Review: Prince holds ‘funk-k-k-a-y-y’ sway at Hard Rock

That rare ability to master the art of onomatopoeia is as essential to any true soul man’s arsenal as the candy-coated tongue that enables him to sweet talk your girl out of her clothes and into his bed.

Take it from Prince, a man gifted at making his words sound exactly like what it is they are attempting to convey.

This is key, because the primal impulses — the libidinal urges that he frequently sings of — elude simple description in the same way that it’s nearly impossible to characterize the scent of a rose, for instance.

And so he has to find alternate ways to get his point across.

This skill set, among many others, was on full display at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel on Friday.

“I got a question: Do you like rock and roll?” Prince asked during the first of his two shows of the night. “I do too, but I like mine funky.”

Only he didn’t pronounce it as “funky,” but rather “funk-k-k-a-y-y,” doubling down on its syllables and savoring each one like verbal bonbons.

It became less a word than an expulsion of energy, a guttural release, and in this way, was perfectly representative of the songs that followed.

Like his diction, Prince’s tunes are malleable and fluid, every bit as dimensionless as the night sky outside the concert hall.

A number of his songs revolve around seduction, and his playing follows suit: he takes his time with them, enjoying the moment, running his hands over every contour.

The show opened with “Let’s Go Crazy,” but it didn’t much resemble its original recorded version. Played at half-speed, the band lingered in the groove, digging in, until it was a thing of cast-iron heaviness, concussive as a head-on collision. They even threw in the bass solo from Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein.”

Similarly, the pop bounce of “U Got The Look” was eschewed for heightened rhythmic torque that manifested itself in bass lines that growled like a hungry belly, while the normally brisk and buoyant “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” became a bluesy slow burn that simmered and hissed like it was being griddled.

Prince did play cinematic ballad “Purple Rain” kind of straight, in a roundabout way, before detouring into the falsetto ecstasy of “Adore” and then returning to finish the song.

“Contrary to rumor, it’s new for me every time,” he said upon introducing the song, and judging by the way he played with the tune’s boundaries, it wasn’t an empty sentiment.

Prince wasn’t alone in powering his repertoire in myriad new directions.

On this tour, he is being joined by 3rd Eye Girl, a female power trio that he assembled, in part, by seeing each of them perform individually on YouTube.

Prince didn’t treat them like a backing band, however, and they certainly didn’t act like one.

“We are 3rd Eye Girl, and my name is Prince,” he announced early in the show, as if he was just another member of the group and not the evening’s star attraction.

Guitarist Donna Grantis, zip-locked into a leather body suit, ably traded solos with one of the world’s greatest soloists, commandeering songs like “Endorphinmachine” and “Screwdriver,” busting out Pete Townsend-worthy stage moves and playing with just as much aplomb.

Bassist Ida Nielsen downright dominated the aptly titled “Let’s Work” and the hair-on-fire funk of “Bambi,” locking in with drummer Hannah Ford in rhythms so airtight, you could practically hear them gasp for oxygen.

On surging rockers like “FixUrLife Up” and the instrumental “Plectrum Electrum,” their combined momentum was suggestive of a boulder roaring down a mountainside.

“I’m in a daze, but that’s the way it’s gotta be,” Prince sang during “I Like It There,” giving voice to the prevailing sentiment of the evening, which culminated with him inviting members of the audience onstage for an impromptu dance party soundtracked by a medley of hits and boogie down productions ranging from “When Doves Cry” to “Housequake” to “I Would Die 4 U.”

“It’s funky up here, y’all,” Prince beamed from beyond a keyboard, barely visible amongst a jungle of gyrating limbs.

And by “funky,” he meant “funk-k-k-a-y-y.”

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476.

Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas art exhibit
Artists from Cirque du Soleil contribute art to Las Vegas gallery exhibit
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with blooming jasmine tea
Red Plate on the Las Vegas Strip serves a cocktail made with jasmine tea
Benny the Ice Skating Dog
Benny is a Las Vegas Labrador who was rescued by former pro skater Cheryl Del Sanyo, and trained to ice skate. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like