Reclusive pop superstar Prince thrilled revellers at BB KING'S club in Los Angeles on Monday (18AUG03) by turning up unannounced to play a string of new tunes - but he refused to sing.

The PURPLE RAIN star played his latest album, N.E.W.S., in its entirety with a paired-down backing group made up of bassist RHONDA SMITH, drummer JOHN BLACKWELL, RENATO NETO and ERIC LEEDS.

The new material showed off Prince's current interests in jazz - the four 14-minute instrumentals, NORTH, South, EAST and WEST went down well with the audience at the UNIVERSAL CITY WALK venue.

Wearing a trademark purple suit with a black shirt and tie, Prince seemed to enjoy the hour-long performance. At one point he even left the stage mid-song and sat upstairs in the V.I.P section of the club, where he chatted to pals before rejoining his group.

But the pop eccentric refused to sing or speak to the crowd, and confined his communication to hand signals.

Towards the end of the show, an increasingly frustrated audience began to chant "Sing!" But Prince didn't. When it was over, he flashed a peace sign to the crowd and disappeared.

20/08/2003 21:10