194 words about Sign ‘o’ the Times
Starfish and Tesla coil
Though the fireworks were still going full tilt on the West Side, the spectacle north was slowing and the show closest to us in an Uptown park had already wrapped some minutes before when we decided to call it and return to the apartment downstairs. A night at Angel’s is always gratefully, inevitably fueled by bad food, good beer and some cult cultural artifact we end up planted in front of his TV watching; on this occasion, it was the concert film for Prince’s Sign ‘o’ the Times, a full-length feature directed by The Purple One himself and featuring an incongruous stage set, incoherent side plot, inexhaustible dancing and perhaps the only thing working as hard as the man himself (and considering what he demanded of his band, that’s saying something): the onstage plasma ball. What at first appears to be a misplaced curio gradually assumes an anchoring role, static electricity swirling with steady, silent determination as band members chase each other around song after song. It looks ridiculous, a comically earthly prop from a divine performer whose absence is also the surest way to know “U Got the Look” is a dream sequence.