Prince - vocals, piano, guitar, bass; Levi Seacer, Jr. - guitar and vocals; Sonny T. - bass guitar and vocals; Morris Hayes - keyboards, organ and vocals; Tommy Barbarella - keyboards; Michael Bland - drums, percussion and vocals; Tony M - vocals; Rosie Gaines - vocals; Mayte Jannell García - dancing and vocals; The NPG Hornz: Eric Leeds - sax, flute; David Jensen - trumpet, fluglehorn; Steve Strand - trumpet, fluglehorn; Michael Nelson - trombone; Brian Gallagher - tenor sax; Kathy Jensen - baritone & alto sax
1993 would prove to be a most confusing and controversial year in Prince's career. After establishing himself as one of the most talented, influential, and flamboyant live acts in the music business and at the absolute peak of his success, Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable glyph, which the press soon translated as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince (or TAFKAP). In an effort to assert his independence from contractual obligations and the tyranny of record companies unable to cope with his prolific output and eccentric nature, Prince would engage in a public battle with Warner Brothers that would escalate to massive proportions, as he took steps to eliminate all restrictions on his creative output.
His 12th album, released the previous year, which was the first under the new moniker (since known as the "Love Symbol" album), marked the debut of Prince's hot new band, the New Power Generation. Prince and this new funk-fortified outfit was arguably the most exciting live act on the planet in 1993 and the tour, known as the Act 1 Tour, captivated the attention of nearly everyone that experienced it, selling out large venues at nearly every stop on the tour. In select cities, Prince and his band would occasionally play unannounced aftershow parties at local nightclubs, often into the wee hours of the night. These aftershows were the hippest place to be and provided Prince and the New Power Generation musicians had the ability to intimately connect with a small audience of hardcore fans. These performances also allowed Prince to experiment with his music, performing new, unreleased and cover material as suited his spontaneous whims. These performances often took on an even wilder abandon than the official concert dates and those lucky enough to attend experienced something not soon forgotten.
The Act 1 Tour hit San Francisco on April 10, 1993 and San Jose the following night. One of the most memorable aftershows occurred after the San Jose date, when Prince and the New Power Generation returned to San Francisco and partied into the wee hours at San Francisco's DNA Lounge. Taking the stage at 3:30am, they proceed to tear it up for another two sets before a highly enthusiastic small club audience. Taped by the Bill Graham Presents crew, who provided sound reinforcement for this late night appearance, this remarkable recording faithfully captures Prince and the New Power Generation in high spirits, laughing and joking their way through two sets jam packed with the undeniably danceable, sex-fueled style of music that made Prince such a phenomenon. During this week, Prince was experiencing a case of bronchitis, but he actually embraces this and even uses it to his advantage. With his voice a little deeper and more nasal-sounding than usual, he often sounds incredibly similar to There's A Riot Going On-era Sly Stone, one of his biggest influences.
Taking the stage of the DNA Lounge before a packed house, Prince immediately engages the intimate audience with a brief monologue about his birth, sourced from the lyrics of "The Sacrifice Of Victor," which kicks off the first set. This funky horn-fueled number immediately establishes a deep groove, and with its optimistic lyrics, signifying "joy is around the corner," sets a tone that will permeate the rest of the set. Another monologue follows about racism and other ills that affected the black community in Minneapolis when Prince was growing up, but again, he strikes a positive note by stating how integration eliminates fear. Then with Prince wailing on guitar, the group engages into a dramatic sustained note that builds toward the count-in to "Come." With a super-funky bass line provided by Sonny T and plenty of wah-wah guitar, this develops into one big seductive groove lasting well over 11 minutes. Engaging the audience in a call-and-response, this becomes a totally interactive experience between the band and the audience. At one point, Prince instructs drummer Michael Bland to drop out and when he does, an exciting exchange develops between Prince and Levi Seacer's two guitars. Both take flight before the entire band joins back in for the conclusion.
Next up is the sexy "Peach" single, a driving rocker celebrating the allure of a woman, featuring a sizzling guitar solo from Prince. The guitar pyrotechnics continue right into another monologue, this time with Prince sarcastically and humorously assuming the character of a hick southerner. This serves as the introduction to "Black MF In The House," a song featured on the Goldnigga album Prince produced for the New Power Generation that same year. A celebration of rude behavior and explicit language tied to a relentlessly funky hip-hop groove, this succeeds by being defiant and funny in equal measure, with the group making fun of themselves and having an awful lot of fun in the process. One of the most hilarious moments of this set occurs here as they compel all the white people in the club to chant "Black Motherfuckers In The House!"
Before taking a brief intermission in the performance, Prince and the New Power Generation wind up this first set with an undeniably engaging romp through "Glam Slam Boogie." Few artists so gracefully blend divergent styles better than Prince and this is a prime example that combines the slinky fortified funk of mid-1970s era Stevie Wonder with the blues-fueled organ stylings of Jimmy Smith. Although Prince delivers a fine bluesy guitar solo, this is primarily a showcase for keyboard players Morris Hayes and Tommy Barbarella, who provide outstanding organ and piano work throughout. It's an inspired conclusion to the first set, but only a hint of the fireworks and surprises yet to come in the second set.