Controversy Tour

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Controversy Tour
Tour by Prince
Associated albumControversy
Start dateNovember 20, 1981
End dateMarch 14, 1982
No. of shows61
Prince concert chronology

The Controversy Tour was a concert tour by American recording artist Prince in support of his fourth studio album Controversy. The tour included Zapp and Roger and The Time as an opening act.


The Controversy Tour marked the debut of Mark Brown, a.k.a. Brown Mark, on bass guitar, replacing the departed André Cymone, and the introduction of Prince's new bodyguard, Chick Huntsberry. At first, Prince contemplated dismissing the huge Huntsberry after only being on tour with him for a few days, as Prince thought he was too big and he scared him. Guitarist Dez Dickerson talked him out of it and he eventually became a confidant to Prince and later appeared in Purple Rain as a bouncer.[1] This tour was also notable for Prince's new side group The Time joining him on tour and the resulting backstage drama and arising tension that developed between the two bands.

Although The Time became superstars overnight with their debut album, The Time, they were frustrated at the lack of input they contributed to the album as, with the exception of Morris Day, they did not write or play their own music and were only being paid as a live act. During the tour, The Time would put on such a great show during their set that it began to worry Prince just how good they had become and with them performing right before his set, began to feel they were outshining him, so much so, that during the 1982–1983 1999 Tour, he kicked them off the tour for being so good.[2]

The conflict came to a head on the final night of the tour in Cincinnati as during The Time's set, Prince and some of the members in his band began egging them from off stage. Near the end of the set, they grabbed Jerome Benton from the stage and proceeded to "tar and feather" him by pouring honey all over him and dumping trash on him. Things got further escalated after The Time's performance, guitarist Jesse Johnson was handcuffed to a wall-mounted coat rack and further humiliated with Prince throwing Doritos and other food at him. When The Time went to retaliate, they were stopped by the tour manager and told there would be no interruptions during Prince's performance, but as soon as he left the stage, a food fight erupted between the two bands. When the battle continued at the hotel causing damage, Prince made Morris Day pay for all damages, claiming that he had started the whole thing.[1]

Opening acts[edit]

Set list[edit]

November 20, 1981 at the Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  1. "The Second Coming"
  2. "Sexuality"
  3. "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?"
  4. "Jack U Off"
  5. "When You Were Mine"
  6. "I Wanna Be Your Lover"
  7. "Head"
  8. "Annie Christian"
  9. "Dirty Mind"
  10. "Do Me, Baby"
  11. "Let's Work"
  12. "Controversy "
  13. "Uptown"
  14. "Partyup"

January 30, 1982 at the Capitol Theatre, Passaic, New Jersey

  1. "The Second Coming"
  2. "Uptown"
  3. "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?"
  4. "I Wanna Be Your Lover"
  5. "Head"
  6. "Dirty Mind"
  7. "Do Me, Baby"
  8. "Controversy"
  9. "Let's Work"
  10. "Jack U Off"

Tour dates[edit]

Prior to the tour, in October 1981 Prince played two shows at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as an opening act for The Rolling Stones. On the first date, Prince and his band did not finish their set, as the crowd turned hostile towards him. Dressed in his controversial bikini briefs and trench coat, and singing his sexually androgynous lyrics, he was run off stage after 25 minutes of the crowd booing, throwing shoes and beer bottles at him.[3] Off stage, security escorted Prince to his trailer, they described him as emotionally distraught and crying softly. He was later heard cussing at his band and swearing he would never open for the Rolling Stones again.

After the show, Prince immediately flew back home to Minneapolis. After speaking with Dez Dickerson, manager Steve Fargnoli, and Mick Jagger himself, they convinced him to return for the second concert. Amidst the same hostility, as The Rolling Stones' fans heard about the incident at the first concert and came prepared to dog Prince again, Prince and his band finished their set this time. Backstage, Prince referred to the crowd as, "Tasteless in music and mentally retarded."

