Prince plays London living-room gig

Prince performing with 3RDEYEGIRL in London on Wednesday.
Prince performing with 3RDEYEGIRL in London on Wednesday.

LONDON — When Prince came to London a few years ago, he played more than 20 nights at the vast O2 arena. This time, he played a suburban living room to a dozen people.

The enigmatic star flew into London on Tuesday at the start of a still-evolving string of dates in support of the forthcoming album ‘‘Plectrum Electrum,’’ recorded with the all-female trio 3RDEYEGIRL.

Details are being released in a trickle, but Prince said he planned to play ‘‘iconic’’ venues along the lines of music club the Bag o’ Nails (where Jimi Hendrix once played), the storied rock venue Electric Ballroom, and Ronnie Scott’s jazz club.


‘‘We’ll work our way up, if people like us, to bigger venues,’’ Prince said.

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His first stop was the East London home of British soul singer Lianne La Havas, who met Prince last year while she was touring the United States. The pair bonded over common musical tastes and a shared love of tea.

In her cozy living room in front of a crackling fire, the band played two acoustic tracks of what Prince called their ‘‘funky rock ’n’ roll,’’ or ‘‘funk ’n’ roll,’’ including the newly released single ‘‘PretzelBodyLogic.’’

Later, Prince and the band showed off their funk-laced, punk-edged sound in an unannounced late-night set at the Electric Ballroom, a landmark venue in north London’s music heartland of Camden. He said he’d be back at the club on Wednesday — ‘‘a lot earlier and a lot funkier.’’

The trip to London, he said, is ‘‘open-ended.’’


‘‘We’re going to be here until people don’t want to hear us anymore.’’

Prince said he planned to keep ticket prices as low as $10 ‘‘because it’s a new band and you’re maybe not hearing what you’d expect.’’

The tracks on the new album were developed during epic jam sessions at Prince’s Paisley Park studios near Minneapolis.

‘‘We’ve been together for over a year and it’s perfect,’’ said Prince, 55, who sipped a mug of strong tea with honey as he chatted to La Havas, her housemates, and three journalists in the British singer’s brick Victorian house. ‘‘The more we play, the more fun it is, and addictive it is.’’

Prince looked every inch the star in the incongruous surroundings, dressed head-to-toe in black and sporting large sunglasses.


The multinational 3RDEYEGIRL is made up of Danish bassist Ida Nielsen, Canadian guitarist Donna Grantis, and American drummer Hannah Ford. Ford said the band sometimes jammed for 12 hours or more in days and nights of music interspersed with games of Ping-Pong.

‘‘That’s our amazing life,’’ she said. ‘‘And we wouldn’t want it any other way. We are literally living a musician’s fairy tale, and it is now our reality.’’