Last night’s Piano & A Microphone shows opened at The Arts Center Playhouse in Melbourne, Australia with an emotional performance from Prince. The Purple One led his first solo exhibition just hours after learning that Denise “Vanity” Matthews-Smith had died. Vanity is known as Prince’s protege, but their relationship goes much deeper than musical influence. Naturally, the show proceeded in dedication to the late Vanity 6 leader.
Reports indicate Prince’s emotional reaction to this news as having major influence on the set. As he entered the performance, he started: “I am new to this playing alone. I thank you all for being so patient. I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming … She knows about this one,” which led straight into “Beautiful Ones.”
He continued on with a totaling 20-song set, which included both songs and stories dedicated to his fallen idol, “Can I tell you a story about Vanity? Or should I tell you a story about Denise? Her and I used to love each other deeply. She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong cos she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”
The set included a cover of Bob Marley‘s “Waiting In Vain,” hits like “If I Was Your Girlfriend” and “Raspberry Beret,” and title-specific dedications like “When She Comes,” “I Love U in Me,” “The Beautiful Ones,” and “Adore.”
Setlist: Prince at The Arts Center Playhouse in Melbourne, Australia – 2/15/16
Set: Big City, Ruff Enuff, Little Red Corvette, Dirty Mind, Money Don’t Matter 2 Night, Waiting in Vain, If I Was Your Girlfriend, How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore, The Ladder, 1000 X’S & 0’S, When She Comes, Satisfied, I Love U in Me, Sometimes It Snows in April, Automatic, The Beautiful Ones
Encore: Raspberry Beret, Starfish and Coffee, Paisley Park, Adore
Watch a clip from the performance, while it lasts:
Rest In Peace, Vanity.