Date City Country Venue Attendance/Capacity Gross (in 2019 dollars)
North America
November 20, 1981 Pittsburgh United States Stanley Theater
November 21, 1981 Washington, D.C. Warner Theatre 2,000/3,400 (59%)[4]
November 25, 1981 Greenville Greenville Memorial Auditorium
November 26, 1981 Baltimore Baltimore Civic Center
November 27, 1981 Charlotte Charlotte Coliseum
November 29, 1981 Nashville Nashville Municipal Auditorium
December 2, 1981 New York City The Palladium
December 4, 1981 Detroit Joe Louis Arena
December 5, 1981 Chicago Arie Crown Theater (2 shows) 8,638/8,638 (100%)[5] $254,138[5]
December 6, 1981 St. Louis Kiel Auditorium
December 9, 1981 Houston The Summit
December 10, 1981 Atlanta The Omni
December 11, 1981 Winston-Salem Winston-Salem Memorial Coliseum
December 12, 1981 Columbia Carolina Coliseum
December 13, 1981 Fayetteville Cumberland County Memorial Arena
December ??, 1981 Savannah Savannah Civic Center
December 17, 1981 Columbus Columbus Municipal Auditorium
December 18, 1981 Baton Rouge Riverside Centroplex
December 19, 1981 Dallas Dallas Convention Center
December 20, 1981 Houston The Summit 16,207/17,000 (95%)[6] $548,997[6]
December 26, 1981 Milwaukee MECCA Arena
December 27, 1981 Dayton Hara Arena
December 28, 1981 Toledo Toledo Sports Arena 4,325/6,500 (67%)[7]
December 29, 1981 Columbus Veterans Memorial Auditorium
December 30, 1981 Louisville Louisville Gardens 6,850/6,850 (100%)[8]
December 31, 1981 Macon Macon Coliseum 8,400/9,252 (91%)[9] $202,441[9]
January 2, 1982 Lakeland Lakeland Civic Center
January 3, 1982 Jacksonville Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum
January 28, 1982 Richmond Richmond Coliseum
January 29, 1982 Landover Capital Centre
January 30, 1982 Passaic Capitol Theatre [10] [11]
February 1, 1982 Ann Arbor Hill Auditorium
February 4, 1982 Saginaw Saginaw Civic Center
February 5, 1982 Cleveland Cleveland Public Auditorium
February 6, 1982 Normal ISU-Braden Auditorium
February 7, 1982 Omaha Omaha Civic Auditorium
February 9, 1982 Denver Denver Auditorium
February 11, 1982 San Diego San Diego Convention Center
February 12, 1982 Santa Monica Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
February 13, 1982 San Bernardino Orange Pavilion
February 14, 1982 San Francisco Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
February 15, 1982
February 18, 1982 Kansas City Uptown Theater
February 19, 1982 Martin UT-Martin Fieldhouse
February 20, 1982 Birmingham Birmingham–Jefferson Civic Center
February 21, 1982 Indianapolis Indiana Convention Center
February 24, 1982 Memphis Mid-South Coliseum
February 25, 1982 Monroe Monroe Civic Center
February 26, 1982 Augusta Augusta Civic Center
February 27, 1982 Montgomery Garrett Coliseum
February 28, 1982 New Orleans Saenger Theatre
March 3, 1982 Boston Orpheum Theatre
March 5, 1982 Rockford Rockford MetroCentre
March 6, 1982 Davenport Palmer Auditorium
March 7, 1982 Bloomington Met Center
March 11, 1982 Hampton Hampton Coliseum
March 12, 1982 Raleigh Dorton Arena
March 13, 1982 Upper Darby Tower Theater
March 14, 1982 Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum

The band[edit]


  1. ^ a b Alex Hahn (2003). "Possessed: The Rise And Fall Of Prince". Billboard Books.
  2. ^ Jason Draper (2008). "Prince: Life & Times". Jawbone Press.
  3. ^ "Rolling Stones Open 2-Day Stand In LA", Oxnard (CA) Press-Courier, October 10, 1981, p3
  4. ^ "21 November 1981-1 - Prince Vault". Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  5. ^ a b "Billboard Magazine- 12-19-1981" (PDF).
  6. ^ a b "20 December 1981 - Prince Vault". Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  7. ^ "28 December 1981 - Prince Vault". Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  8. ^ "30 December 1981 - Prince Vault". Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  9. ^ a b "31 December 1981 - Prince Vault". Retrieved 2019-02-27.
  10. ^ YouTube - Morris Day & The Time @ Capitol Theatre 01/30/82
  11. ^ YouTube - Prince @ Capitol Theatre 01/30/82

External links[edit]