A Tribe Called Quest and Prince closed out SXSW 2013 with authority last night at La Zona Rosa in Austin, Texas. The concert, sponsored by Samsung Galaxy, may have been titled #TheNextBigThing, but by the time these two veteran acts were finished tearing down the stage, one fact was abundantly clear: there is no simply substitute for experience and musical expertise.
Long lines formed hours ahead of showtime and wristband seekers flooded the streets in hopes of catching Prince's first-ever SXSW appearance. Samsung Galaxy users had a chance to win passes to go see the show along with VIPs like Nick Cannon, Solange Knowles, Dennis Quaid, Jesse Williams, Talib Kweli, Jim James, Mayer Hawthorne, and Isaiah Washington.
Tribe kicked it off (yes, they can) flexing their original four-man lineup including Jarobi, Phife, and Q-Tip on microphones and Ali Shaheed Muhammad in his familiar spot on the wheels of steel. Not only were the group's rhymes and routines as on point as ever—Jarobi knew all the words, even to songs he didn't appear on—but the group's personal chemistry appeared to be crackling once again, making this set of classics feel like much more than a sponsor money-grab. "They called us at the last minute," Tip remarked between songs. "I was chipping golf balls." Phife said he was "Jerkin' it." Tip later joked that "we should break up again for the third time." After they wrapped things up with "Award Tour," dreams of a Tribe reunion project were rekindled in the minds of many.
After a brief intermission Prince Rogers Nelson and his 22-piece band took the stage for a nonstop onslaught of funk and soul that flowed seamlessly from one jam to the next like a deluxe pleasure cruise. Ports of call along the way included "1999," "Purple Rain," and "Something in the Water" as well as a funked-up cover of Tevin Campbell's "Shhh." For the first of his six (!!!!!!) encores, the 54-year-old living legend selected Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough." But even five encores later, nobody in the place actually did get enough—sure was fun trying though.
Check Mikey Fresh's video footage and wish you were there: