince fashion, his threat to play all night means the concert is about to come to an end, all Prince-heads should know this by now. A funky version of "Kiss" gives way to the Sampler Set and this truly is just a sampler, as nothing is played very long. Of note are brief instrumental portions of "Pheromone" and "Shockadelica". The show then ends with that short, awful medley of "Let's Go Crazy" and "Delirious" that I griped about on the Night One review. So that was about twenty more minutes of show, mostly just the Sampler Set, after vowing they could be there 'till tomorrow', all part of the hilarity of being a diehard fan.
Although the first show of the tour is the better of the two, I still enjoyed the second night. Prince's comments from the stage are priceless, if a little 'out there', and there were plenty of changes to the setlist. The opening of this show is head and shoulders better than the mess of night one. It's always my preference to listen to concert recordings chronologically, especially on smaller tours like this, to hear the progression and changes on a nightly basis. Hopefully the recordings from the rest of this tour match the sound quality of the first two nights in Sydney.