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    Sunday, July 18, 2004

    The artist formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known As

    Prince is back. I think you hear him knocking, and I think he's coming in, and he's got a 3-hour live show, lots of purple-clad fans, a free CD at the door, umpteen costume changes, a really silly looking guitar, the New Power Generation backing band (with an outstanding drummer), a microphone shaped like a pistol, a mortarboard-wearing Maceo Parker, some crazy dance moves, and a boatload of his classic hits.

    The sold-out show last night at the Hartford Civic Center was fantastic. I mean, it's Prince. How could it not be fantastic? He's an icon -- and he had an icon for a name for a little while. I haven't been to a concert that size in a long time. The Civic Center was packed and the audience was a motley crew of fans ranging from early teens to early 60s.

    At times, the band was so musically tight and explosive, I thought I was watching James Brown's band on stage. At other times, Prince connected with the audience with a single purple guitar and a set of acoutic blues-funk covering his old hits in a strange, almost-stream-of-consciousness medley.

    The 46-year old can still jump around on stage like he's 20 and put on an action-packed entertaining show. He's a silly, silly man.