When you live near a major metropolitan area and Prince avoids your town for over 14 years (unintentionally or not), you take your fix where you can get it. So, I was thrilled when I heard that a Prince tribute band was coming to town named The Purple Xperience and even more thrilled to find out that at the helm of the keyboards was the one and only original Prince and the Revolution member Matt “Doctor” Fink.
Imagine my surprise when all of the preconceived notions I may have had went out the window. I knew they would open with Let’s Go Crazy. They didn’t. I knew that they would close the entire show with Purple Rain. They didn’t. And I also knew that I would have to have a massive suspension of disbelief to feel like I was at a Prince concert. It wasn’t that massive at all and the biggest misconception was that it would not sound at all like Prince vocally. Shockingly, it did.
Fronted by the very talented Marshall Charloff, he hits all of the falsettos and screams and switches wardrobes a few times during the evening to keep the ladies in swoon. And unlike other Prince tribute bands, Marshall plays amazingly fluid guitar and great piano work as well. The most impressive of which is the vocal work which he has nailed down to a science. Not to mention the sing alongs he leads the crowd through and the audience banter he’s nailed.
Dr. Fink was also at the top of his game with all of his trademark sound patches and riffs. When you consider that Fink actually co-wrote many of the songs you hear during the evening including Dirty Mind, America, Computer Blue and many others, it becomes much more satisfying. And let’s not forget that he is one of the pioneers of that buzzy funk we’ve all grown to love and adore. The innovator was in the house.
The rest of the band also does up the outfits to re-enact the nostalgia and complete the picture. The band stays tight and does great backup vocal work and at some points even picking up vocal nuances for Marshall to round out the sound. From Dez’s trademark headband to Bobby Z’s perm. It was all there.
As you would expect, the band took on a very large chunk of the hits including Kiss, Let’s Go Crazy, Take Me With U, Raspberry Beret, Uptown and the likes, but also broke out occasional surprises like Darling Nikki, Pop Life complete with the audio segues you hear on the album, a revamped piano version of Ballad Of Dorothy Parker, and other delights we won’t ruin for you.
In short, the Minneapolis based tribute band isn’t just any other act. It is a full blown performance juggernaut and well worth the price of admission. And for hardcore Prince fans, having Dr. Fink at the helm makes the entire experience fun and nostalgic. To make it even more incredible, it sounds truly fantastic.
If they’re coming through your town, it will definitely be worth it and the perfect itch for those towns that get neglected. Cough, cough, Atlanta, cough.
And check out their Facebook page to find out where they’re playing next!