Fine Line Cafe 2CD
Catalog # 4DF 023/024
Release Year  2005
2CD Length 54:00 / 55:16
Date/Venue Fine Line Cafe, Minneapolis 5th December 1987
Source Audience Recording
Quality VG+
Rating 4.5/5.0

Track Listing
Disc 1
Fine Line Cafe, Minneapolis 5th December 1987
1. Instrumental Jam 2. Eleven 3. Horn Solo 4. Villanova Junction 5. Just My Imagination 6. Bass Solo

Disc 2
1. Freddie Freeloader 2. Jack U Off 3. Drum Solo 4. Chain Of Fools (including It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night) 5. Housequake (including Cold Sweat)

[Madhouse Opening Act - Sign O' The Times Tour - Stadion Galgenwaard, Utrecht : 20th June 1987]
6. Mutiny 7. Two 8. Three 9. Band Introductions 10. Six

Deane's Comments (rates this release 4.5/5.0)
Formerly circulating as two largely unfancied, horrible-sounding double CD sets, 4DaFunk have pulled out all stops in their pursuit of a definitive version of Fine Line Cafe and have enhanced the existing material, with wonderful results. You will, in fact, find no better-sounding document of this performance anywhere else.

The surprise gig kicks off with a subdued instrumental jam which is essentially the band trying to find their feet onstage. Fifteen minutes into the warm-up a loop of "baby doll house" is played over the PA. The band then launches into a thirteen-minute version of Madhouse's "11" which sees Prince noodling on his guitar whilst an insistent synth lingers in the background. A kick drum signals the beginning of another instrumental jam slightly faster in tempo and eerily reminiscent of "The Rainbow Children", dominated by Levi Seacer's bass and Dr. Fink's attempts to liven things up a little with some synth touches. Atlanta Bliss then makes his entrance with some well concocted fugelhorn embellishments, earning him the first applause of the evening. Not to be outdone, Eric Leeds then solos on saxophone only to be drowned out by conversation from the audience. Taking charge, Sheila E. varies the tempo encouraging Eric to stalk her beat (and bailing him out in the process) before Prince once again reaches for his guitar and conjures up licks that wouldn't feel out of place on N.E.W.S. (this is still 1987, folks). The jam stops before the annoying "baby doll house" loop is once again brought to the fore. Cue: a baffling re-start of Madhouse's "11" which is mercifully aborted after just one minute, leading one to conclude that the reprise was just a fuck-up that wasn't supposed to be in the script in the first place. The guitar intro to "Just My Imagination" provides light at the end of a particularly dreary tunnel, only for the track to be faded out after a mere two minutes. Perhaps the bootlegger ran out of tape. Perhaps there really is no God up above... Regardless, the recording is faded back in to the strains of Jimi Hendrix's "Villanova Junction", with Prince in simmering melancholy mood on guitar, to the delight of those in attendance. During an interlude, it is left up to Sheila E. to keep the audience interested with some drum soloing, presumably whilst the rest of the band leave the stage for a quick shag, a slash and a fag.

Disc two starts with Prince and the band delighting jazz fans with a faithful cover of Miles Davis' "Freddie Freeloader" during which Atlanta Bliss, Prince, and Eric Leeds all take turns in a showcase-cum-beauty contest of mood, melody and atmosphere whilst, in the middle of it all Dr. Fink propels the 12-bar blues along with some terrific piano playing. Suddenly, a real surprise is sprung by the band: a jazzed-up version of "Jack U Off" is served out of the blue (or should that read "out of the blues"?) as a faster-tempo Madhouse-style number, given a proper kick in the backside by a New Orleans-style horn section and Prince's guitar sparring ferociously with Levi Seacer's rumbling bass. This is followed by a more animated drum solo by Sheila E., who grants the musicians another chance to catch their breath before coming back for a riotous big-band finale. A funky guitar gives way to an instrumental piece combining elements of Aretha Franklin's "Chain Of Fools" with James Brown's "Cold Seat", sounding like a rehearsal for what was to come later that same month when "It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night" was played as an extended jam during the famous New Year's Eve benefit gig at Paisley Park, with Miles Davis participating.

A bassline suddenly mimicks "Housequake"'s well-familiar signature drum kick before Prince initiates a chant of "if you can't rock steady, shut up already", which is enthusiastically picked up by gatecrashers in the audience who finally get to hear something they can sing along to. The horn section then brings the number to a conclusion with a slowed-down motif culled from "It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night", before the recording is faded out.

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