AUSTIN -- It's not abnormal to see music fans lined up for various venues around Austin for South By Southwest, but a very special appearance by Prince and a temporarily reunited A Tribe Called Quest had people lined up in the thousands, and for around six or seven hours, for a show that went into deep into the night.
Prince ended up playing for fewer than 2,000 fans at La Zona Rosa last night (March 16) in a set that went for 2-and-a-half hours, during which he hit on his chart-toppers like "Purple Rain" and "1999," bits and jams on well-known covers like Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough" and Tevin Campbell's "Shhh."
That equalled out to six encores (yes, six) that pushed Prince and his 22-piece band past the 3 a.m. mark, joining a long line of legendary acts that have flouted the usual 2 a.m. wrap-up around the fest. "We have 20 more minutes," he said near his fourth re-emergence. "Think we can make them the best 20 minutes of our lives?"
Those 20 -- and the rest of the nights minutes -- were banned from being captured on cameras or phones, as is Prince's well-known policy to keep fans from taking photo or posting low-rez video from his shows. The photos below were the chosen ordained.
And banned, too, seemed to be guitars from his hands, as Prince didn't pick up a six-string all night. He did, however, play some piano and even let a fan sing at one point.
A Tribe Called Quest -- who have not, at this point, intimated to any other reunion concerts beyond this one -- performed for 45 minutes. Q-Tip said it was a last-minute arrangement. "I was chipping golf balls," he said. He also threw a towel down onto the ground during the hip-hop troupes set, declaring "I'm cleaning up the stage for Prince."