Prince, Hop Farm Festival 2011 review

By Tom Horan: read the full review at The Telegraph.

A tangibly happier 53-year-old Prince entertained a crowd of 30,000 at Hop Farm for more than two and a half hours.

There’s always a lovely incongruity to a big international star pitching up somewhere quaintly and quintessentially English. I couldn’t help wondering how Prince had spent the afternoon before his headline performance at this cosy festival outside Tunbridge Wells. A cream tea and a potter around the Pantiles? A tour of some of the local oast-houses? But any concerns that he might consider the booking beneath him evaporated from the opening number of this mesmerising show.

The rumour was that he would play for two and half hours. In the end it was more, but the depth of his back catalogue and the muscular virtuosity of his mostly female band seemed to render the passing of time irrelevant. He delivered the hits from his 1980s heyday in a raw cascade of reminiscence: 1999; Let’s Go Crazy; Kiss; Little Red Corvette. The vocal gymnastics, the nonchalant feats of guitar, the elastic dance moves — he could do so many things so well that you couldn’t stop looking at him….



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