Sunday 19 November 2017

Prince promises to make amends to Irish fans

Prince has warned audiences to bring foot spray because 'it's going to be funky'. Photo: Getty Images
Prince has warned audiences to bring foot spray because 'it's going to be funky'. Photo: Getty Images

Brian Hutton

Pop legend Prince is on a mission to Ireland to prove a point to his fans, he has told band-mates.

Organisers behind this weekend's 30,000-capacity gig at Malahide Castle, in north Dublin, said the performer was intent on making up for cancelling his Croke Park date three years ago at short notice.

Robbie Butler, of promoter POD concerts, said he was talking to Prince's band and the only problem they expect this time round was getting the genre-defying genius to wrap up the show.

"They said he wants to come to Dublin to prove a point," he said.

"He just wants to come and do a great show."

Mr Butler said Prince phoned the concert promoters up directly and said he wanted to come to Ireland.

He added: "The only problem will be getting him off the stage."

The 52-year-old singer has been playing to rave reviews during his latest European tour which kicked off in Paris three weeks ago. He has warned audiences to bring foot spray because "it's going to be funky".

The Malahide Castle show on Saturday will be his first in Ireland for nearly a decade and the biggest ever event in the sprawling seaside estate.

The set list is expected to include many of his greatest hits, including Kiss, Purple Rain, U Got That Look, Raspberry Beret, Alphabet Street, Diamonds and Pearls and Cream.

He is planning at least a three-hour set, said organisers.

Rumours have also abounded about a special "surprise" on the night but those planning the show have remained tight-lipped about what is in store.

"I'm sure there will be some twists and turns," one said.

Mr Butler revealed Prince would do his own sound check on the day and the five-foot star has asked for steps to be placed beside the concert's mixing desk, so he can personally make sure the sound is as he wants it.

"Anyone who I have spoken to says he is putting on mind-blowing shows - he's on form by all accounts," he added.

The mercurial star is arriving in Dublin on Friday and is believed to be staying for three days.

Workers are putting final touches to the huge stage next to Malahide Castle, which will include two massive LED screens on either side, as well as another behind the stage as a backdrop.

Behind the scenes Prince's yurt-shaped dressing room has already been erected, which includes a purple dressing robe, purple towels, sofas, a mirror, bottles of champagne, Limoncello, Merlot and Fiji water.

There is also a jar of pure Irish honey, organic tea and a vase of white lilies.

Promoters said they are expecting the remaining tickets to sell out in the coming days, but if there are any left they will be available on site on Saturday.

Gates open at 4pm, with Chicago nine-piece Hypnotic Brass Ensemble taking to the stage at 5.45pm. Prince will start his set at 8pm.

Special Dart and bus services have been put on, with a Prince button on Dart station ticket machines to make it easy for concert goers. Details are available on POD's website

Organisers said the Malahide Castle show is the only stand-alone concert Prince will play in his European tour, with the rest of the appearances at festivals.

His controversial no-show at Croke Park in June 2008 cost him 2.2 million euro as well as the disappointment of tens of thousands of followers, after a concert promoter took him to court over the cancellation at short notice.

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