AUSTIN, Texas -- On the last night of this year's South by Southwest music festival -- when many attendees were probably thinking about spending the next several weeks lying down in a quiet room -- Prince threw a party that nobody wanted to leave.
Headlining a double bill Saturday at La Zona Rosa that also included A Tribe Called Quest, the pop superstar took the stage after midnight and didn't get off until 3 a.m. Actually, he disappeared on several occasions, but each time the crowd -- which included Dennis Quaid, Paloma Faith and Questlove of the Roots, who apparently headed over after his gig across town with Justin Timberlake -- drew Prince back with cheers that felt more like a collective demand. By the end of the show, which was hosted by Samsung Galaxy, he'd done six encores, and earned all of them.
"I love being a musician," he said near the climax of a long, beautiful version of "Purple Rain." "It feels like a servant -- a servant to you."
Backed by an ultra-tight 22-piece band and dressed in a dark suit over a high-collared hot-pink shirt, Prince mixed classics such as "1999," "U Got the Look" and "The Glamorous Life" (which he originally wrote for his protege Sheila E.) with deep cuts and covers of tunes by James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Michael and Janet Jackson. He did spirited vamps on "Extraloveable" and the Time's "Jungle Love" and stripped everything down for a haunting piano-ballad take on "Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)." And he definitely made the house quake with "Housequake."