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Concert Reviews:
The Revolution captures the spirit of Prince at the Majestic
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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DETROIT -- The Revolution is not about to stop. And that's a good thing.

The late Prince's 80s-era band made its second visit to Detroit, the Minneapolis music icon's celebrated second home, on Thursday night, Oct. 5, at the Majestic Theatre with a markedly different vibe than its first appearance more than 15 months ago. At that point the quintet seemed tight and a bit defensive, anxious not to appear opportunistic yet clearly staking a legitimate claim to the music it made with Prince three-plus decades ago.

On Thursday, however, the Revolution was clearly more comfortable in its role, storming through a 19-song, 95-minute set that seldom took its foot off the pedal as it celebrated Prince's genre-straddling and, well, revolutionary repertoire. "These songs exist and he meant them to exist and we play them," guitarist Wendy Melvoin, who shared lead vocals with bassist Mark Brown and Mint Condition's Stokely Williams, told a Majestic crowd that, while significantly smaller than last year's turnout, danced and sang along non-stop throughout. "In our opinion -- in OUR opinion -- we're doing it respectfully."

And the Revolution did it with the same kind of fire it had during the days of "1999," "Purple Rain." The songs were rendered faithfully -- and in their full-length versions rather than the truncated, medley arrangements Prince favored -- but the group also took time to stretch out during extended takes of "DMSR," "Let's Work" and "Controversy." There were a couple of deep dives into the catalog, including the political polymorph "America" that opened the show, "Purple Rain's" "Computer Blue" and "All Day, All Night" from protégé Jill Jones' 1987 debut album. Greg Brooks, one of The Bodyguards singer-dancers from the 1986 Parade Tour, made his way on stage during the encores while another Bodyguard, Wally Safford, watched from the wings.

And there was no shortage of hits, including a show-ending bombers run that included "1999," "Let's Go Crazy," "Delirious," "Controversy," "Kiss," "When Doves Cry" and "Purple Rain" -- which Melvoin led the crowd in singing, explaining that "we are YOUR band, and you have to sing this song." The bulletproof encore pairing of "I Would Die 4 U" and "Baby I'm a Star" was as transcendent as ever, capping a show that reminded us of how much we still miss Prince -- but also how fortunate we are that there's still a band around that can deliver these songs so authentically.

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