Let me start by saying I knew this was not going to be an easy night for anyone involved. This transcended your typical concert experience for both the band and those in attendance. There was really no way to prepare for something like this. It was not a matter of whether or not it would be an emotional experience, but a matter of just how emotional it would get. And would The Revolution be able to successfully navigate this ship through rough waters? In their eyes, there was no choice. They were responsible for all of us present last night, and they took the utmost care to ensure they provided what we needed from them…a night of healing with a heavy dose of fun (and funk) thrown in.
The Revolution, consisting of Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Bobby Z., Dr. Fink, and bassist Brown Mark took the stage to the sounds of the mysterious ‘Computer Blue’ intro, and I lost my damn mind, headbanging, throwing the horns, and probably scaring Brown Mark a bit (although his smile said he may have been enjoying my antics). This was just the start of the emotional roller coaster for me. When they started off ‘Take Me With U,’ that was the first instance of my emotions getting the best of me. I always loved that song so much going back to age 10 in ’84, that I was picturing myself playing the record in my bedroom, happily singing along, and I just lost it. It wouldn’t be the last time either.
Guest singer Stokley Williams helped out with killer versions of Prince classics like ‘Uptown,’ ‘D.M.S.R.,’ and ‘1999.’ The great think about Stokley was that he never tried to duplicate, only celebrate. He came across very genuine, and immensely talented. I think it was a great decision to have someone of his caliber come out and do those vocals justice. Speaking of vocals, Brown Mark did an EXCELLENT job on lead vocals for some songs. The tension was mounting up to the next portion of the show that would prove to be unforgettable.
I am just going to come out right now and say that Wendy and Lisa’s duet version of ‘Sometimes It Snows In April’ utterly destroyed me. Like complete destruction. And I was not the only one, judging by people around me. Wendy’s gentle acoustic guitar work, along with her poignant and haunting lead vocal was something I will never forget. It took about a whole 20 seconds for me to break down. It was the kind of performance that sticks with you long term, and sneaks up on you when you least expect it. From there, they had the impossible task of getting the energy level back up, but they sure met the challenge with ‘Let’s Go Crazy.’
After a few more classics like ‘Delirious,’ ‘Kiss,’ and ‘When Doves Cry,’ it was time for the final devastating blow of the evening. It literally took Wendy strumming the opening chords to ‘Purple Rain’ to turn me (and hundreds of others) into blubbering puddles. The performance was a thing of beauty. And again, the band was up to the challenge of picking everyone back up and carrying them to the finish line with ‘I Would Die 4 U’ and a frenetic ‘Baby I’m a Star.’ When the band began to come up to take their final bow, my night was made when Brown Mark came to the edge of the stage, slammed one of his picks into my hand, and held tight for a few seconds. Then Dr. Fink came running up to the edge of the stage to shake my hand. Moments like that make all the years of undying support 100% worth it. I truly hope The Revolution continues to stay together for years to come, and maybe even release some new music. As evidenced last night, they have a huge support system to back them up.