Prince And The Revolution
Prince And The Revolution: Live
While released for a limited time in 2020 – a time when everyone was seemingly dropping new and archived live releases and streams – the Prince estate has officially released Prince And The Revolution: Live. Recorded at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York, on March 30, 1985, the latest live album captures Prince and one of his most revered bands on the Purple Rain Tour – one of the greatest eras in not only Prince’s career but also pop music as a whole.
The album opens to the roar of thunderous applause and a calm, yet firm, declaration from centre stage “my name is Prince and I have come to play with you” before kicking off the concert with “Let’s Go Crazy”. The band is in fighting shape with each member performing at their best, making for a tighter than tight performance that never seems to falter. This is immediately apparent from the up-tempo classic of an opener and the following tracks, “Delirious” and “1999”. To say Prince, himself, was exceptional feels equally unnecessary and an understatement. Most impressively, beyond his vocals and guitar playing (something he doesn’t get enough credit for, despite shredding like Eddie Van Halen) is his stage presence, something that can be heard through this live record. There is a power and weight to his presence, making Prince And The Revolution: Live an immersive listening experience.
Clocking in at just under two hours, Prince And The Revolution: Live is a true spectacle and can stand among some of the greatest live albums ever. Among the 20 tracks, there are a number of highlights which see some of Prince’s greatest songs largely from the 1999 and Purple Rain era (1982-1984) be brought to life in a new and exciting light. From the seamless transitions between “Little Red Corvette” into “Take Me With U” and “Do Me Baby” into “Irresistible Bitch” to the jazzy and soulful performance of “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore”, featuring a solo Prince on both vocals and piano – similar in style to 2018’s Piano & A Microphone 1983 release. Additionally, Prince’s performances on “Compute Blue”, “Darling Nikki”, “The Beautiful Ones” and “I Would Die 4 U” are stunning. Lastly, extended sections, solos, and jams on “When Doves Cry”, “Baby I’m A Star”, and the closing, near twenty-minute rendition of “Purple Rain” are unbelievably captivating. While Prince would spend much of his career reinventing his live show, there was no concert experience quite like Prince And The Revolution: Live.
Prince And The Revolution: Live is a timeless piece of history. Purple Rain remains the definitive Prince album in the collective consciousness of pop culture and this album delivers Prince at one of his many musical and creative peaks in all its glorious excess. Beyond the showstopping performance – the musical equivalent of watching Jordan in the ’93 playoff series – Prince And The Revolution: Live also contextualizes the creative transition Prince was already in the midst of with the upcoming release of Around The World In A Day, less than a month after this concert. Not only was the album a dramatic shift which fused rock and pop with world music influences in a manner that had not been done since the ‘60s, but his live show would also shift into a more stripped down affair that let the music, and the extensive jams, speak for themselves, without the grandiose visuals and choreography of the Purple Rain Tour, This of course marked the beginning of the end for the Revolution and, eventually, led to Sign ‘O’ The Times, perhaps Prince’s greatest creative statement ever. This is where the significance of Prince And The Revolution: Live lies. Not only is this a larger than life look at Prince from his most culturally vital era – at least, in the eyes of the mainstream – but it also represents all the excess that Prince sought to escape through his upcoming releases. The Purple Rain Tour required a calculated approach to succeed and Prince sought experimentation and improvisation while further indulging in influences that pushed him further from the mainstream of ‘80s pop. While he would spend the rest of his career as an enigmatic figure who could still sell our arenas, this was, arguably, the last time Prince would be the biggest star in the world, making Prince And The Revolution: Live a truly special affair.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION – PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION: LIVE