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The Revolution at the Majestic, 5 Things To Know

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

Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2018

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There's no outfit better suited to carry on the late Prince's legacy than the Revolution.

Five members of the band that he worked with from the early 80s through 1986 -- and was featured in the smash film "Purple Rain" -- regrouped to pay tribute to him a few months after his April 2016 death. The troupe (Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Matt Fink, Mark Brown and Bobby "Z" Rivkin -- subsequently hit the road, fleshing out the lineup a bit but playing an array of hits to packed houses and critical plaudits.

And the Revolution continues. The group is on the road yet again, even as a new album from Prince's vaults, "Piano & A Microphone," is testifying to his creative brilliance. And rest assured it's playing to crowds that are parting like it's...well, pick your year...

Keyboardist Coleman says by phone that the Revolution's success is "great. It's totally unexpected. It's hard to think of it as being, like, a tour and being successful and stuff like that right now because we're in a weird spot where we're transitioning from coming together out of grief and just pure shock and we're in the middle of, 'Now what? Why are we doing this? What's it for?' We're still getting our heads around it."

Coleman, 58, adds that support from the Prince estate and, most importantly, fans, has been instrumental in keeping the group going. "Oh yeah, there's been such a beautiful response. And it's been small; We're not doing, like stadium gigs or anything. It's been club gigs where we're really getting close to the people and people are just coming out and feeling grateful and needing this experience just to deal with losing Prince. It's really the audience that has kept us going because we've been questioning ourselves, "Why are we doing this?"

The Revolution is also considering making some new music of its own, though nothing's been decided yet. "We go back and forth," Coleman says. "Every time we get together and we're at a sound check we can jam like nobody's business. That's just who we are. We've had some incredible jams at sound check and we call out to our sound man, 'Are you recording this?' So we get excited sometimes and think about making a record. We just don't know what that would be, and who cares about it? But who says what's to happen. Rules? No. (laughs) You can have those, but we're gonna do this over here. So you never know; The possibilities are endless. There's been talk about documenting some of these gigs, too, so...we'll see. It's a unique situation.

Coleman was tapped to write liner notes for "Piano & A Microphone" which, as the title implies, features Prince solo, working on songs in their early phases. "I didn't want to do it; It was hard and I cried," Coleman says. "And just hearing his voice at the beginning of the tape, when he tinkles around and he's talking to one of his engineers and just speaks into the mic...Just hearing his voice like that, it was wonderful to hear and it was painful. It was instant time travel. But I was honored that they asked me to do it, and I care so much about it that I really felt like I had to take it on so Prince would know I really care and I really understand him as a musician."

Coleman, like other Prince fans, is looking forward to future releases from his prodigious vaults. "There's a lot of material in the vaults from live shows, videos and recordings. That kind of stuff would be fun to get into and maybe revisit. Inside the band there's a famous jam called 'Ice Cream;' When Prince was in a good mood or we were having a could show he would sometimes just run to the microphone and scream 'Ice Cream!' and that was a cue for us to go into this particular jam thing, and that's never been released or heard or really known. There were lots of little things like that we would do. Those kinds of things are really fun, and I'd love to share that with the public. We'll see. There's, like, 100 years' worth of material in that vault."

The Revolution performs Thursday, Oct. 4 at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Detroit. Doors at 7:30 p.m. $39.50 in advance, $45 day of show. Call 313-833-9700 or visit majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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