Growing up in Austria in the 80s, I knew of Prince, but my music tastes ran towards New Wave and Punk. I knew the hits that played on Austrian radio and what I read the German teen weekly BRAVO. Thinking back that magazine is probably single handedly responsible for Germany’s obsession with David Hasselhoff and their still ongoing love affair with Michael Jackson, but I digress.
When I moved to Minnesota in 1991 Prince had changed things up and The New Power Generation became his backing band. Most of my Prince memories involve that band. I had seen their show on First Avenue’s calendar but had a gig already booked for that day. When an email arrived early afternoon asking if TCM was interesting in covering that same night, I did some mental time calculation, let 2 + 2 become 4 and agreed as I wanted the opportunity to see them live.
Well, life has a way of messing up basic math: 2+2 ended up being 5 ¾. My scheduled gig ran late and there was no opening band, so by the time I arrived out of breath at First Ave, the show was well underway, and by the sound and looks of it, I missed some good music and photo opportunities.
Walking into the venue I found myself surrounded by a classy party vibe. Many were dressed up, and the middle aged crowd was having a good time. Reuniting after Price’s death the band picked LA based singer MacKenzie as their lead vocalist. For the First Avenue show NPG brought out extra firepower by having hometown artist Cobi join them on stage for several songs. I enjoyed his performance, None of the artists was trying to be Prince, but it was plain to see how much he has influenced their style. There also were dance numbers with Mayte who was NPG’s feature dancer from 1992 – 1996 – Oh and also Prince’s ex-wife.
By now their impressively long setlist, had gone a bit deeper into the Purple One’s catalogue with some cool songs I had not heard before. Some Prince fans have mixed feelings about concerts continuing after his passing. In my opinion NPG and The Revolution have earned the right to share his work with fans. Both bands are far from being a bunch of random guys looking to make a quick buck, and have worked with the artists for many years. And the spirits at those shows is one of celebration of his work, with a few somber moments when we realize what was lost that day in April.
Set List: The New Power Generation / Sexy Mf / Love 2 The 9s / The Max / Arrogance / Cream / Sign 0 The Times / U Got The Look / Nothing Compares 2 U / Diamond And Pearls / Money Don’t Matter / Willing And Able / Deuce / Daddy Pop / 7 / Love Tnt Will Be Gone / 2 Gether / Jughead / I Could Never / Live 4 Love / Dmsr / Get Wild / The Good Live / The Morning Papers / The Cross / Get Off / 1999 / Purple Rain / Sacrifice Of Victor
Encore: Funkify / Kiss / The Ryde / Peach / Alphabet Street