Catalog # 4DF 035-036-037-038
Release Year 2006
4CD Length 61:56 / 74:00 / 58:36 / 71:45
Date/Venue Paisley Park Rehearsals 1987
Source Soundboard Recordings
Quality EX / EX+
The rehearsal on Discs 1 & 2 from 21st February is one of the clearest soundboard recordings from the era so any improvements 4DaFunk had to make have been minimal as it was so impressive to begin with. It's a fascinating look at the preparation for the early stage of the tour with 14 of the 16 tracks from the Sign O' The Times album performed and 'Kiss' being the only major "hit" played. Not only is it one of the best quality recordings, but it is also one of the best performed rehearsals with the band interacting between songs. Interestingly the 'Little Red Corvette' segue between 'Play In The Sunshine' and 'Housequake' is yet to be added to the set-list and Prince ends 'Play In The Sunshine' as on the album with an abrupt "Shut up already". 'The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker' is played (as it was once during the tour) segueing into 'Four'. 'Strange Relationship' includes the complete "squirrel meat" lyric from 'Superfunky' and is repeated again during 'It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night'. The remainder of Disc 2 contains a rehearsal concentrating on various takes of 'The Sex Of It'. It is dates as August/September 1987 however it's safe to assume it's from August as the first live performance of the song took place on 5th September and in this rehearsal the band are not at all familiar with the track. In terms of content it's not exactly the kind of rehearsal which would get multiple listens as the content is very repetitive. Prince talks the band through the changes, lyrics and music with a fair amount of emphasis on the horn part. The rehearsal suffered from a great deal of hiss and I'm pleasantly surprised at the amount this has been reduced on this particular version. It's still there, but only audible and noticeable at any great volume or with headphones on.
Disc 3 and part of Disc 4 contains the last circulating Sign O' The Times tour rehearsal. Presumably in preparation for the upcoming US tour which was talked about during the US promotion of the Sign O' The Times concert movie - yet another project which never saw the light of day. The main bulk of the European leg of the tour remains however 'Erotic City' (very similar to the Lovesexy tour opener) proceeds 'Housequake'. The mid-section of Disc 3 is radically different from any other Sign O' The Times rehearsal or show and contains both 'Do Me, Baby' and a full length 'Adore' (which unfortunately is incomplete and fades out around 5:45). 'Hot Thing' is followed by a lazy guitar groove and drum beat with the band whispering "Baby, baby what's your name?" and features Prince adding a few lines from both 'Love Or $' and 'Data Bank' before Dr. Fink cues in 'Let's Pretend We're Married' which in turn segues into 'Delirious' and 'Jack U Off' (again the latter two tracks reminiscent of the Lovesexy tour). The remainder of the rehearsal is unsurprising except the addition of 'U Got The Look' which was never played during the tour and a brief impersonation of Terence Trent Darby during 'It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night'. Throughout the show the energy level is high with Prince calling out "Pittsburgh" on various occasions. Similarly with the February 21st rehearsal, the quality of the recording is superb and it would be unfair of me to pass any criticism on it. There are a couple of fades in/out, but considering the overall quality it's really not such so major.
Disc 4 closes out with the 'Baby Go Go' rehearsal and is very
similar to the 'The Sex Of It' rehearsal in terms of content and quality. Prince
recited the lyrics to the track firstly ("Everyone got a pencil?") before they
rehearse various takes of the song both instrumental and with lyrics. Again, the
Sabotage version had an audible hiss which was slightly distracting, and 4DaFunk
have greatly reduced the hiss and cleaned up the sound. It's still not of
comparable quality to the 2 Sign O' The Times rehearsals featured on here, but
is far superior to the Sabotage version. Overall this is an excellent refreshed
version of one of the best bootlegs ever released. The corrected running speed
of the 21st February rehearsal is the main draw here, but throughout there are
various fixed glitches, etc which make this such a worthwhile release.