Prince Reigns Over SXSW

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Prince loomed over South By Southwest Music–first as a rumor, then as a confirmed booking that sent fans scurrying around Austin for a ticket giveaway, and finally as a smooth force whose nearly three-hour performance ended at 3 a.m. He led his 22-piece New Power Generation band through a dizzying run of classics, obscurities and covers.

He followed an emphatic set by A Tribe Called Quest, whose four members were tight despite rapper Q-Tip’s quip that they got hired for the show “at the last minute.” Later, pausing among songs like “Can I Kick It” and “Bonita Applebum,” when he sensed the crowd wasn’t reciprocating Tribe’s energy, he cracked, “maybe we should break up again for the third time.”

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