Prince showed Oakland that he is still at the top of his game last night during the first of three scheduled concerts at Oracle Arena.
The night started out strong with opening act Graham Central Station, who led his band through his funky catalog and a medley of hits from his former band, Oakland’s own Sly & The Family Stone. The energy reached a fever pitch when Prince joined him for the final song of the set.
About 30-minutes later, Prince emerged in a white suit for a two-hour set that had the nearly capacity crowd at its feet. It was a trip down memory lane for many as he ran through hits like “Controversy,” “Purple Rain,” “Baby I’m A Star,” “If I Was Your Girlfriend,” and many more.
Shelia E. was by his side for most of the night on percussion and backup vocals — at one point the two had a playful battle with Sheila on timbales and Prince banging away on conga drums. She also had the stage to herself with energetic run through her hit “Glamorous Life.”
One of the many highlights of the night arrived shortly after when Carlos Santana made appearance for a smoking-hot extended solo. Prince put his guitar chops on display throughout the night, as well, rocking through a few mostly instrumental blues numbers with the house lights on after the crowd called him back — with nearly deafening screams — for a second encore. The night was full of goose-bump inducing moments.
Prince is back for gigs at the Oracle this Wednesday and Thursday. They very well could be the best shows this year in the Bay Area. If not, he’s setting the bar high.