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. 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's not 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. His effortless ability to mix stunning cover versions and unreleased tracks along with completely new renditions of his classics is remarkable. It also has a lot to do with his look. Watch the clips of the Camden Palace gig and you can see a stronger, firmer Prince that we've seen in the recent years. Not one as frail and weightless as we're becoming accustomed to now. What is also noticeable in those aftershow clips is that Prince KNEW he had just hit his prime. His relaxed mood with the European fans, his musicianship, and his first truly great backing band had reached a peak at this time unmatched to that point in his career. His confidence and showmanship have never been so apparent.
1-1 Instrumental Jam 12:54
1-2 D.M.S.R. 8:47
1-3 Just My Imagination 7:45
1-4 People Without 10:28
1-5 Housequake 4:32
1-6 Down Home Blues 8:47
2-1 Cold Sweat 9:35
2-2 Forever In My Life 11:28
2-3 Still Would Stand All Time 10:47
2-4 I'll Take You There 15:58
2-5 It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night 2:40
2-6 Rave To The Joy Fantastic 2:11
Bass: Levi Seacer Jr.
Drums, Percussion: Sheila E.
Guitar: Mico Weaver
Keyboards: Dr. Fink
Trumpet: Atlanta Bliss
Vocals: Boni Boyer, Cat*
Vocals, Guitar: Prince
‘Abierman 2004’ commented on the Prince forum: http://prince.org/
“I had seen the regular show (Lovesexy, my 3rd show, after Parade ‘86 & Sign Of The Times ‘87) in the arena (De Kuip, Rotterdam) the night before and it was summertime, which meant: no school. A good friend of mine lived in The Hague (I'm from Amsterdam) and we had planned this night long before. So after having dinner with his parents, we were allowed (I was staying the night at their place) to 'hit' the town (hey, I was only 17!). The club, 'Het Paard', was back then a cool hangout. Not too small, certainly not too big. We arrived around 11:30 PM and not much was going on, we were happy to be there, released of 'the wrath' of parents. Dirk, my buddy, was not really into Prince and was getting tired of me talking about the concert-experience I had had the night before. However, at some point, around 1:00 AM there was this vibe going on, people were doing stuff on the small stage. I believe some 200 people were in the club, and nothing was announced. We heard this rumor that nobody was being let in anymore, don't know whether that was true.
At some point we saw people climbing the stage. It was dark but I saw clearly a woman stepping behind the drums. This is when 'Jam' started. we still didn't know what was going on, no announcements whatsoever. This band was jamming and once the beat kicks in some light was turned on and I freaked! Shortly after that I heard this typical guitar sound, the one that had been pounding in my ears for the last 24 hours. Yes, it was Prince and his band!
I couldn't believe it! I started to recognize the members: Dr Think, Sheila E, Miko, Levi, Atlanta and Prince! Later Boni Boyer joined as well! No Eric Leeds (I believe he wasn't feeling to well, Anotherwontdare) and Cat to be seen. Dirk, a guitar-lover, was like: what the fuck is this? Convinced in a minute! Big smile on his face. I was just stunned, couldn't say a word! Was this happening? Yes it was.
After the 13-minute jam, he kicked in DMSR (well, this beat's going to sleep, don't it?), the funk was phat! People were freaking out, although there weren't to many fans there, there would be afterwards.
Housequake (a hit back then) had the people go wild. Then Just My Imagination, the solo. This was P's and Sheila's show. Just listen to the two of them go together amazing! This is the quintessential Prince-moment! There are stories (maybe even urban-legends) about P having tears in his eyes during this. I don't remember seeing this, but I had almost tears in MY eyes. This man was amazing, what a treat to be here! The Man was happy and in rare form that night! It was so obvious that he was enjoying himself, and no religious BS as well.
People Without was freaky, lights off. What a fucking great song. Dr Think going wild on the synths.
Kansas City Here I come Boni Boyer, ain't nobody can mess with that girl (is it true that she died?)! P's blues solo at the end, what the fuck?
It was great to see a band having fun after a 2 1/2 hour 'regular' show, this is why they're in music. This was their thing, not ours, we were just witnesses.
Forever In My Live was a great jam, the audience participating, I hear myself everytime! I Don't Care, Boni baby! Sheila was rapping! Rave was great, his official recording 10 years later sucked! Prince: 'Miko, gimme some of that funk!' Miko: 'Sure Prince, you want it high or low?' It stopped around 4 AM.
An amazing night that I will never forget, it took me 8 years to get me a copy of the bootleg, I still listen to it regularly and think back of that night! I believe it was Prince's first aftershow in Holland, and it's definitely the best bootleg-recording I know of (sound-quality wise)! Great it's out there, it almost captures the vibe that was there that night, it will never be there again!”