Two days, two live Crystal Ball tracks with similar circuitous paths to release. “Days of Wild” appeared on a few random TV specials in the mid-1990’s before finally showing up in live form on the 1998 Crystal Ball album. For starters, where was I when all of these TV specials and random VHS tapes were being released? “Days of Wild” first appeared in a 1994 TV special called The Beautiful Experience that aired on Sky One in the United Kingdom. OK, so that’s why I missed that one.
Then “Days of Wild” was included in a 1996 VH1 special called Love 4 One Another. I don’t remember a Prince VH1 special in 1996. Kind of retroactively kicking myself 24 years later for missing that. Something tells me I could find all of this on the Internet now. I’ll have to look…
The live version you hear on Crystal Ball was recorded by O(+> and the New Power Generation in 1995 at Paisley Park. Prince continued to play “Days of Wild” as part of his live sets for the rest of his life. It makes a brief appearance in this 2013 set at Montreux. If you listen to the track you can hear why. It’s a mid-tempo funk banger with a lot of room for the band to solo. The song has some intriguing lyrics. Not that I care, but there’s a surprising number of MF bombs. As I type these posts at my computer my kids are typically only a few feet away in the living room playing with Lego or Animal Crossing. When I pressed play on “Days of Wild” tonight to absorb it a few times before writing, Prince yelled, “All you sorry motherfuckers up against the wall,” and I was like, “The kids probably didn’t hear that.” Then he said, “In a couple of simple fuckin’ phrases I’m gonna hip you to the fuckin’ place…” and the kids started giggling. Damn, Prince. I guess the swear jar wasn’t quite out at Paisley Park yet when he recorded this track. So many people think of Prince as this vulgar hedonist, but the vast majority of his music is either surprisingly tame or sneaky nasty stuff that goes over the kids’ heads. Remember, I was listening to “Little Red Corvette” when I was six years old. Had no idea what he was singing about.
In 2002 another live version of “Days of Wild” was recorded during his One Nite Alone… Tour and given out on CD to everyone at one of his shows. Not only do I think this is a superior version of the song, but Prince was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness at this point, so the cursing is gone. It’s funkier and kid friendly! A win-win.
Aside from the unusual amount of F bombing going on in the Crystal Ball version, Prince is on his high horse on this track. He’s wagging his finger at all the music about guns and weed. He’s saying he’s “got a tech-9 and it’s called my brain.” He’s saying that a woman “should be thanked. Not disrespect, not raped or spanked.” I couldn’t agree more, just don’t listen to any of his early music, I guess… The song has a positive but condescending message. He’s shitting on a lot of the music at that time, but in my opinion conveniently ignoring the wild shit he did when he was making a name for himself.
Hypocritical lyrics or not, the song bangs. It plays well at a concert because the beat is infectious and the hook makes it easy for the crowd to get in and sing along. I can see why he kept it in his live set for all those years. Just be careful…some of the lyrics will make you roll your eyes and/or cringe.