PRINCE: Purple Rain. Tony Besgrove’s opinion

Updated with new links 21/06/18

Many Prince You Tube videos get taken down pretty quickly, but for the moment you can view the performance at:

and for those in a hurry a crudely edited truncated version of the guitar solo may be seen at:-


The first time I saw this performance on TV my jaw dropped to the floor - Prince Rogers Nelson, Live from Syracuse 1985 (that's Syracuse in upstate New York - not Sicily!)

The song 'Purple Rain' has always been one of my favourite Prince tracks, and this live version, which concludes the show, is without doubt the best around.

If you have any interest whatsoever in watching one of rock's most spectacular live performances, please stick with this video to the end.

Prince's Cloud guitar

It's 15 minutes long, dimly and moodily lit. It opens with a long intro from Wendy Melvoin on guitar, whilst the audience sings along in the background. Prince doesn't make a visual appearance till 3 minutes into the video, playing some nice blues licks on his trusty Hohner 'Telecaster'. He then disappears for a moment only to return with his distinctive Cloud guitar to hit a chord at 4.30 that you know would have sustained forever.

The showmanship of Prince in this clip is simply stunning; he launches into a solo at 9.15 and plays out of his skull for the next five minutes, scaling the upper reaches of the stage set before tripping down the stairs without missing a beat. His vocal mic takes a hammering right at the end, but no matter - its job is done!

Most of Prince's funky repertoire leaves me cold, but when he picks up a guitar I start to take notice. A true superstar!

A full 18.44 min higher quality version is available on the latest Prince album released 9/11/16 entitled 'Live At Syracuse, 30 Mar '85 (Remastered)'. The album may be auditioned on Deezer - not to be seen on Spotify

Prince Live at Syracuse 1985

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