Támar, budding R&B star, came backed by a marvellous funk band – led by a particularly amazing guitarist/bandleader. Prince. For those amongst the sell-out crowd of 2,500 hoping for some solo stuff from the legend himself, they left a bit disappointed.
Támar is Prince’s protg. He wrote and produced her upcoming record Beautiful, Loved, & Blessed; 47-year-old Prince’s 26th (!) album, 3121, is due in a couple of weeks.
This impromptu “Támar featuring Prince” mini-tour is her showcase. Along with Prince shredding the bejeezus out of his telecaster all night, Támar was backed by keyboards and drums, as well as by two twin dancer-singers (a nod to the Ike and Tina Turner Revue).
The young Támar held her own on stage with one of the great performers of popular music. Listening to these new songs for the first time reminded that not only is Prince one of the few songwriters and performers that can conquer funk, soul, rock and R&B with consummate ease, he can even draw from all these in a single song. No one else sounds like him.
Támar certainly displayed talent and versatility. Covers included Michael Jackson‘s Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough and Percy Sledge‘s When a Man Loves a Woman. I don’t know if I was necessarily sold on Támar as being quite dynamic or powerful enough to be The Next Great Thing on her own, but she’s certainly very good.
Prince seemed more than happy to step to the side, sometimes literally disappearing into the purple-lit smoke, although he did have plenty of solos. The only song from his solo catalogue was Partyman, from the Batman soundtrack. For this extended jam the band was joined by dozens of audience members onstage, and a member of Floetry provided a quick cameo.
And I really don’t get that. No, Prince certainly does not have to play Purple Rain or When Doves Cry every time he straps on a guitar in public, but had he encored with any of his many, many hits, he would have absolutely brought the house down. I am not sure how that could ever be a bad thing.
Instead, Prince reminded the crowd all night that this was Támar’s show (“A star is born!”), and repeatedly announced and re-announced her. She’s great, but in this role he wasn’t convincing – he could have been playing the triangle and still drawn most of the attention.
On the guitar, Prince is totally magnetic; he’s an amazing showman, but never flashy for the sake of being flashy. And he knows exactly how much to push it. Twice he ended beautiful solos by setting his guitar down very carefully, so that it would continue to emit sickly wails after he had laid it down. Slain. When he then very purposefully and confidently turned away, popped his collar up, and strutted off the stage, you knew exactly whose show it was. You knew whose world it was, for that matter.