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Prince plays secret gig in north London

Prince took to the stage of a small north London venue for a secret gig ahead of an expected announcement of a series of UK tour dates.

Hip-hop artist Scroobius Pip tweeted this picture sent to him by a friend at the venue:

Queues began forming outside the Electric Ballroom in Camden late at night following mounting speculation of a surprise performance.

The multi-instrumentalist wearing a dark hooded sleeveless top appeared on stage shortly after 12.30am backed by his new 3rdeyegirl band and opened with a slowed-down version of I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man.

He ended the gig, which showcased new material from his forthcoming Plectrum Electrum record, by telling the crowd of around 300: "You sound like ten thousand. We love each and every one of you."

The "open press soundcheck" followed a secret press conference held at singer Lianne La Havas' house in east London yesterday.

In her living room in front of a fire, the band played two acoustic tracks of what Prince called their "funky rock 'n' roll," including the newly released single PretzelBodyLogic, the Associated Press reported.