Prince's former band The Revolution were behind some of the best Prince albums. Basically covering "1999"  - "Sign 'Ø' The Times" . They weren't credited for all of that, but they had more than a hand in it. For those of us (sadly me) that were a year late and missed Prince in Copenhagen 1986, this was the first time ever to witness his most important band live. A chance no true Prince fan would want to miss, as witnessed by a full Vega tonite. Very few people were younger than 35 though, so it's a fair guess that "Purple Rain" was key for the crowd. Luckily it was key for the setlist as well.
It was a great joy witnessing Prince's old band live. The setlist was based on songs that wasn't deeply personal Prince material, songs that could be sung by the group and the crowd without feeling awkward or wrong. "America" and "Computer Blue" were the perfect kick-off. Both are among my favorites, the latter probably my #1 Prince song ever.
Is the water warm enough?
Shall we begin?
It soon became clear that Wendy is not a lead guitarist. The band is still great today, but what I missed mostly was a perfect lead guitar - like Prince or Dez. Wendy is more like a funky rhythm guitarist. Even without the lead, Wendy and the band did very well. They had brought a stand-in for Prince, Stokley Williams, and while his falsetto was spot-on, he was way over-used. The concert was greatest when it was at it's most intimate, not when some wanna-be-Prince was jumping around and trying to dance like nothing Prince would ever have done.
Bootleg: "CL-V3D1, City Lights, Detroit 1982", Prince: "Dez Dickerson, lead guitar, give it up!!!" Bring him next time... :)
"Sometimes it snows in April
Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad
Sometimes I wish that life was never ending,
But all good things, they say, never last."
Highlights were the 2 starter songs, a VERY heartfelt and honest speech from Wendy on Prince and why they chose to tour for the fans, a naked "Sometimes It Snows in April" with Wendy on acoustic guitar and Lisa on keys, a happy birthday from the crowd to Dr. Fink, and obviously the entire crowd singing their lungs out remembering Prince with the inevitable "Purple Rain."
"Honey I know, I know, I know times are changing
It's time we all reach out for something new
That means you too
You say you want a leader
But you can't seem to make up your mind
I think you better close it
And let me guide you to the Purple Rain."
For hardcore Prince fans this gig felt like something finally falling into place. It felt right and it felt great. As an objective observer this could probably have been improved in some ways. An aggressive lead guitarist, less wanna-be "clown" stuff, heavier drums. But from a hardcore old-time Prince fan's point of view, it was close to perfect. Wendy's speech did it all for me. Pure love.
Thank you, The Revolution. You Rock!
- Matt Fink,
- Bobby Z.,
- Brown Mark,
- Lisa Coleman,
- Wendy Melvoin.
- Guest vocalist: Stokley Williams.