PURPLE RAIN 30TH ANNIVERSARY:  The Revolution Is Back On With The Purple Xperience


FERNDALE, MICHIGAN -  Back in 1984, Prince and the Revolution was a big deal. I can remember distinctly when this craze started to reach into a feverish pitch. I caught wind of it when I was in rural Virginia growing up as a teen. Long story short I was unable to go because of Prince’s notorious sexual conduct in his songs and my parents forced me to sell my tickets to the famous Purple Rain Tour.

This tour was epic in proportion and established Prince as an International star around the globe. This was due in large part of the way his playing schedule was planned. He played in Detroit for one solid week at Joe Louis Arena and then did four nights in D.C. at the Capital Center. In 1984, there was nobody bigger than Prince and he took his seat along with other MTV royalty namely Billy Idol, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen.

Zoom up to 2014 and we are now at the 30th anniversary of Prince and the Revolution and the historic, Purple Rain Tour. The Minneapolis based Purple Xperience  Prince Tribute band is right on time with its 2 hour show that commemorates the genius of those epic performances. As soon as I heard about it trekked over there to see what the big commotion was. They were playing up at the Magic Bag in Ferndale, MI and I decided to haul over there and check them out.

The room was almost sold out – I mean it was really packed in there. But the cool part about the Magic Bag is that it was once a movie theater and there is a lot of wiggle room in that place. I was able to scoot up to the front of the stage in this standing room only pit. There were a ton of people there and they were fans of all ages. Rock music has really become a multi generational thing. One guy in the audience was all decked out like Prince and I thought that was the main performer that night. He kept jumping around taking pictures with the audience members and hob nobbing around and getting lots of self attention. I was pretty much sure he was the main guy from the tribute show but he wasn’t.

The band came in from the back of the stage and the first one to hit it was Dr. Fink, the original keyboardist from the Revolution. I had no idea that this was going to happen. This proved to be an amazing asset because he had all the sounds right straight from the original recordings. He wore his trademark surgical scrubs on stage since he is, “The Doctor”. I  was surprised to learn this because I had no idea there was an original member of the band in this group. I didn’t even recognize him when he first walked on the stage. He no longer sports long curly locks and has short cropped hair.

The two guitarists came on stage and one of them was a spitting image of Dez from the 1999 days. Then the Prince guy came out and the audience went wild and that was played by Marshall Charloff. He has an busy history of working with groups like Anthony and the Imperials, The Commodores, and Lipps Inc.

The house lights dimmed and the audience was ready. They were already hootin’ and hollering. The familiar keyboards fired up to the eerie church organ tones for the opening of, “Let’s Go Crazy”. This was going to be the real deal. Marshall walked up to the mic in his purple trench coat and the house went bananas. The band ripped into the pulsating riffs and the audience was getting what it came for. No doubt about it the Purple Xperience came here to please. By now the pit in the front of the stage was elbow to elbow people and the temperature was rising down there and starting to get hot.

Call it a rush – call it adrenaline but I started to sweat while I watched this band. There was no way I was going to leave because I couldn’t wait to watch what they were going to do next. They did, “Take Me With U” off of the Purple Rain album and it was a joy to watch the audience response. The Purple Xperience was all smiles and the audience knew it was in good hands.  After a brief outfit change Marshall came out with a white shaggy fur coat and his white guitar with the long extended swirl near the neck. They jumped into, “U Got The Look” from the album, “Sign Of The Times”. This was a musical journey back into time and the sound was rich, vibrant, lush, and bold.

The guitarists had dance routines that they did in synch. Marshall was the stand out lead presence and would do on stage antics with the mic stand ala James Brown. This guy did his homework because he had those moves down cold. It was hypnotic watching him work with letting the mic stand fall forward and then wrapping the cable around the base of it. With a simple snap of the wrist and tug on the chord the mic stand would snap right back into Marshalls hand where he would grab it and lower it and wrap his leg over it and spin around.  That was phenomenal.

The costume changes were frequent and Prince had the outfits from the bands many incarnations. The audience absolutely flipped out when Carloff came out dressed in the blue sky and clouds suit from the, “Raspberry Beret” video. The songs were colliding into one another and kept pace with the anxious audience. We got snippets of, “Pop Life” and full renditions of, “1999”, “Take Me With U”, and “Baby I’m A Star”. The best parts of the show was watching Charloff handle the mic stand, and doing the dance moves almost to mimicry. He knew how to command the crowd by adding the touches that made Prince such a stand out celebrity. These included jumping up on the speakers, doing the splits, and then wailing on the guitar. This is entertainment boys and girls.

If you get a chance to see this band do it… You won’t regret it.

prince /revolution >>>>

Don't Miss Our Review Of LIVE THE WHO - LIVE at the Magic Bag, Ferndale, MI >>>>

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