NEW YORK – The first thing you hear is a familiar voice above the sound of thousands of screaming fans.
“Hello, Syracuse and the world. My name is Prince and I came to play with you.
The Purple One soon arrives, soaring across the stage – dressed in an animal print jumpsuit with a ruffled white dress, a guitar slug on the back – as “Let’s Go Crazy” begins. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…” he said.
It’s the electric start to a high-energy concert in upstate New York held over three decades ago, reworked and re-released in video and audio capturing Prince & The Revolution at their peak.
“It was as amazing as I remember,” said Revolution member Lisa Coleman, who was there that night singing and playing keys. Drummer Bobby Z adds, “The next generation needs to see this because that’s what it was all about.”
The March 30, 1985 concert at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York included the songs “Delirious”, “1999”, “Little Red Corvette”, “Take Me Home”, “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”, “Computer Blue “, “When Doves Cry” and “I Would Die 4 U”, among others.
It ends with a sensual and stunning “Purple Rain”, with Prince in a shimmering cape delivering a solo that lasts several minutes and shows off a guitarist of immense talent.
“You can tell he knows what he’s doing there – he’s lighting up the world. He always played like there was no tomorrow. But this one is particularly moving,” says Bobby Z.
“Prince and The Revolution: Live” will be released on June 3 in a variety of formats, including digital streaming platforms, a three-LP vinyl release, a two-CD release, and a Blu-ray of the concert film.
There’s also a limited-edition box set including three colored vinyl records, two CDs, the Blu-ray video, a 44-page book with never-before-seen Purple Rain Tour photos and new liner notes written by all five members of The Revolution.
“I was so proud of him and the band we formed and everything in that time and the fact that he’s still going and this beautiful project coming out is something special,” said Bobby Z, a friend of Prince since they met in 1976. “This band cooks like a freight train.”
Prince fans have another reason to be happy this summer: ‘Prince: The Immersive Experience’ makes its world debut on June 9 in Chicago. It offers visitors the opportunity to explore his wardrobe, his musical influences and his successes.
The Syracuse gig came at the end of a roughly 100-date tour and Prince and the band are a tight, sleek machine by now, building on the wild success of the movie “Purple Rain.”
“I feel like it was a pearl in a very beautiful necklace,” says Revolution guitarist and vocalist Wendy Melvoin. “The only difference was that it was televised around the world. And there was a bit more pressure on us to improve our game.”
During the performance, Prince makes several costume changes, jumps around the scaffolding of the set, strips down to just pants and necklaces, writhes suggestively in a bathtub, and drives the crowd crazy with lines. such as: “Do you want me?”
The concert was an early pay-per-view event and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video. The concert was later released on VHS but the quality of audio and visuals was poor.
“I’m really excited for a next generation of Prince fans to see what it was all about. He wasn’t, you know, just an average guy. He was a dancer, singer, bandleader, showman , songwriter, seriously talented and amazing musician. It was one in a billion people,” says Bobby Z.
Melvoin says die-hard Prince fans may have seen pirated versions before, but hopes the new album and film can inspire other artists.
“I think the people I would like to see are people who want to learn how to put on a really good show,” she says. “Other artists should see it.”
Melvoin and Coleman say they recently rewatched the two-hour gig and found themselves saying “wow!” periodically.
“We were sitting next to each other watching a widescreen version, and we had both forgotten parts of it, and it was definitely something to see,” says Melvoin. “I think one of the things I said to Lisa was, ‘Jesus, we were really good! “”
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits