LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Funk rocker Prince blasted a concert promotion giant for its poor sound equipment as he struggled to perform three concerts in one night at separate venues in Los Angeles.
The man who once sang about traveling “Around the World in a Day,” shuttled among three venues on Saturday at a new downtown entertainment complex operated by AEG Live.
But his ambitious promotion for an upcoming album hit a snag soon after he hit the stage at the 7,100-capacity Nokia Theater. He had problems with the monitors, and constant pleas to the venue’s crew to fix them never had much impact.
“This is my celebration. I don’t care what goes wrong,” he said midway through the 90-minute set, before scrunching up his nose in disgust.
The second show, at the 1,100-capacity Conga Room, began with a five-minute soundcheck and lasted about an hour. Each of the shows was promoted as being “full-length.”
The third show, scheduled to begin at midnight, kicked off an hour late as Prince and his crew grappled with sound issues, forcing fans to wait in a long line outside the 2,300-capacity Club Nokia. He began the show before many entered the venue.
Toward the end of the show, he mentioned a few AEG executives by name, and told fans to complain to them about the buzzing speakers.
“I came to see Alicia Keys here, and it was the worst sound I’ve ever heard,” Prince said, noting that the AEG had spent plenty of money on seating and lighting.
“If you fix the sound, I’ll be here every night, and I’ll do it for free.”
Prince played most of his hits, like “1999,” “Kiss” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” at the first show, which was attended by celebrities like basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood. The set lists and the bands were different for each show.
Prince’s new album, the three-disc set “Lotusflow3r,” will be released on Sunday exclusively at big-box retailer Target Corp and on his Web site.
Officials at AEG did not reply to a late-night email seeking reaction to Prince’s criticisms. The firm is owned by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz.