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Prince / The Revolution - Prince and the Revolution: Live Music Album Reviews

Prince / The Revolution - Prince and the Revolution: Live Music Album Reviews
Remastered, rescanned, and color corrected after years languishing in Paisley Park’s vault, the 1985 concert film and its soundtrack receive the deluxe reissue treatment they’ve long deserved.

After only a few months of touring in support of his commercial breakthrough Purple Rain, Prince was eager to move on. Locked into a rigid nightly routine of rehearsing and performing, he grew restless reliving a body of work that, in his mind, he had already perfected. To stave off his growing boredom, he would tweak the show from one stop to the next, shuffling the setlist and dropping in new songs for his band, the Revolution, to learn during soundchecks. In between shows, he’d retreat to a mobile recording system set up on his tour buses, or, time permitting, have a local studio booked during extended layovers. He oversaw Romance 1600, the sophomore album by his percussionist and apprentice Sheila E., from start to finish in these moments of downtime. He also had his own follow-up, Around the World in a Day, completed and ready to go, to the surprise of his band.

With a couple of months still remaining, he sat his crew down and announced he was cutting the tour short. Everyone around him was bewildered. Purple Rain was still brand new and at the peak of its popularity; the album had the potential to be toured for another year at least, but Prince would not be swayed from his course. He was ready to close the book—but he wanted to end his time on the road with a purple flash that could be seen from every corner of the world. It was decided in March 1985, as the final dates were approaching, to record a concert for home video and beam the event live to Europe. At the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York, Prince and the Revolution tightened up their act and put on the performance of their lives. This wouldn’t be just any Purple Rain show—it would be the definitive document.

With this concert film finally receiving the deluxe treatment it’s desperately needed, it’s clearer than ever why Prince and the Revolution: Live was such a special moment. The source recordings, which have been sitting in Prince’s Paisley Park vault for the better part of three decades, have been given a full remaster, far exceeding the compressed sound of the original videocassette that bootleggers have been copying for years, or even the DVD included with the lavish Purple Rain — Deluxe Expanded Edition from 2017. Every detail can be appreciated with crystal clarity, from Prince’s breathy sighs when he stretches his falsetto to its limit on the bluesy ballad “How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore” to his confident chuckle between verses on “Irresistible Bitch.”

Though the audio sounds better than ever, it’s best experienced alongside the stunning concert footage, which has been meticulously rescanned from the original film and color corrected. Purple Rain’s visual hallmarks—the big hair, the ruffled coat, the purple crushed velvet—would become just as important as its signature sound. Live places the experience in the totality of its context: as a companion piece not only to the studio album, but also to Purple Rain, the film. No expense was spared for the cutting-edge lighting and effects, and everyone on stage donned the role of thespian as well as musician, playing their part in elaborate set pieces inspired by the movie.

Prince leads into “Purple Rain” B-side “God” with a dramatic confessional, simulating the Holy Spirit’s thunderous wrath by smashing against the keys of his piano while a blinding spotlight acts as a heavenly stand-in. Then-unreleased vault curiosity “Possessed” takes on a separate identity from its studio versions, becoming a full-on tribute to Prince’s idol James Brown. The band locks into a propulsive funk groove while Prince gives his best impression of the godfather of soul—imitating his iconic mic stand kick and exclaiming “good God!”—with saxophonist Eric Leeds acting as his Maceo Parker. And, of course, there are plenty of risqué moments, such as when he turns his backside, draped in a pair of see-through pants, to ask the crowd “Does your man have an ass like mine?” The Revolution are in top form, twisting and twirling in perfectly choreographed lockstep with their bandleader while nary dropping a note. (A feat which, while impressive, was rough on the band: “It ruined my back for the rest of my life,” keyboardist Lisa Coleman admitted to Rolling Stone in 2017.)

The Purple Rain Tour was a herculean triumph, made possible by a tangled web of people carefully managing every aspect of the show each night, from staging to lighting to costuming to music. This fact wasn’t lost on Prince; he used the increased visibility of the Syracuse show to give thanks to as much of his entourage as he could. “Baby I’m a Star” evolved into a long, formless jam session, and everyone on hand was brought up to the stage. (Protégé group Apollonia 6 were even flown in to appear, despite not being part of the tour.) Prince placed immense trust in his collaborators, occasionally setting his instrument aside and counting on his band to keep things going so that he could focus on getting the theatrics just right. When he finally holds his guitar for longer for a few minutes—to play an extended encore of his spiritual communion, “Purple Rain”—time bends to his will and a third of an hour goes by in a blink. He’s giving us a firm reminder of what we already knew: “My band is great, but I’m still the greatest.”

The studio album was already indebted to the arena-rock explosion of the 1980s, capturing streaks of that explosive live energy by sourcing several tracks straight from a legendary performance at the Minneapolis nightclub First Avenue. At Syracuse, Prince pushed each track as close as he could to its theoretical endpoint; the loudest songs became louder, the sensual moments bordered on voyeuristic, and the spiritual themes came down like divine revelations. Prince and the Revolution: Live is the culmination of months of tireless practice, a refined gem so filtered of imperfections you could hardly believe it came together in one take. Finally, Purple Rain can flourish in the environment it was always meant to—and the whole world is invited to bear witness.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Prince / The Revolution - Prince and the Revolution: Live Music Album Reviews Prince / The Revolution - Prince and the Revolution: Live Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Saturday, June 11, 2022 Rating: 5

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