Published 01/08/2011 | 05:00
Under greying skies, the artist formerly known as 'symbol' arrives wearing a white choirboy robe and a teasing grin.
"I heard," he says, clicking a camera at the crowd, "there was a party goin' on tonight."
Without a real hit in two decades, the 52-year-old wafts into Dublin with the promise of the ultimate 'best of' set, an unspoken assurance we'll be spared his post-1990s slow-jam dribblings.
The concert has been hyped with a deafening advertising campaign, but what the incessant radio spots neglected to mention was that it is a mere three years since the singer put in the biggest Croke Park no-show this side of the Dublin football team.
Clearly he thinks it's time he and Ireland kissed and made up.
"I'm sorry it has taken so long," he says. "We're here now. Tonight we're gonna make history."
However much of an overstatement that sounds, he does his best to live up to it.
Remarkably toned for a man his age, Prince and his band conduct a breathless tour of one of rock's greatest catalogues, veering from the Hendrix-isms of 'Purple Rain' to the sweet lilt of '1999' to the joyous crotch-grab of 'Kiss'.
His reputation for eccentricity may have started to eclipse his musical accomplishments, but tonight it's Prince's genius that lights up north county Dublin.