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Prince: Everyone should experience 'Purple Rain' live

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You know those shivers you get down the back of your neck every time you hear the crashing majesty of 'Purple Rain'? Prince feels the same way. "Everybody should experience this song in concert at least once in their lives," he told TheFIX. "No one experience is the same."

His Royal Badness plays Sydney's Allphones Arena tonight, the first show of his breathlessly-anticipated Welcome 2 Australia tour. Prince hasn't graced our shores since 2003, and predicts this trip will be "the best" because of the crew he has assembled for the tour.

"These people are sooo much fun!" he enthused.

"We actually enjoy one another's company and it's reflected onstage every night."

Aussie fans are expecting a lengthy set from the pop legend, heavy on his greatest hits. And while the born-again Jehovah's Witness omits the more sexually-charged songs from his live show these days, there's no track that he's truly sick of performing.

"It used to be 'Little Red Corvette' until we re-worked it into a slow blues," he explained. "It's hot now. A good example of song evolution over time. We actually know better what the song is about now."

Prince describes himself as "out of the loop" when it comes to modern Australian music, but there's no doubt as to who he thinks is the reigning, er, "prince" of pop. "Need you ask?" he smiled. "Seriously ... it's not a question for an artist to answer. It's really up to individual choice.

"Every artist who's really nice with it would vote for themselves. Who's your favourite? [TheFIX: You are, Prince!]"

When he's not demonstrating why he is arguably one of music's all-time greatest artists, Prince devours new sounds, and cites Lianne La Havas, his guitarist Mr. McKee, support act Delilah and babin' collaborator Andy Allo as his "fave" new music.

But when it comes to all-time favourites, long-time collaborator Larry Graham is his top pick.

"He reminds us all of what was great in the past," he said.

"Everyone who meets him has the same response. He's a kind man who is always encouraging. After a shred with him you feel like you can conquer anything."

Famously private, and even weary of having his music on the internet, Prince's longevity in music has come from a very different approach to that of fellow 53-year-old Madonna.

"Every artist approaches this from a different angle," he said carefully. "[Madonna] has actually become quite successful on her own terms.

"To us, [credibility] is all subjective. I started off primarily as a live performer, who mastered the studio at an early age by actually owning one.

"Warner Bros. granted rights unheard of at the time that allowed us the freedom to produce music unencumbered. Working without a net or a ceiling benefits us greatly. Thus, music became a real job, not a hobby.

"The music we create supports families and dreams. Both of which are quite big now."

Madonna may still be in the charts thanks to her dance-music-in-leotards approach, but most of Prince's 80s pop peers, most notably Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, weren't so lucky.

When we asked Prince why the thought he escaped a similar fate, he responded by urging us to watch a YouTube video.

The 20-minute clip was a talk from Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert.

The 2009 speech was concerned with how the pressure of being considered a "genius" affects the creative process.

It's a funny and intriguing talk — just like Prince himself. Count ourselves lucky that he's turning out to be one of pop's top survivors.

Prince: Welcome To Australia tour
Melbourne: Rod Laver Arena, May 14, 15 and 30.
Sydney: All Phones Arena, May 11, 12 and 22.
Brisbane: Entertainment Centre, May 18 and 26.

Additional tickets have just been released, from $99. Visit Ticketek for more information.

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