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Prince Closes SXSW With Big Band Ode to the ’80s

Prince, backed by a 21-piece band, closed SXSW Saturday night in Austin with a bang, rolling through a series of songs that took the audience back to the 1980s, when he was at the top of his game.

He blazed songs like “1999,” which came out in 1982 and “Purple Rain” from the 1984 album of the same name.  Prince also rocked “Housequake,” as well as a number of covers, including Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” and Curtis Mayfield’s “We’re A Winner.”

There were also five costume changes, switching from a smart blue suit, complete with diamante cane, and ending with a leather vest and a stuffed animal hat, the same eccentric attire as his nine-piece brass section.

Much of the set, which lasted almost three hours, felt like the 1980s, with “U Got The Look,” “‘Cool,” “Jungle Love,” and “The Bird” – all played at the Samsung-sponsored event.

The Purple One was in chatty mood, too, telling the 1300-strong crowd at La Zona Rosa: “I love being a musician. I feel like a servant. . . a servant to you.”

He asked one fan to turn stop filming. “Turn off your phone, baby,” he said. Perhaps she wasn’t using a phone made by the sponsor?

“Goodnight, Austin. Don’t make me hurt you. Do you know how many hits I have?” he added before leaving the stage for the first time. He and his band the New Power Generation eventually played six encores, lasting longer than the main body of the set.

Rapper Talib Kweli was in attendance, as well as “The Wire” actors Michael K. Williams and Snoop, as were Paloma Faith and The Roots’ Questlove.

Read more: NME

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