The world lost an icon on April 21, 2016 when Prince tragically passed away. His former band The Revolution (Matt “Dr.” Fink, Bobby Z, Brown Mark, Lisa Coleman, Wendy Melvoin) decided to reunite for three special shows to honor their fallen musical brother and friend at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota where parts of Purple Rain were filmed. Since those shows in September of 2016, the band has continued to perform together celebrating the music of Prince. The band will even be returning to Europe to play for the first time in over 30 years.
As for their current dates, one of those included a date at Raleigh, North Carolina’s 2018 Hopscotch Music Festival. The festival features over 120 bands over a three day span in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina and The Revolution was set to close out the festivities at The Basement on September 7, 2018. The band hit the stage at 11:30 in front of huge diverse crowd who were eager to celebrate the music of Prince. The lights went down and a recording of the DJ from Purple Rain rang out through the PA system. “Ladies and gentlemen; The Revolution.”
The band kicked things off with “America” from Around the World in a Day and it was a great reminder to how funky that song translates live. The hits continued one after another, almost in rapid fire with minimal stage banter. The band sounded tighter than ever as they ran through such classics as “Raspberry Beret,” “1999,” “Controversy,” “Kiss” and “Let’s Go Crazy.” Stokley Williams (Mint Condition) has been helping share vocal duties during the band’s live shows and his falsetto vocals were a nice touch. He, as well as bassist Brown Mark, had a great deal of fun interacting with the crowd.
More and more hits continued to be delivered including “When Doves Cry,” “Delirious” and “Take Me With U” as well as such surprises as “DMSR” and “Erotic City.” Guitarist/vocalist Wendy Melvoin told the crowd that she was going to need their help on the last selection as purple lights blanketed the stage. That was a very emotional number as you could see some fans were visibly moved during the performance. The band ended the show with the one, two punch of “I Would Die 4 u” and “Baby, I’m a Star.” The band exited, the houselights came up and it was over.
So, here are my honest thoughts on the show. There was a lot of playful interaction between Williams, Melvoin and Mark and the fun that they were having onstage was quite infectious. The band sounded amazing and that was to be expected because Prince never settled for second best. It was great hearing all of these classic tracks again and it was great to see Purple Rain era lineup of The Revolution sharing a stage together again. I had the honor and pleasure of seeing them in November of 1984 when Prince brought his Purple Rain tour to the Greensboro Coliseum for a three night performance. It was weird hearing these songs that I identify with Prince and not see him up there commanding the stage like only he could. I recently spoke to keyboardist Matt “Dr.” Fink and he told me that these shows have helped fans to heal a lot from the loss of Prince. So, as weird as it was not to see him center stage and singing all of those classic tunes, it did help to hear them again live and in front of the diverse crowd of people that his music tended to bring together. We need that, especially in this day and age. We need to come together as one and if it takes the music of Prince to do so, them God bless The Revolution for getting out there and performing for all of us.
Check out our shots from The Revolution’s performance at the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina on September 7, 2018! Click on each image for a larger view!