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How Prince had fond love for France and one Paris venue

As the world mourns the loss of one of the funkiest musicians in history, we investigate Prince's love for France and Paris .

How Prince had fond love for France and one Paris venue
Prince performing on stage at the Stade de France near Paris in 2011. Photo: AFP
The world was stunned on Thursday to learn of the death of US artist Prince at the age of 57, a week after he had been taken to hospital with a bad bout of influenza.
 
As the world mourned the loss of the musical genius, the French media reflected on the singer's love for France over the years. 
 
In an obituary in the Le Parisien newspaper, its music reporter recounted meeting the artist backstage in 2010, and in an unrecorded interview (Prince preferred to have a 'discussion'), he opened up about France.
 
“I love playing in France. I even plan to sing in every single concert hall in Paris. Anyway, I want to live in France,” Prince told the reporter.
 
“Paisley Park, my base in Minneapolis, is fine for business but I'd really like to move to France.”
 
Prince performing onstage at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris in 1990. Photo: AFP
 
Perhaps it's no surprise that Prince was a fan of France, as any French fans would be quick to tell you that the artist was no stranger to the country – especially the Riviera.
 
In fact, Prince even made headlines in August 2009 after performing two separate concerts in one night (with different set lists) at the Salle Garnier in Monaco. 
 
The singer was back on the Riviera again in July the next year, performing in Nice and then into the late hours in a Cannes nightclub. 
 
During the same visit, he even ordered his agent to lodge a bid to become owner of the Nice Jazz Festival, reported France Bleu newspaper, though the paperwork never went anywhere.
 
And Prince was no stranger to the lesser known venues in France. In fact, the New Morning jazz club (on the Rue des Petites Écuries in the tenth arrondissement) was one of his favourite haunts in Paris, reported Le Parisien newspaper
 
Alfred Bernardin, a Frenchman who acted as Prince's assistant in France, told the paper that when in Paris, Prince could arrive at the club as late as two in the morning and play until 6am. 
 
“He was full of energy. We were all a little tired, but not him,” he said. 
 
Bernardin said that working with Prince meant being a “yes man”, no matter how outlandish and fickle the singer could be.
 
He recounted, for example, how the Raspberry Beret singer found a “beautiful house” in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, with a studio basement for his music.  
 
“I rented it out for him for six months, but he never lived there,” the assistant said. 
 
He also shared stories of how Prince had planned a concert at the Chateau de Versailles in Paris that never came to fruition.
 
Prince's last show in France would have been at the Opera Garnier in Paris in December last year, though he cancelled the gig due to the November terror attacks. 
 
Authorities have not given a cause of death for the singer, who sold over 100 million albums in his lifetime. 
 
Prince performing onstage during his concert at the Bercy venue in Paris in 1987. Photo: AFP

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MUSIC

What are the best concerts in Sweden this autumn?

Now that Sweden has lifted its audience restrictions for public events, The Local's Paul O'Mahony lists his recommendations for the best gigs to attend over the coming months.

Crowd at a music concert in Debaser, Stockholm
Crowds return to Stockholm venue Debaser after pandemic restrictions on events were lifted. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Sweden’s musicians, concert promoters and venue operators have struggled to varying degrees through the pandemic. One surefire way to help get them back on their feet is to give organisers and artists the financial reassurance they need by pre-booking concerts. 

Of course these recommendations only apply if you feel safe attending large events; remember that you should stay home and take a Covid-19 test if you experience any symptoms that could be linked to the virus, even if vaccinated. And make sure to check with organisers if there are any specific coronavirus requirements you need to be aware of. 

Coming up: top gigs in Sweden over the next few months 

As a regular gig-goer, live music is the one thing I’ve missed most over the past year and a half. So it is with some excitement (and, I’ll admit, a degree of trepidation) that I prepare to go see Norwegian band Pom Poko this Friday at Hus 7 in Stockholm. Their melodic art-punk album Cheater sparked the year into life on its release in January. They’re also playing Plan B in Malmö on Saturday night

Plan B is also the venue when Squid hit Sweden with a thrilling dose of post-punk on October 15th. Tickets remain available for the show at the time of writing (an absolute steal at 120 kronor), though that’s sadly not the case in Stockholm where their October 16th gig at Melodybox sold out a long time ago. (Although you can sign up to be added to a waiting list). 

