The Prince in Oakland concert to kick off his North American tour has been set. Paramount Theatre in Oakland will host the first show of the singer-songwriter’s Piano and a Microphone tour on Sunday, Feb. 28 with back-to-back shows.
Prince will revisit his hits and rarities as well as tracks from his 39th studio album, “HITnRUN Phase II,” in an intimate solo setting. While the first concert is set in Oakland, the set list for his recent Australian dates included classics like “Let’s Go Crazy,” “Raspberry Beret,” “Controversy,” “Little Red Corvette” and covers of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Stand” and Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.”
At a stop at the Arts Center Playhouse in Melbourne, the 57-year-old singer dedicated his set to Denise “Vanity” Matthews, his longtime protegee who died at a hospital in Fremont on Feb. 15, filling the concert with songs and stories about the Vanity 6 front woman.
Tickets for the Prince in Oakland performances, ranging in price from $99 to $275, went on sale Wednesday, Feb. 24, through Ticketmaster. “I am new to this playing alone,” he said. “I thank you all for being so patient.”
In an effort to ward off scalpers, promoter Live Nation is using paperless tickets. Purchasers will only be able to redeem their tickets in person the night of the show using the ID and credit card used to purchase the tickets, and must enter the venue at the time they present their information.
Plans to take the tour to Europe last year were scrapped after the terrorist attacks at the Bataclan in Paris. During a press conference ahead of the planned concerts, Prince said he wanted to do this tour because he gets so few bad reviews that he needed the challenge.
“Like tying one hand behind my back, not relying on the craft that I’ve known for 30 years,” he said. “I won’t know what songs I’m going to do when I go onstage, I really won’t. I won’t have to, because I won’t have a band. Tempo, keys, all those things can dictate what song I’m going to play next, you know, as opposed to, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do my hit single now, I’ve got to play this album all the way through,’ or whatever.”
While the Prince in Oakland show was announced, he has made a habit of playing last-minute shows around the world in recent years, the Bay Area date may have special significance. The funeral for Matthews is to be held on Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Union City Apostolic Church.