Baby, I’m Gonna Be a Star: Complete Footage of Pre-Purple Rain Prince Surfaces

Posted July 6, 2015 by J Matthew Cobb in Vault

B&W video footage surfaces online of Prince’s Controversy tour stop at the small Capitol Theater

When Prince’s road show began after the drop of his breakthrough self-titled sophomore LP, he was originally opening for Rick James. By the time the provocative Dirty Mind and the better-embraced Controversy dropped, Prince had already amassed a number of hits to headline his own show. He had also outdone James on a number of levels. The multi-talented Prince had even worked up a tight talent contract with Warner Bros. to producer records on other funk experiments, leading to productions on The Time and later, Vanity 6. Heck, Thrilller didn’t drop until much later in the fall, so even MJ was still in his cocoon state as a pop god. By the beginning of 1982’s Controversy Tour, Prince was bettering his live show, crafting an elaborate live experience full of outrageous kink, blazing guitar solos and plenty of dexterous showmanship.

At the 3,200-seat Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey, Prince is unapologetic in giving the audience an uncensored display of wild funk with some of the. It’s a trimmed set compared to what he had to offer months later when he transformed into pop god with Purple Rain, but Prince worked with what he had. With ten songs in tow, lots of extended jams and only one song for an encore (“Jack U Off), Prince’s 1982 set is clearly a perfect glimpse into a star learning, building and flowing confidently in his craft. He performs with the intention of conquering the music scene, even if he’s lacking something as gigantic as “Purple Rain” or the glorious pop tunes from 1999 (“Little Red Corevette,” “1999”). But Prince is still entertaining through and through. He inserts sanctified gospel into “Dirty Mind” (“Let’s go to church, y’all”) and goes for sexual rebellion on a lengthy guitar solo showing the Purple One stroking his guitar’s neck like a massive dildo.





The black and white bootleg footage taken from the venue’s recording system gives us a window into pre-superstar Prince, when funk was still the main entree. His band is also in amazing form, and deservingly so. They are the principle players that made up The Revolution: Bobby Z on drums, Brownmark on bass, Dez Dickerson on guitar, Dr. Fink and Lisa Coleman both on keys.

Opening Prince’s show is his talented  love child The Time. Frontman Morris Day croons like a Prince clone, but with a tighter emphasis on goofiness and slapstick. It works totally for Day’s ego as a frontman. Although the multi-talented Prince pulled off every note on The Time’s debut album, the band’s roster including guitarist Jesse Johnson, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, drummer Jellybean Johnson clearly could pull off their and Prince’s show, if he ever allowed it. By the time, they kicked out jams like “Get It Up” and the outrageous rocker “Cool,” the New Jersey crowd was living in a frenzy.






The rumor, backed up by Day’s testimony (on the companion DVD for The Original 7ven’s Condensate), was that Prince was often intimidated by The Time’s pre-show. Things would rise to a boil when Prince started an egg fight with The Time while in the middle of their performance at the tour’s final stop in Cincinnati, Ohio. True story.

Prince Setlist:

The Second Coming
Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?
I Wanna Be Your Lover
Dirty Mind
Do Me, Baby
Let’s Work

Jack U Off

The Time Playlist:

The Stick
Dance To The Beat
Oh, Baby
Get It Up

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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