Another artist well worth checking out in October is Gothenburg guitarist and singer Amanda Werne, better known as Slowgold. Her live shows are great and she is embarking on a Swedish tour on October 8th. 

Emma-Jean Thackray, one of the UK’s most interesting jazz artists, will be at Fasching in Stockholm on October 15th

For the best kind of sonic assault, Anna von Hasswolff’s band Bada are scheduled to play in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg in late October. 

Have any of you ever seen Gothenburg electronic veterans Little Dragon live? I haven’t but might check them out in November when they swing by Malmö, Stockholm and Gothenburg

Amason are also heading out on the road for a Scandinavian tour in November. If you haven’t heard Amanda Bergman’s voice in a live setting before this will be a treat. 

The inimitable Sibille Attar released her superb second album A History of Silence at the start of the year and she’s finally getting the chance to play her eighties-inspired gems live at Slaktkyrkan in Stockholm on November 18th

Cassandra Jenkins long lurked in the background as a musician in touring bands for people like Eleanor Friedberger and Purple Mountains. But this year’s album An Overview on Phenomenal Nature has really established her as an artist to be reckoned with in her own right. She’s coming to Södra Teatern in Stockholm on November 26th

Always popular in this part of the world, The Jesus and Mary Chain return to Sweden for dates in Stockholm and Gothenburg at the end of November

Wry Finland-Swedish indie outfit Vasas Flora och Fauna have some of the funniest (Swedish) lyrics and catchiest tunes around. They’ll be in Stockholm and Gothenburg the first weekend of December

UK experimental rockers Black Midi are also playing Stockholm and Gothenburg on December 4th and 5th. So prepare to travel if you want to catch both them and Vasas Flora and Fauna. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Bob Hund’s annual ‘week 48’ show also takes place on December 4th. But that has been sold out for ages so no decisions to make there. It is also worth noting though that Sweden’s hardest working band has also written a musical that’s going to be performed in Helsingborg (October-November) and Gothenburg (November)

Bonus: For a post-Christmas pick-me-up try to get down to Little Simz at Slaktkyrkan on January 14th if you’re in Stockholm. The UK rapper’s new album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is one of this year’s best releases. 

Selected artists playing Sweden in 2022: Henry Rollins, Sarah Klang, Yann Tiersen, Mogwai, Pearl Charles, Wolf Alice, Lloyd Cole, Lord Huron, Future Islands, Josh Rouse + Vetiver, Tricky, Snail Mail, Porridge Radio, Aldous Harding, Shame, The Kooks, The War on Drugs, Echo and the Bunnymen, Kings of Convenience, Fontaines D.C., Alex Cameron, Lucy Dacus, The Divine Comedy, Mdou Moctar, Iggy Pop, Chubby and the Gang, Sparks, Belle & Sebastian, The National, Sharon Van Etten, Teenage Fanclub, Tindersticks, Suede, Viagra Boys, Pavement. 

For bigger arena shows, Ticketmaster covers a lot of the bases. Big-name acts with gigs in the offing include Ed Sheeran, Zara Larsson, Whitesnake and, lest we forget, ABBA

And that’s just a fraction of what’s going on. Tour schedules are busier than ever now that artists are finally getting back on the road. To keep track of what gigs are coming up I can recommend checking in with Luger, FKP Scorpio, and Live Nation. Follow your favourite venues too: sometimes they cut out the middleman and do their own booking and promotion. I also use the Bandsintown app, which comes with the added bonus of receiving messages from your favourite artists which let you pretend to be their friend. 

Enjoy the gigs, and stay safe! 

Paul O’Mahony is editorial product manager at The Local. In his spare time he plays the best new indie and alternative music as host of the Signals show on Nerve Music.

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