Dire warning that could see Prince fans sent home

Prince will perform two shows in Auckland tonight, his first ever concerts in New Zealand. Photo / Ian Dickson, Redferns
Prince will perform two shows in Auckland tonight, his first ever concerts in New Zealand. Photo / Ian Dickson, Redferns

Prince ticketholders have been sent strict instructions about tonight's first New Zealand shows by the megastar - including no cellphones.

The Purple Rain and Kiss hitmaker performs his first ever shows in New Zealand at Auckland's ASB Theatre tonight, one at 6.30pm, the second at 10pm.

Tickets for both shows sold out in less than 10 minutes, and in an anti-scalping measure, fans won't be getting their passes until this afternoon.

As of this morning, a small selection of tickets were available for both shows around the $400 range after a selection of "production tickets" were released.

But in an email sent to all ticketholders, promoters outlined strict concert guidelines that included anyone using a cellphone being escorted from the venue.

"Strictly no photography or video allowed. The use of mobile phones will not be permitted during the show. Any person using a mobile phone or camera/video device will be identified by security and asked to leave the venue immediately."

Cellphones and selfie sticks have become a common sight at concerts in recent years, with fans either filming segments or snapping photos as mementos.

One Prince fan who saw him perform in London recently said the same rules applied and people were asked to leave at the beginning of the show.

But by the end, cellphone usage was overwhelming and security gave up, she said.

Other guidelines emailed to ticketholders yesterday included "large handbags or other large bags" being checked in, and fans arriving with tickets and wristbands intact.

Prince is extremely strict about his music, refusing to put his videos on YouTube or allow his songs to be streamed on most music services.

As a result, little footage has been captured from his recent Australian shows - but he did post this "snippet" on his Twitter account.


His Australian shows have received rave reviews, however, with the Daily Review saying: "Prince's showmanship (honed over four decades) had the audience eating out of his hand every second he was on stage".

Read more: Aussie reviews say 'nobody does it like Prince'

Prince's Auckland shows may be just solo performances at the keyboard, as the Piano and a Microphone tour name suggests.

But a check of setlists from his Australian concerts show he's still performing many of his originally funk-powered or guitar-fuelled hits from across his 39 studio albums - albeit in rearranged-for-piano versions, sometimes also accompanied by synthesizer strings, and sometimes just in snatches as part of medleys and mash-ups.

His Australian shows started with performances of 20-song sets in Melbourne. But the song-counts hit the mid to high 20s in his shows at the Sydney Opera House and the city's State Theatre last weekend.

Fans tonight can expect to hear many of his 80s classics including Purple Rain, Kiss and Little Red Corvette.

As well, there will be newer songs, deep cuts and the possibility of one or two covers. The ones Prince has been performing live recently including Bob Marley's Waiting in Vain, Ray Charles' Unchain My Heart, Sly and the Family Stone's Stand!, and Joni Mitchell's A Case of You.

The email told ticketholders, who paid between $99 for the cheap seats or $950 for a VIP experience, are required to pick up their wrist bands and tickets from Aotea Centre from midday.

"The purchaser and their guest must attend together to collect tickets as all ticket holders must be wrist banded at the time of ticket collection." the email said.

"Photo ID and the credit card used will be required to match the name previously advised and must be shown to collect tickets.

"Wristbands must be collected by the purchaser who is the only person authorised to collect and use tickets/wristbands," it continued.

And fans were advised to look after their tickets and wristbands, as there is "no admittance and no refund will apply for wristbands lost or damaged".

* nzherald.co.nz will have a full review after Prince's 6.30pm show.

- nzherald.co.nz

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