Prince – Small Club 1988
Het Paard Van Troje, The Hague, Rotterdam
August 18th 1988
This is the bootleg that sets the bar. When this began to appear at record shows, first released on vinyl in 1988 (CD, 1991) it became the talk of the Prince fanatic community. The sound quality is better than most official live releases.
The set list is slick with long improvised jams, some blues/jazz covers, and a couple of his classics. Standout tracks are the opening jam, People Without, the cover of Just My Imagination and an epic rendition of Forever in My Life. And, during Still Would Stand All Time, you get to hear him trying to subtly admonish a back-up singer for singing "Still Will Stand All Time"... After a few pointed, yet calm corrections...he shouts, "Who's the fool who singing 'will'?? It's 'would'! Time WOULD stand still!"
It is no secret that this is arguably the most essential bootleg
recording in circulation for Prince fans. It is first and
foremost on my personal list of favorites. Even though there are
now a plethora of soundboard recordings available from nearly
every tour, this is a perfect recording of a coveted aftershow.
The sound quality is to my ears identical to the original release
of Small Club 2nd Show That Night by X records in 1989. This is
the first time I've said this about any reissue of this show.
Although many have tried before this is the first Small Club
recording to actually match the original in sound quality. There
have been no less than a couple dozen of reissues over the past 6
years. In a blind test with both sources playing simultaneously I
could not tell them apart. If there is a difference in sound it
is discernible to me.
The show itself is a true aftershow classic, with everything we
could ask for in a performance: killer guitar solos (Rave Unto
the Joy Fantastic & Just My Imagination), great vocals (Still
Would Stand All Time), lots of Boni Boyer, and a couple of
unreleased songs (People Without, etc..). This is Prince at his
physical and performing prime. Looking back I would have to say
that 1987-88 featured him at his best more consistently that any
other time of his career. His aftershows during this time period
are just legendary including the incredible Camden Palace show in
London on July 25th, the Hamburg show in late August and one of
the first, the Quasimodo gig on the Sign O the Times tour. Never
has his ferocity been so evident at shows such as these.
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