Aidin Vaziri | “What can you truly count on besides Steph Curry?” Prince rhetorically asked the sold-out audience at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre on Sunday night, Feb. 28. “And you can count on Steph Curry.”
That was the inevitable conclusion the Great Purple One came to after an extended meditation on the uncertainties of life during one of his two “Piano & a Microphone” shows at the historic venue.
Even before delivering the shout-out to the Golden State Warriors’ wunderkind the day after he made that historic buzzer-beater against Oklahoma, the 57-year-old singer was in the audience’s good graces.
The back-to-back concerts, played at 7 and 10 p.m. and announced just a few days earlier, sold out in minutes, with fans lining up outside the theater for hours before the doors opened.
As billed, the shows featured Prince — and only Prince — sitting behind a piano for nearly two hours, revisiting and reworking his classic hits, acting out dramatic monologues and expounding freely and openly about his complicated relationship with his father.
“Oakland, we need a new story,” he said numerous times.
The concerts at the Paramount, promoted by Live Nation, were the first of their kind to be performed in front of a major American audience, following a brief run in Australia and one-off showcases at Prince’s suburban Minneapolis headquarters, Paisley Park.
Wearing silk pajamas, silver boots with wedge heels that lit up (much like a toddler’s) and his Afro picked out, the eternally youthful Prince occasionally seemed to struggle with the concert’s restrained format.