Gary Flockhart: Prince could boost city music scene

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WHAT a difference a year makes. Usually, that’s a line that’s followed by a positive but, sadly, not this time.

Twelve months ago in this space, encouraged by the amount of top-drawer artists heading this way, I celebrated the fact Edinburgh was no longer the poor cousin to Glasgow in respect of live music.

Seems I may have jumped the gun somewhat. After looking at the ‘What’s On’ listings today, I couldn’t find a single gig to excite me.

Even the now annual Castle concerts in July – Jessie J, Runrig and Paul Weller – have me less than satisfied and I pine for at least one bona fide superstar to play here.

Rumours abound that Prince is planning a tour of small venues in the UK this summer and, should there be any truth in it, I pray the Minneapolis maestro looks this way.

According to reports, His Purpleness has asked his promoters to look for small venues he can play in after enjoying his recent appearance at the SXSW festival in Texas, where he played in front of just 300 people.

I was saying on these pages just the other week how Edinburgh is crying out for a decent-sized venue but, for once, it could be to our advantage that what we have instead is a plethora of smaller gig spaces.

Prince is on a US tour of modest-sized club shows and, apparently, wants to do the same in the UK.

Whether he does or not remains to be seen but, should he, he’d be spoiled for choice in the Capital.

What might put the wee man off, however, is the fact that last time he played here it was memorable for all the wrong reasons. Indeed, it was less a case of Purple Rain and more a case of torrential rain as the pint-sized singer struggled with the elements during his visit to Meadowbank Stadium in 1993.

The man once insistent on being known only by a glyphic squiggle was so unimpressed, he decided to get out of Edinburgh as quickly as he could, despite having booked the entire second floor of the Balmoral hotel for himself and his entourage.

Here’s hoping Prince doesn’t bear a grudge and comes here again – he is, quite simply, the greatest performer I have ever seen.