Published on July 4th, 2022 | by Douglas Rasmussen0
Prince and the Revolution: Live (Blu ray)
Prince and the Revolution Live has been seen before as a supplement on another release. We answer the question – is it worth buying anyway?
The newest release from the Prince Estate, Prince and the Revolution Live, is a remastering of the classic 1985 concert in Syracuse, NY. Originally this concert was included as a DVD supplement that came with Purple Rain Deluxe Edition. There was a streaming premiere on YouTube of the concert in its entirety that featured Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph hosting an event where she interviewed various personnel. So some might be wondering if this edition warrants a purchase and if it merits its own separate release. If a consumer has the Purple Rain Deluxe Edition, then the question is — does this require another dip into the wallet?
As to the quality of the remastering and whether it justifies another purchase, I would say that unequivocally yes, there is justification for this release and that it’s worth your consumer dollars. The DVD that was included in the deluxe edition was a transfer from a VHS, so the quality of the picture and the sound was grainy and suspect. For such a seminal moment in Prince’s career, it seemed like an oversight to not give it the treatment it deserves. While the Prince Estate has released what seems to be like a rather large amount of material, including a whole album that was inexplicably shelved by Prince (Welcome 2 America, which I would argue makes Prince’s top ten), and a reissue of The Gold Experience that came out soon after this release, necessitating a consumer pause to decide if it’s indeed worth the money. But the image and sound are much improved in this edition and certainly merit their own release. Even if you just watch some of the videos that were released as previews on YouTube and compare it to the DVD you can notice a significant upgrade in quality.
The music not only sounds improved, but it is generally fantastic material. Curiously, Prince was feeling burned out at this point by the Purple Rain material. Prince had prematurely ended the European leg of the Purple Rain tour because he was feeling very burned out and sick of having to embody the persona of ‘the Kid’ in concert after concert. Yet this exhaustion is not evident in listening (or watching) this concert, where Prince and his band are in top form. As compensation for not touring the rest of Europe, Prince decided to broadcast this on European television via satellite (the first concert to do so). Perhaps knowing that, Prince decided to pull out the stops and put on the best performance he could knowing that for many this would become a showcase for the band. For many viewers in 1985 this would constitute their first exposure to Prince, and he wanted to ensure that they would be seeing him at his best.
The songs are, for the most part, excellent. The inclusion of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” is odd and confusing, and Prince’s conversation with God in the middle of the concert comes off as rather silly, but otherwise the track selection is solid and the sound quality well worth it. Even “Purple Rain,” a song that I usually skip (sacrilegious, I know, but I’m just not fond of that song), features such brilliant guitar playing by Prince that I do listen to this version. Prince draws largely from Purple Rain, but there are also selections from 1999 and Controversy, ensuring prime 1980s Prince for the viewer.
There are a few versions of this set: a 3 CD and Blu-Ray set, an LP set, and an expensive collector’s edition with both CDs and LPs (which possibly could be sold out by now). Whatever your preference, I would highly recommend buying it, even if you have Purple Rain Deluxe Edition. Better yet, add the Gold Experience reissue that just came out recently as wellto your cart when buying Live, as you would be getting the best of Prince in the 1980s and 1990s.