Talking Stick Resort
January 8th, 2011
When it comes to most musical acts there really isn't any substitution for the original.
Prince, for example, is a one of a kind musician, but the tribute act Purple Reign is probably as close to the real thing as you can get. Purple Reign, which is a regular in Las Vegas but pretty much sells out anywhere they go, played their third and final show last night in front of a sold out crowd (told you) at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale.
For the most part cover bands (er, tribute acts) have never been much of a big deal outside of casino show rooms. Most people tend to stick to the originals. But that's not to say that they don't have their upsides. The nice thing about tribute acts is that they usually encapsulate the best of a band or artists career. Remember that whole 'Artist Formerly Know As' phase? Yeah, it kinda sucked and is ultimately pretty forgettable.
On the other hand people still love the shit out of Purple Rain and other early '80s Prince and that's just what you get with Purple Reign.
The group performed all of Prince's big hits like "Let's Go Crazy," "Kiss," "1999," and, of course, "Purple Rain." The bands nearly two hour long set was amazingly well choreographed and even featured a fake Morris Day and The Time which was pretty good, also. Purple Reign did a nice job of not only sounding and looking good but keeping the level of crowd participation high. This included bringing fans up on stage to do some sexy dancing and at several times during their set performing amongst the crowd.
It's pretty incredible just how similar Purple Reign's Prince, Jason Tenner, and the real Prince look and sound so much a like. I've never really understood the desire to start a tribute act before but I have to imagine that if Tenner ever had tried to start a band before that he would have got so many 'wow, has anyone ever told you that you look just like Prince' comments that he would have just got fed up and gone down this path. Tenner really should be commended, though, as he definitely goes to tremendous lengths to be just as good as the original.
Now being that I've never seen the real Prince in person I can't really do an honest comparison. But in the end Purple Reign sounded great, played all the right songs and the crowd was into it. So whether it was just good as the real thing is besides the point. You got a good show. What more could you ask for?
Last Night: Purple Reign at Talking Stick Resort
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Personal Bias: Like I've said, I've never really understood the whole tribute band concept but if I had to see one I'm glad it was this one. The first cassette tape I ever bought was the Batman soundtrack so I was kinda hoping to hear something from that but no such luck.
The Crowd: Definitely the crowd you'd expect to find in a casino showroom on a Saturday night. There were some younger folks mixed in with the mostly older crowd but not much.
Overheard in the Crowd: Nothing all that interesting. But Charles Barkley showed up on stage at the end and said a few words to the crowd. That's pretty interesting.
Random Notebook Dump: Can we please have more shows at the Talking Stick Resort? When I mentioned I was with the New Times to the box office I got escorted to my seat, thanked for coming out and given two free bottles of water. I never get that kind of treatment elsewhere. I know, I'm a whore.