On March 30, 198five the world witnessed: Prince and the Revolution: Live.
In May 20twenty, the world got to re-witness Prince and the Revolution: Live for two glorious weeks on YouTube.
Thanks to the Prince Estate, in partnership with Warner Records, the concert’s audio was digitally remastered by Bernie Grundman and released as a twenty song album on May 15, 20twenty. The video footage was simultaneously uploaded to YouTube as a fundraiser in support of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organisation. Any viewer donations would include a matching component from Google.
While the audio may have been digitally remastered, the video footage certainly was not. It was an hour and fifty-six minutes of full grainy 80s goodness, with goodness being the operative word.
With Purple Rain, both the album and movie, released less than a year earlier, Prince and the Revolution were at their peak during this concert. So, when Prince rose from the floor in debatably the greatest concert openers and launched into Let’s Go Crazy the crowd did exactly that.
What then occurred in the of the next hour and fifty-odd minutes was indeed a sight to behold. It was a trip down memory lane, a celebration of the 1980s at their finest, a commemoration of an artist taken too soon, and an aural and visual delight.
The set list traversed through Prince’s four-album back catalogue: Delirious, 1999, Little Red Corvette, Take Me With U, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Do Me Baby, Irresistible Bitch, Possessed, How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore, Let’s Pretend We’re Married, International Lover, God, Computer Blues, Darling Nikki, The Beautiful Ones, When Doves Cry, I Would Die 4 U and Baby I’m a Star. It was high energy and full of costume changes that would make any modern-day pop diva green with envy. Prince danced like a boss, flexed his acting skills, highlighted his impressive vocal range and musicality playing both guitar and piano. His undeniable talent and interminable dynamism were amply evident and extraordinary to witness.
The crowning glory, however, was relegated to the encore.
After a six-minute introduction by the Revolution – Wendy, Lisa, Bobby Z., Brown Mark and Dr Fink—to allow Prince a final costume change and to build feelings of sentiment, Prince finally emerged again. Composed and solemn invoking an abundance of emotion, he then delivered possibly the most significant song of his career. The fifteen-minute rendition was spectacular. It was poignant. It was the sum total of everything Prince was known and loved for, as was the whole concert actually.
Director Paul Becher and producer Steven Fargnoli successfully created an experience that captures the essence of Prince. Thanks to the Prince Estate, those of us not lucky enough to witness him perform live and those wishing to remember what it was like, Prince and the Revolution: Live is a fitting tribute to a man, an artist, a legend of the music world.
Review By Anita Kertes