Some pop artists clearly benefit from visual interpretation of their songs. “No Rain,” Blind Melon’s current hit, probably wouldn’t be as memorable if the lonely little girl in the group’s MTV video didn’t find her friendly bees at the end.
Prince, on the other hand, should stick to live, bare-bone performances. His erotic retelling of Homer’s “Odyssey"--featuring 13 new Prince songs--before an industry audience on Saturday at Glam Slam, was simply silly.
“Glam Slam Ulysses,” which featured more than a dozen dancers--sans Prince, who was nowhere to be seen--in a 65-minute theater and video sketch, often came across as a high school pageant set in an early John Waters film.
To the funky song, “Interactive,” Ulysses vigorously kills a video-screen Cyclops with the phallic ankh-like symbol that Prince now defines himself by. Ulysses and Penelope--played by Paisley Park recording artist Carmen Electra--exit the stage clinging to a ship’s exaggerated mast, which spews confetti from the tip. Set in Hades, the erotic ballad “Loose” is illustrated by dancers on stilts wearing sexual devices on costumes that you wouldn’t expect anywhere but in an X-rated film.
Some of Prince’s songs Saturday were as inspired as any he has ever written. Now, if only he would forget about all this multimedia nonsense and get down on stage with a guitar.