Prince Joined by Bay Area Legends at Oracle Arena

David Joles/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT

Cheyann Elmore

Tickets went on sale only three days before the first show, and Prince gave the sold-out arena their money’s worth with his triple encore performance.

“I got too many hits, we’re gonna be here all night, Oakland,” Prince said as he came back on stage for the first encore.

The line to get into the Oracle Arena was already wrapped around the corner an hour before the show.

The fans in attendance were very diverse. The ages ranged from teens to septuagenarians, and the clothing varied even more, from casual to formal to borderline disturbing.

Many fans pulled out whatever purple clothing they could find in their closet. There were purple jackets, shirts, dresses, leggings, and even hair.

The outside doors were supposed to open at 6:30 p.m. for the 7:30 show—however, they didn’t start letting people in until 6:48 p.m.

Thrilled to get out of the mid-30 degree weather, these “Purple Rain” fans began flooding through the doors without hesitation.

Once inside the building, people weren’t allowed to go to their seats. As a result, the hallways began to fill to capacity, and many complained that it was creating a fire hazard.

The doors to the seating sections weren’t opened until about 7:15 p.m.

The chaotic and disorganized start to the night was discouraging to some fans, but with the start of the show, all that was put to rest.

When the lights went out, the crowd went crazy. Prince’s voice was heard over the loudspeaker introducing the opening act, Larry Graham and Graham Central Station.

Lead bass player Larry Graham and his group had the audience on their feet within minutes. They performed some of their well-known hits from back-in-the-day, including “One in a Million.”

The whole crowd began to harmonize together when they started performing songs from Graham’s original group, Sly and The Family Stone.

The performance of “Family Affair” had the crowd jumping out of their seats and united them as just that, a family.

Graham, who is in his mid-60s was jumping around the stage as though he wasn’t a day over 25.

The speed at which his fingers were flying up and down his bass was phenomenal, not to mention his band and vocalists sounded just as crisp as they did 30 years ago.

At one point, he played the bass with the microphone pole and then with his mouth. Prince made his way to the stage during Graham’s last song, “Everyday People.” Prince enhanced the already “pumped up” crowd.

With smoke rising from the stage and lights flashing, Prince threw his guitar and kicked over the microphone pole.

The intensity of this one song gave off that of a show’s grand finale, and ironically enough, the “true” show had only just begun.

Once the show resumed, Prince was lifted to the stage, smoke surrounding him. On stage with him was the famous percussionist, Oakland-born Sheila Escovedo, better known as Sheila E.

The show opened with “Uptown,” and the entire arena was up on their feet dancing.

In fact, the majority of the crowd stayed on their feet throughout the entire show.

Prince wore a white suit with a black stripe down the side, a black shirt open in the front to show off his chest, and white, heeled boots.

He was non-stop for the entire show, like a 52-year-old Energizer bunny.

Sheila E., who is also in her early 50s, was in her stilettos dancing right alongside Prince for the whole show. During her drum solo, she let the crowd know that even after all these years, she still had it.

As though Sheila E. wasn’t a big enough surprise, Carlos Santana showed up for one song. He hopped on stage, grabbed a guitar and blew the crowd away.

This was truly a once in a lifetime reunion of the Bay Area, with Larry Graham and Graham Central Station, Sheila E. and Carlos Santana, all on one stage.

The climax of the concert was the performance of his favorite hit “Purple Rain.” The entire stage and Oracle Arena transformed into a purple oasis.

Flashing purple lights shot across every section of the crowd, fans were singing, couples held onto one another and some eyes even watered up at the sound of the heartfelt vocals of Prince.

At the end of the song, Prince said, “Thank you” and exited the stage, but the fans knew this would not be the end of the show.

As fans had anticipated, Prince returned to the stage, this time dressed head-to-toe in gold, glittery attire. He resumed the show with “Kiss.”

He went on to perform “If I Was Your Girlfriend” and a few slower songs, including “Scandalous.”

The show reached yet another peak when he performed “Adore.” Eyes closed and head thrown back, Prince was definitely feeling the music as he performed.

At one point in the song, he even dropped to his knees—while still holding his poignant note, of course.

Yet again, Prince thanked the audience for coming out, and for the second time he said “good night.”

This time the entire band left the stage, stage lights went out and the house lights came on. As a result, some crowd members started making their way out of the arena.

The diehard fans simply would not accept that conclusion. After about five minutes of clapping, cheering and screaming his name, Prince walked back on stage for his third encore—unbelievable!

The house lights went back out, the stage lights came back on, and yet another great performance erupted.

For the last and final song, he performed “Welcome 2 America,” which is also the title of his current tour.

The overall show was mind-blowing. Being in the same building as this icon was a privilege in itself.

His vibrant energy, stage presence and sense of humor made him appealing to the audience.

That, along with his brilliant band, surprise guests, divine voice and moves so sensual they could bring an any woman or man to their knees, made this show definitely a must-see for anybody.

The two scheduled shows were Monday, Feb. 21 and Wednesday, Feb. 23.

Due to overwhelming demand, they have added one last show for tonight. Get tickets while you can.