27 October 2018 (gig)
29 October 2018
The untimely passing of Prince in 2016 was an epic loss. Not only was he a master of a myriad of instruments, he was one of the most talented guitarists ever (just check out the 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction jam on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Steve Winwood, as Prince out-shined all onstage with his guitar heroics).
The Revolution was Princes backing band during his most mainstream and successful era. From his 1982 breakthrough double-album classic "1999" until the "Parade" disc in 1986 (to be fair, Revolution members as Lisa Coleman and Dr. Fink made contributions on earlier Prince records, as "Dirty Mind" and "Controversy." Bobby Z also performed on the "Controversy" disc as well). Most notably, the band was prominently featured in the iconic 1984 "Purple Rain" movie and soundtrack, as well at the accompanying tour.
Prince sadly moved away from using The Revolution, starting with his 1987 "Sign O' The Times" album, and would later put together a new band in the New Power Generation. While the New Power Generation also featured amazing musicians, they did not have quite the same magic or chemistry that Prince had with The Revolution.
Shortly after the news of Princes death, The Revolution reunited (their first regrouping was at the legendary First Avenue club in Minnesota in 2016) and has now become a touring tribute to the man who brought them all together.
The Revolution performed at The Wilbur Theater in Boston, Massachusetts on October 27, 2018 and showed that they are still one of the tightest units in music history.
Opening with the lesser known "America" (from the more experimental and psychedelic "Around the World in a Day" release in 1985), "Computer Blue" (a deep cut from "Purple Rain"), and "Mountains," the set really caught fire with "Take Me With U". While originally a duet with Prince and "Purple Rain" co-star Apollonia Kotero, Wendy Melvoin is now manning the lead vocals.
A throwback tune, "Uptown," pleased the more hardcore fans as did resurrecting the synthesized Funk of "D.M.S.R." (while from the "1999" record - "D.M.S.R." is also part of 1983's "Risky Business" soundtrack). Though he was not onstage all night, Mint Condition lead vocalist Stokley Williams manned the lead vocals on "Uptown" and "D.M.S.R." and a handful of other classics during the night.
Melvoin was amazing all night, as she flawlessly recreated Princes guitar riffs and complex solos. Bassist Brown Mark (who tore off an incredible bass solo on "Let's Work") and drummer Bobby Z were magnificent beat keepers all night.
A mid-set attack of "1999," "Let's Go Crazy" (where once again Melvoin shined on guitar), and "Delirious," led into a 10 minute plus version of "Controversy" (which included snippets of "Head" and "Mutiny"), during which Coleman and Fink tore off some impressive keyboard/synthesized solos, and was one of the nights more brilliant moments and brought the already hyped-up Boston crowd to a feverish high.
While Williams led the band on wonderful adaptations of "Kiss" and "When Doves Cry," Melvoin then instructed the crowd to sing the lead on "Purple Rain." She did, in her words, sing the lyrics, but was acting as "a bouncing ball" for those in the audience who might not know the words. Though it was doubtful anyone in attendance didn't know it word for word, and the set ended on a very highly emotional note.
A two song encore ended the show perfectly, just as the "Purple Rain" movie did, with "I Would Die 4 U" and "Baby I'm A Star."
As the crowd exited to what would normally be a miserable rain storm, one audience member stated that it was "raining Purple in Boston." The thoughts of that in mind no doubt made the inclement weather much easier for the faithful Prince disciples to bear.