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Women Who Rock Review

15 March 2019

March 11, 2019

I flew into Minneapolis with my wife Isadora on Sunday excited for the show we were about to see the following evening! It was Isadora's first time watching a show live at Paisley Park. We met up with my friend Tamiko from Chicago. She was always my “plus one” back in the days when we would buy tickets online, patiently waiting for tickets to go on sale. Whoever would get online first would get the other a ticket, and vice versa.  It always worked out.  This time, we didn’t need to purchase a ticket for a show. It was free!!!  Just get your bootie to MPLS!!!

Monday night we started getting ready to head out into the cold 30 degree weather of Minnesota. I heard that a few nights earlier a snowstorm came through and left behind all this fresh snow. The day we arrived and the day to follow (Monday) it was warmer then usual…a hot and sweaty 30 degrees!!! Yay!  

U can’t drive around Minnesota or anywhere around town without playing Prince. It’s a must for me when I drive there, especially the day of the show where we headed out to the meeting place of the Chanhassen High School to check in and get on the shuttle to Paisley Park.  My friend Tamiko was able to get 2 tickets and her plus one wasn’t able to make it, so we met a couple of woman from Minnesota who thought they were able to get in when they realized they were on a “waiting list”.  Fortunately, Tamiko and another gentleman had an extra ticket so the ladies were ecstatic that they were on their way to Paisley to watch the event.  

The Women Who Rock Paisley Park is an event put together by SAP, an organization that is truly about empowering individuals, especially women.  So the event wasn’t only a meet up for their company, it was a celebration of women in music.  Once on the bus, we headed towards Paisley!!! There were several shuttles picking up and dropping off people their for the event.  Walking into the doors of Paisley is always a bittersweet feeling since Prince’s ascension, yet I knew the event would be so amazing.  

There were several high top tables set up in the main concert room where there were cool goodies laid out, like light up glasses and light up wristbands and a blow up guitar.  People were coming into the main room quickly, so we took to a table dead center close to the stage.  

An introduction to the show took place by representatives of SAP and they brought out the host of the evening, Shelby J.  She came out and revealed the first performer, Judith Hill!!

Judith performed several songs from her two albums. Of course the sound at Paisley is impeccable and she sounded amazing as always. Her vocals are so beautiful. It was her first time coming back to Paisley since Prince’s ascension. It was nice to see her feel at home performing on stage. Judith of course brought along her mom on keyboards and her dad on bass, which is always a pleasure to see. I love the way they can funk things up on stage!!! Some of the songs Judith performed were “As Trains Go By”, “My People”, “Jammin’ In The Basement”, “The Pepper Club”, “Chasing Rainbows” and “Irreplaceable Love” to name a few.  I love hearing her live… she has such a strong and uplifting voice.  

After a brief change of instrument set up, Shelby J came back on stage to introduce Donna Grantis. I wasn’t really sure what her sound was going to be like, I thought maybe rock or alternative. Donna played from her upcoming album Diamonds & Dynamite. A wonderful array of sound and beats, very funky and very eclectic sounding, enter her electric guitar….which blends well with the style.  I loved it.  No vocals just instrumental. I can’t wait to get a copy of her album. I couldn’t help notice, Donna is pregnant!!! Donna is still rocking’ it up on stage regardless of her pregnancy. Her husband Trevor was holding their little boy (and soon to be “big brother”) in the audience close to us. U can see the eye contact Donna would make with her son as she played. It was the cutest sight. Her band sounded super tight and I am excited she is touring this album and I hope to catch them when they come into Los Angeles. Towards the end of her set Donna was very thankful for the opportunity to play and be back at Paisley to perform.  

Another change up on stage, Shelby J came out to ask the Deejay to play some songs while the stage folks set up for the next performers, the Deejay broke into “Chelsea Rodgers” and Shelby J couldn’t help but sing a few verses before heading backstage. Some of the audience members were dancing. There were a group of teenagers who were feeling the grooves and started a dance circle which turned into loads of fun!!  I ended up in the middle of this circle just taking in the energy of these kids while the deejay went in to “Housequake”.  

Shelby came back on stage to introduce Liv Warfield and her band.  Liv set the stage on fire with her grand vocals and singing style.  She is truly a wonderful singer. She draws you in with her vocals and allows you to feel it.  Liv performed “The Unexpected”, “Why Do You Lie”, and “Blackbird” to name a few.  A stage presence so captivating I was truly drawn in and at one point I was in tears. I always love watching her sing.  Such a powerful vocal explosion and her band….damn, just stunner!!  

Another break between performers, Shelby J came out to thank SAP for the event and introduce the last musician, Sheila E.  I’ve been an avid follower of Sheila since she started with Prince and her first album The Glamorous Life and I love watching her kick butt on stage.  Sheila came out with her band and started off with one of her songs from her Iconic album “Funky National Anthem: Message 2 America” where she reminds us that our freedom and our voice is important for the nation and then rocking into a funky set that featured “Holly Rock”, “The Belle Of St Mark”, “A Love Bizarre”, “Sister Fate”, “Get On The Boat” and “The Glamorous Life”. She played timbales throughout the night and got on the guitar and walk through the audience at one point during her show.  At one point, Sheila broke into an instrumental version of “Purple Rain” which had me in tears, and she wanted to remind the audience and all that came to the event that “love” is something we need to express, because not everyone hears it as often as they should.  She wanted us to turn to a stranger and say “I love you” which everyone did…it was beautiful. The night had a curfew and Sheila was reminded of it.  She stated that Paisley never had a curfew. LOL. But this evening it did, so she wanted to capture a few more songs in a medley.  She performed a short rendition of the songs from her Prince Tribute from the BET Awards 2016.  Judith Hill, Shelby J, Liv Warfield all joined the band on stage for this grand performance which was so awesome to witness.  It was a great way to end the evening.

As the night came to an end, I was leaving Paisley Park once again.  I started thinking about Judith, Donna, Liv, Shelby and Sheila E.  The air that evening was filled with the music of these women who have been part of Prince’s legacy and sound for years.  These women are strong, creative and talented human beings and are a great gift to the musical world. 

I’m sure Prince is up in heaven giving them all a standing ovation. 

- Angela