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Fit for a King: The Revolution Honor Prince at Purple Rain 40th Anniversary Concert

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

In marking 40 years of the album Purple Rain and coinciding with Paisley Park’s Celebration 2024, The Revolution honored Prince in a practically flawless performance at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

Fans lined up early, many with early-admission VIP tickets, and sold out the venue made famous by Prince and the movie Purple Rain. Most fans wore an array of Prince shirts spanning his career. Others dressed in his spirit, wearing any shade of purple in everyday clothing and flashy attire.

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

Guitarist Wendy Melvoin opened the evening by speaking Prince’s famous prologue to “Let’s Go Crazy”. It served as a fitting welcome to their first performance in over four years. And from the opening percussion, fans whipped into a purple singalong frenzy, most obvious during the verse closing chants of “oh no, let’s go!”

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

Melvion shared vocal duties with bassist BrownMark, who commented how he needed help since he lost his voice after the previous night’s show. But at no point did he or Melvoin seem strained or less energetic. And at times, the crowd filled in on lyrics like “take me with you”.

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

The combination worked tremendously, with the two sharing vocals and filling in Prince’s parts on songs like “1999” and “Erotic City”. They never missed a beat.

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

Judith Hill joined the band for songs involving Prince’s signature falsettos. Hill collaborated with Prince in the years just before his death. Her smooth, soulful entrance was felt at start of “The Beautiful Ones” before fervently escalating in the dramatic pleas at the song’s closing. 

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

Hill’s range was especially impressive, if not needed, during “Kiss”. The band played songs from other albums besides Purple Rain while still handling every track on it except for “Darling Nikki”. With appearances from band members featured on other albums throughout Prince’s career, the setlist also included chart toppers like “Raspberry Beret” and “Mountains”.

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

And every song flawlessly displayed the iconic Prince sound that defined his style and cemented him as a pop superstar in the 80s. Along with Lisa Coleman and Doctor Fink’s keyboards and Bobby Z’s thumping drum beats, the music was every bit as nostalgic as it was celebratory. 

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

Much like the movie Purple Rain, the crescendo for the evening was the seamless back-to-back performances of “I Would Die For U” and “Baby, I’m a Star”. With Hill joining for the latter, First Avenue went from concert venue to Danceteria. For a moment, it felt reminiscent of the dance scenes in finale of the movie.

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

“Purple Rain” of course closed the show as the encore. Melvoin explained how Prince brought the song to the band and wanted to close the movie with a song she described as “lullaby country”.

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

He had asked them what they could “bring to it”. Describing the final product as “mind melding” and something they were proud of, she hit the song’s opening guitar notes. Phone screens lit up, and the crowd sang along to the very end.

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

What The Revolution missed with Prince was made up by superbly carrying his legacy and the music they helped create.

The Revolution Prince Purple Rain Anniversary Concert
Photo by James Perovich

Written by James Perovich

Believer in natural light, minimal conceptualization, and perfect timing.

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