Legacy of Prince continues as two of his major bands hit the road.
The New Power Generation - November 16th - Brushy Creek Amphitheater - Hutto, TX
Let me unpack this for a bit: I had to make a trip down to Austin for business (the time at my leisure within reason) and I was searching for something fun to do down there while I was in town so it wouldn't just be a day of meetings and then go home. I learned after some searching the Prince's 90's band the New Power Generation was beginning a tour the day after my meeting so now my trip was booked.
I don't need to disclaim my Prince fandom to my regular readers or listeners of TrickyKid Radio but if this is your first post than I welcome you into our Purple Family.
First the Bad:
Since Prince existed so far outside of the music industry and only dealt with the machine sparingly and still within his own unique microcosm, it may have been a disservice to his bandmates on their future endeavors as both The NPG and the Revolution seem to suffer a bit from bad booking at times.
Case in point here: The NPG were booked at an OUTDOOR amphitheater in mid November when it was 39 degrees outside.
Secondly, said amphitheater holds close to 20k people and their was like ZERO promotion for this. Maybe somehow blissfully they thought just the power of Prince's name would fill the joint. I barely heard about it myself.
Attendance was so low due to these two factors that I actually passed the entrance twice because I was expecting, you know, a line of cars worthy of a place this size. When I tell you their was less than a hundred people there I'm not exaggerating, There were more employees working than attendees enjoying the show.
That didn't stop one over zealous asshole attendant from preventing me from entering the "VIP Area" that had a crowd of literally NO ONE. I just wanted to go in to get a drink and leave & he acted like I was trying to steal the Mona Lisa.
The main singer was someone I wasn't familiar with named B Slade who according to band leader Morris Hayes was a last minute replacement for ???.
While at times he had the goods, and I have respect for anybody that gets up there and trying to do these songs especially last minute must have been nerve wracking but my man was reading lyrics from his phone and some of these songs he should have ashamed for have never heard in the first place as that was clearly the case on a few.
Now the Good:
None of this prevented the NPG from putting on anything less than one of the most enjoyable shows I saw all year or act like they were performing for anything less than a full house.
I appreciated the fact they played songs from every Prince era - It's like the Dave & Sammy thing (Van Halen) whereas The Revolution only need to play their songs, how is the NPG supposed to not touch the stuff that came before them (for me I would have been fine and understood what I was there to see) but that maynot be the case for the masses.
While it was great to see Texas Native Tamar in action, she does have some really annoying stage habits like doing vocal calisthenics where they are most definitely not needed and she does this where she preempt the lyrics to prompt the crowd by adding an uncesssary call & response.
An example: Pop Life - the line is "Did he put your million dollar check in someone else's box?" - Tamar preempts with "Where did he put your check Austin?"
Please someone get a hold of this and make that shit stop. Otherwise she was a welcome sight and great performer.
Lots of deep dives, and that was the fun part - Like what were they gonna play, and every song seemed like a surprise and acknowledgement of years of fandom.
Great, but weird & disjointed show. This would have been hot shit in a small club with only the 100 of us in attendance, late night style.
U Got The Look
Girls & Boys
Deuce & a Quarter
Call the Law
Thieves in the Temple
Beautiful, Loved and Blessed
Nothing Compares 2 U
When Doves Cry
I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man
Days of Wild
Gett Off / Cool
1999 / Let's Go Crazy
The Revolution - December 5th - Theater at Ace Hotel - Los Angeles
Anyone that knows me or has known me will tell you that Prince isn't ever far from my mind. There are an infinite number of ways that The Revolution going on tour and playing the songs they performed with Prince for all those years could have gone badly. The hole in the center of the stage and the sound could have been too big. His absence could have made it all feel too inappropriate or, worst of all, exploitative. Or, they simply might not have been up to the task, it all really could have been too sad.
But now I know what to expect & even then they exceed those expectations. I saw them for the first time less than a year after Prince's unthinkable untimely passing & spent the last two NYE's with them. So for my 4th outing and the third time during the month of December I was ready to take this ride again.
The first thing that strikes you when you enter this theater and its lobby is just how grandiose & inspired it's archetecture is. It felt like being inside the Sistine Chapel, with its scope and ambitous decor. All you could think is "Nothing is built like this anymore". Perfect one of a kind setting to hear these songs written by a one of a kind artist.
I was wearing a hard to miss shirt from Prince associates The Time - It's one of those shirts that's black that simply has the name of the members printed in basic white lettering. In this case Morris, Jerome, etc. Though I was grateful for my comped seat it was in Row Z, literally the last row. With less than 10 mins to go before showtime I saw a sea of empty seats upfront and made my up there to help myself to one. While there, the only other person on the row as an older & flamboyant African-American man wearing a similar shirt except his had the members of the Revolutions' names on his.
We instantly bonded and I could tell he was grateful for my knowledge and company and I was looking forward to enjoying the show with him.
While FaceTiming with my wife right before showtime I could see that Fred Armisen was seated right behind me, to give it that extra LA thrill.
The band was razor sharp, inspired, and knew exactly what the audience wanted: a concert that was a celebration, a reunion, a public mourning — and perhaps most of all, a release. And from the very beginning of the set, The Revolution made everyone in the crowd a participant.
Wondering how long I was gonna get away with my self-appointed upgrade suddenly the owners of the seats me & my new found friend were occupying were here to claim them and of course it's Andrew Cymone and a female companion haha.
My biggest takeaway from this show was quite a few things:
One, though to my chagrin, the setlist lacked the truly deep dives previous shows produced but I think it's because they are realizing not everyone is as hardcore which it seemed on those early first posthumous tours that it was that set they were aiming to please the most.
Next, the confidence is there - Wheras those first shows were riddled with disclaimers, this is a band that's gelled and been on the road for a few years and it showed and they are all the better for it.
Lastly, I was so into how the crowd was so super into it. The previous show's I've seen the crowds were a bit mellow (& in Louisiana, downright dismal) here it was like 1984 all over again.
Wendy Melvoin closed with a pre Purple Rain speech that was poignant, articulate and framed what everyone in the room was feeling perfectly. You'd hope she'd be this incredible and she delivers in spades. Will see this every chance I get.
Take Me With U
Let's Go Crazy
Mutiny (The Family cover)
It's Too Funky In Here (James Brown cover)
When Doves Cry
I Would Die 4 U
Baby I'm a Star