Most stars aren’t born, they’re carefully crafted fiction. They matter only as a measure of distraction if the lie that got them there doesn’t result in some kind of long-lasting “good.” And Rock and Roll has seen its share of philistines and false prophets. But that wasn’t Prince. So when he died in 2016, there was a hole blown in the universe in the same place that was still only just filling in from the loss of David Bowie. We all felt it. We all were forced to stare into a void that we should have never had to imagine. But possibly nobody felt the pull of that gravitational pull of that black star more than Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Matt Fink, Bobby Z, and Brown Mark - The Revolution.
Two years later, what started off as a couple of one-off shows to celebrate the death AND life of their friend, has turned into a worldwide tour, a roving celebration of not just the music of an icon, but the artists who are inextricable from the man’s story. That said, the BIG question that anyone will inevitably ask themselves going into a Revolution show is how do you even begin to replace the electro-cosmic radiation that Prince colored this world with? The two-fold answer may be a bit surprising:
1) You Don’t.
2) Maybe you don’t need to.
This life, if anything, is a team sport. There’s no getting there from here by yourself. Not in the long run. So if you were wondering what “Controversy” would sound like without a slinky, androgynous sex bomb out in front - well, it sounds pretty much the same. Likewise with early hits “Delirious” and “D.M.S.R.,” and “America,” the funk-fueled deep cut off of 1985’s Around The World In A Day. NPG family member Kip Blackshire assisted on lead vocals for a few songs, but for the most part, the set was a straight shot of The Revolution.
On the title track for Prince’s 1984 magnum opus, it wasn’t anyone in the band singing, it was the crowd because, as Wendy explained, there is no way to replace what has been lost. It belonged to everyone and was on everyone to celebrate not the absence of the man, but the magic that his life’s work left behind in the world. And what became clear over the course of the nearly twenty song set was that, though the heart/mind may be gone from this plane, much of the DNA, the SOUL that imbued albums like 1999, Controversy, and Purple Rain, remains on this planet not just within the members of The Revolution, but in the hearts, and voices, of the fans who loved him.