Gig review: Superstar Prince paints Leeds purple

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Superstar Prince purple reigned supreme in Leeds last night.

The 55-year-old singer and multi-instrumentalist led his new band 3rd Eye Girl through a thrilling set lasting more than two hours at the First Direct Arena.

Anticipation for this concert was so great, all 13,000 tickets sold out in 15 minutes when they went on sale earlier this month.

And an immulately attired Prince did not disappoint the packed house with a show that encompassed many of his biggest hits – including Kiss, Let’s Go Crazy and a tumultuous Purple Rain.

Prince’s virtuoso guitar-playing was much to the fore but the band – Canadian Donna Grantis on guitar, Dane Ida Nielsen on bass and Chicagoan Hannah Ford Welton on drums – provided versatile back-up as they swungthrough everything from pop to R&B, jazz to heavy rock.

There was a generous helping of new songs – among them the sprightly FunknRoll and the raucous Skrewdriver – that augured well for 3rd Eye Girl’s forthcoming album, Plectrumelectrum.

For connoisseurs there was even an old 80s B-side, She’s Always in My Hair.

Arguably pop’s greatest living showman, Prince deserves a vast stage for his talents – and Leeds’s £30m arena certainly gave it to him.

Tony Watson, the Arena’s director of sales and marketing, said: “They said building an arena would see the biggest names coming to Leeds and they don’t get much bigger than Prince.

“We spent the last few days working with his team to make sure this show is one that’ll live on in memory. The Arena was turned purple from the outside in and we think it was a night to remember.”