Royal mistake for leaving out the Prince concert review

You force the music section to sit through all 98 minutes of Under the Cherry Moon, and we reward you with a Payback Time T-shirt and two tickets to a Live Nation club show of your choice taking place in Vancouver within the next four weeks. Here’s this week’s winning whinge.

Dear Payback Time: The sense of anticipation I had when grabbing the latest Straight issue was palpable. Here it was, the much-talked-about Prince concert review from the people whose main goal is fairness but with tongue planted firmly in cheek.

After a quick pass-through, I thought I was loozin’ my mind, but no, in fact there was nothing but air. How? Who?…dropped the ball? In all fairness, I won my two tickets in a contest and was just going to check him out and pray that he picked up his guitar at least once or twice, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for a show of that magnetism.

This was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever been to in my 50-plus years. No big radio hits, just full-on rock ’n’ roll heavy metal axe-grinding, with great video to boot. It was simply a great night.

So my question is obvious. Where were you, at least to slam him for not playing the hits or slaying 3rdeyegirl for being too…girlie. Usinger’s head will be on the block for this one.

> Mitch Butler

Mike Usinger replies: Dearest Mitch—Have you sat down and listened to a Prince record lately? I got a Prince greatest-hits disc a couple of years back, and, not entirely sure what all the fuss was about back in the day, I popped it in the car stereo.

You know what? That motherfucker’s songs haven’t held up very well. In fact, they’re every bit as stale-dated as other ’80s artifacts such as rugby pants, the DeLorean DMC-12 automobile, and Kelly LeBrock. If Mr. Turned Himself Into a Symbol is so goddamned great on the guitar, why the hell did he bury it under 16 layers of synth cheese and hideously overprocessed drums every time he hit the studio? And why do all his records sound like they were pressed on the cheapest imported tin that money can buy?

You’ll notice that I’m referring to Prince’s work in the past tense, mostly because no one has given a shit what he’s been up to since about 1987. If they did, Mr. Nelson would be charging his fans $250 to see him in hockey rinks, not in theatres. That’s why we chose to review Marianas Trench instead. Oh, and in case you’re curious, I was at home watching Purple Rain. Man, that fucking film hasn’t held up very well.




Apr 24, 2013 at 5:31pm

Come on Mike. Even a snarky section in a city's fun-paper can't have such an off base reply from someone who has the title of Music Editor. At least request a change of title... Something like Music-Editor/Funny-Guy-Writer-Guy. That way you can switch hats. You can make a music comment of value one day... and then go for your funny-guy thing on another day... like a day when you got called out for missing a show that you should have written about. Answer his question with pride. Pull up your big boy pants and admit that you forgot your Music Editor hat and skipped out on your job.

John Lucas

Apr 25, 2013 at 2:23pm

Hey Nick (and Mitch). If you want a serious answer, here it is. Last time Prince came to Vancouver, I reviewed it. (See Given that he hasn't released a new album, or really done anything else of note, since then, it wouldn't have made much sense to review him again. Okay, sure, last time he was playing an arena with the New Power Generation and this time he was playing a theatre with Third Eye Blind or whatever the hell his current band is called. Big deal. Prince is Prince.

And it's not as if we totally ignored this second coming. After all, I did put on my very own Funny-Guy-Writer-Guy hat and write this:

You're welcome.


Apr 25, 2013 at 4:03pm

Hey John, your write ups are/were fine and you guys can write about anyone you'd like... Here's a thank you for passing them on. Payback Time is a funny little section in a fine paper and I'm just pointing out that Mike's answer for Mitch is silly. John... in your write ups you're wearing both hats... or a two brimmed hat like Sherlock Holmes. You give your opinion and you have some sound musical comments. Mike had one hat and it's more a Grumpy-Mean-Guy hat now that I look back at it. So whatever.