Let’s Go Crazy: 1984 Tour Rehearsals (Idle Mind Productions IMP CD 001)
(51:54): Lets Go Crazy / Delirious / 1999 / Little Red Corvette / Free – Father’s Song / God – America The Beautiful / Computer Blue / When Doves Cry
From the advent of CD bootlegging comes this tasty little piece. Nearly an hour of rehearsals from the seemingly never ending rehearsals that Prince performed before his shows in 1984 ( ‘Soundchecks’ I suppose they’re called nowadays but we have to remember that Prince’s shows aren’t just of the roll up, perform, get off & get laid standard .. ) all in soundboard quality ( abet with a little tape chew at some points in the proceedings but it’s not that serious that you’d notice. ) Maybe just a touch too much bass in the recording but this is something that can be tempered with adjustment.
These were apparently recorded during warm ups for the Detroit show on the 5th November 1984 but this is pure conjecture as someone seems to hear Detroit’s name mentioned somewhere within the recording. The cover doesn’t give anything away of note just like the first bootlegs but as buyers became more savvy or flooded with information the deal was on for the tapers or labels to supply such information on their sleeves. The label even seems to have begun it’s stature in Europe before later releases were released from Japan – Nothing new in bootleg circles as the TMOQ label was far further reaching than it’s initial owners but still a surprise to me.
The rehearsals begin, as all the shows did, with Prince announcing the arrival of the band over the wobbly organ sound that proceeds ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ before the drum machine stomps in. Over this, instead of the genuine “A world of never ending happiness .. ” lyrics Price improvises lyrics about “Your Mom” with references to her “Big legs, long hair & greasy lips”. Once the song begins proper, it’s power is immense. Twinned with that boxer built drum thud, the needling organ sound, an crazed guitar solo drops right in the middle to brilliant effect.
The crescendo folds in to a cheesy ‘that’s-all-folks’ lowering hush & then pounces straight back in to “Delirious”, the second portion of the long medley. The queasy, balloon squeak of the organ punctuating the intro. It’s interesting to hear Prince giving out the orders to the audience like they are there, shouting “Clap your hands” when the intro moves towards the main body of the song. The woozy, ‘Aladdin Sane’, styled organ solo towards the middle of the track is thrilling & makes one wonder if the piano player knew quite where he was going with it all. The coda is the main point of work though as the band jam it out over a few minutes while Prince ad-libs his whoops & howls.
Once again we drop straight in to “1999”, the party call for the end of the century. While this is obviously an enthusiastic, bright rendition it sounds just like it should until the end when it carries on through an funky, extended coda while instruments drop out here & there to showcase the rest of the players. This eventually stops then restarts in a reconstruction of itself featuring a countdown styled organ rhythm & a manic guitar riff that shreds through everything else.
The next track to follow is a slightly less frenzied “Little Red Corvette”. One of the most standard versions of the night. The track plays for around 2 and a half minutes & then stops dead on a drum beat.
After a 5 second break the source resumes to chatter from Prince who’s heard claiming to one of his band “Even if we get you to play basketball with us, you’re going to get a work out somehow” possibly a comment on how he doesn’t think he’s getting his moneys worth from his players – a theme we’ll return to later – This section features a much more languid side of the set as Prince is sat at the piano working through a few of the slower songs in the set.
“Free – Fathers Song” is essentially a short work out of the tracks while the chords are worked out & the words are fine tuned.
A little more interesting is “God – America The Beautiful” – a lengthy ( 16 minutes ) fly-on-the-wall work out of the track, that begins with a through work out of the opening instrumentation before the words sweep in & out at random. The crescendo part of the track takes up most of the work climaxing with Prince shouting at one of his crew for not giving it his full attention ( “Well, if you put the motherf*cking magazine down and play your part!” ). The song continues by mixing in the “America The Beautiful” in a Ray Charles style while Prince continues to make snide comments about the crew member who was caught out reading.
The track fades in to a thunder effect that blends straight in to “Computer Blue”. As it shares a back beat with “When Doves Cry” that begins the medley – Prince begins the track by a voicing a quiet thought to himself before mechanical noise skips in. Screaming out, the song begins it’s tumult, the choppy, mechanized riffing setting the pace as a furious guitar zips up & about.
“As Doves Cry” finishes this portion of the rehearsals & it’s the perfect song to round out on, one of Prince’s biggest tracks & it is extended out to an sizable time ( Over 9 minutes. ) The fact is that it is just a run through version but with a song as strong as this then nothing much really needs changing. The expected extra vocalizing is there & some wonderful vamping towards the end before Prince’s final farewell to the crowd ( See, he even rehearsed THAT! ) & the neo classical coda that collapses in to several false endings.
The packaging is ultimately what was to be expected from a fledgling company in the advent of the CD – A simple 4 page book primarily in purple & black with a b&w stage shot of Prince on the front, a press shot adorning the middle & the track list, replicated from the tray liner in the back – but the label would become quite prolific through the following years especially in the field of Rolling Stones recordings.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)