Nobody tried more unique ways to get his music out to his fans than Prince. He was a pioneer in making his music available online. He gave CDs out to concertgoers. He put CDs in European magazines. 2008’s Indigo Nights is another example.
In 2007 from August 1 through September 21 Prince played 21 shows at The O2 Arena in London, England. The “tour” was known as “The Earth Tour: 21 Nights in London.” I put tour in quotes because I’m not sure how playing 21 shows in the same place is technically a tour. It was called The Earth Tour in support of his recent album, Planet Earth, which he actually gave out for free in British newspaper The Mail on Sunday on July 15, 2007. So, to sum up, The Earth Tour took place in one city and featured very little music from the album he was supposedly promoting. Amazingly, in 21 completely sold out shows over 350,000 people attended bringing in over $22 million.
Photographer Randee St. Nicholas was along to document the tour for Prince. In 2008 the book 21 Nights was released featuring St. Nicholas’s photography and poetry and lyrics by Prince. It also contained the Indigo Nights CD that couldn’t be purchased anywhere else. Indigo Nights is all live music recorded during The Earth Tour, but not from the main shows. Prince also played after shows at The IndigO2, a club at O2 Arena with a capacity of 2,500. The club was temporarily renamed 3121 at The IndigO2 for Prince’s residency. Indigo Nights contains music from Prince’s after shows on September 17 and 22, 2007.
Indigo Nights is heavy on covers, including today’s song “Beggin’ Woman Blues.” It’s not exactly a cover, but a combination of “Beggin’ Woman” by Cousin Joe and “Three Handed Woman” by Louis Jordan. The result is a song that’s 100% blues and a perfect, laugh out loud vocal performance from Prince. There isn’t much to hear musically aside from some perfectly executed horn stabs and the occasional Hammond B3. The focus is 100% on Prince’s over the top vocals. He’s delivering outrageous lyrics like, “She’s a cockeyed woman, too. She look both ways at the same time. I don’t know what she lookin’ at. I just know I’m gettin’ tired of tryin’.”
Ultimately, I’m not big on the blues, and I wish I could actually see this performance. Listening to it doesn’t do much for me. It’s funny, but it’s slow moving and not terribly interesting musically. There are better examples of Prince’s greatness as a performer on Indigo Nights. As always, I’m probably underrating Prince’s blues work mainly because straight up blues music just isn’t my thing. But, if you dig the blues I’m guessing you’ll enjoy it more than I do.