How did Prince close out South by Southwest Music Festival's weeklong showcase of rock n' roll?
By naturally throwing a totally different kind of party: a grooving, brass band-backed funk fest that stretched to 3 a.m. and outlasted many fans lucky enough to get inside the exclusive show that also featured A Tribe Called Quest.
As Justin Timberlake and the Smashing Pumpkins headlined other SXSW wrap-ups nearby, Prince prevailed as the toughest ticket Saturday night by performing for only 300 people in his first appearance at the annual music festival that drew 2,200 bands and artists this year.
Prince towered over them all — but his concert at the tiny La Zona Rosa club that sits on the fringe of the SXSW mayhem was no grandiose spectacle. He performed for 2½ hours on a spartan stage behind a giant video board. He contentedly played bandleader instead of superstar, often disappearing backstage for stretches as the band jammed.