Prince’s Unforgettable Performance at Montreal Jazz Festival

The late Prince was known for defying expectations and doing things his own way. This was evident during his headline show at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2011, where he famously opened for himself in disguise. The reason behind this bold move was to counter a press insinuation questioning his presence at the festival.

Despite the festival’s jazz-focused reputation, it had expanded its musical lineup to include non-jazz acts like Bryan Adams and metal band Voivod, attracting a diverse audience. Prince, always up for a challenge, took the stage at the Metropolis venue for a two-night stand, promising his signature showmanship and surprises.

The first night, coinciding with the festival, turned out to be anything but ordinary. Retiring MJF co-founder André Ménard described it as the most astonishing show in the festival’s history. Prince, reacting to a newspaper article criticizing the festival’s decision to book him, held a three-hour rehearsal before the show, leaving no time for a dinner break for his band.

Taking the stage in disguise, Prince wowed the audience with an hour of improvised music, surprising many attendees. He then returned for a set of all his hits, performing for a total of four hours and delivering six encores. The show received rave reviews from outlets like The Globe and Mail, showcasing Prince’s undeniable talent and showmanship.

Despite the lack of footage capturing Prince’s musical prank, Ménard reflected on the night as a magical experience that showcased Prince’s unparalleled talent. The lesson learned from Prince’s performance was clear: never tell him what to do. It was a night that truly encapsulated the essence of Prince’s artistry and creativity, leaving a lasting impact on all those in attendance.

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