Prince fans storm Montreux for rare European show

Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:31am EDT
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By Stephanie Nebehay

MONTREUX, Switzerland (Reuters) - Prince fans from across Europe converged on Montreux for two shows by the American musician whose rare appearance on the continent stretched well into Sunday morning.

The 51-year-old star closed the two-week Swiss Montreux Jazz Festival with a mix of old hits including "Little Red Corvette," "Peach" and "Purple Rain" and fresh titles such as "Elixir" from his new album with singer Bria Valente.

Wearing a bright red suit, geometric gold necklace, and red and white platform shoes, the artist appeared on stage with his red guitar, bathed in his trademark purple light.

"Montreux, thank you," Prince said, as he blew a kiss to the crowd before kicking off an encore with "Insatiable."

Some 8,000 tickets for his two back-to-back concerts, priced up to $480 each, sold out in a record eight minutes when his only European booking this summer was announced just days after the death of Michael Jackson.

Prince performed a jazzy version of the song "In a Large Room With No Light" for both shows in Montreux, which organizers praised as a "groovy mix of soul, jazz and funk."

Changing into a metallic grey outfit, he closed the second show with "Purple Rain," a chart-topper marking its 25th year.

John Blackwell (drums), Rhonda Smith (bass) and Renato Net and Morris Hayes (both on keyboards) accompanied Prince at Stravinski Auditorium.   Continued...

<p>Singer Prince hidden under umbrellas leaves the Auditorium Stravinski after the sound check before his sold out show at the 43rd Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux July 18, 2009. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud</p>