Continuing what they started with a couple of memorial concerts following the death of beloved artist and frontman Prince last April, his longtime backup band The Revolution keyboardist Matt Fink, keyboardist Lisa Coleman, guitarist Wendy Melvoin, drummer Bobby Z, and bassist Brown Mark is doing a national tour this year which will be making stops in Chicago, DC, New York, LA, and San Francisco. As the San Jose Mercury-News reports, the tour begins on April 21 at Paisley Park in Minneapolis, on the one-year anniversary of the Purple One's untimely death.
It's a bit hard to imagine The Revolution getting along without Prince front and center, but what was planned as just a brief two-week tour bloomed, due to demand, into a four-month affair with two dozen dates, perhaps because Prince nostalgia is still going strong, and and in particular fans know the work of Melvoin and Coleman (a.k.a. Wendy and Lisa) on their own.
There is the tricky issue, though, of how to satisfy fans without Prince there to sing, and here's how Melvoin explained it to Rolling Stone:
Everybody keeps saying, "Well, why are you doing it? Who's going to sing? Who's going to be Prince? Who's going to be the centerpiece?" All right, let's break this down: No one. No one's going to be Prince. No one will ever be Prince, and none of us in the band are going to try and be him. You can't. It's just not going to happen.
All this is all fluid right now. But the plan today and it's changeable is we only perform songs that don't distance us as the band. So in other words, if we perform "Darling Nikki," none of us are going to sing it. We're going to have someone come out and do it. Wherever we go, there's going to be an artist who loved him deeply and they can come up and sing that song. But the other tracks that were specifically geared around a band say, "Let's Go Crazy" or "Controversy," or songs that have more like group vocals we're going to [sing them].
Melvoin also acknowledges that The Revolution was not the only band Prince performed with, and technically they broke up 30 years before he died. They were, however, Prince's band during his rise to fame in the early to mid-1980s, and were an integral part of Purple Rain, arguably Prince's single most famous album.
"Bobby [Z] says it all the time," Melvoin tells Rolling Stone. "'We were the last band Prince was ever in.'" She says that many of the later musicians Prince performed simply weren't as cohesive or scrappy of a group.
As for who the guest singers will be in each city, that could be a surprise each time, but Melvoin throws one example out there: "If, say, D'Angelo wants to come out and sing, I don't know, 'Sister,' he can go ahead and do that."
Prince passed away last April from an accidental overdose of the drug Fentanyl. Investigations into the death continue, but the source of the drug was likely counterfeit painkillers that Prince believed were Percocet or a less potent drug.
The Revolution arrives at The Fillmore in San Francisco on July 12. Tickets go on sale on March 10 at 10 a.m. at LiveNation.
The full tour schedule is below.
April 21 - Celebration 2017 @ Paisley Park - Minneapolis, MN
April 23 - Metro - Chicago, IL
April 24 - Metro - Chicago, IL
April 27 - The Fillmore Silver Spring - Washington, DC
April 28 - BB Kings - New York, NY
April 29 - Theatre of Living Arts - Philadelphia, PA
April 30 - Theatre of Living Arts - Philadelphia, PA
May 3 - Webster Hall - New York, NY
May 4 - Capitol Theatre - Port Chester, NY
May 12 - Barrymore Theatre - Madison, WI
May 14 - The Vogue - Indianapolis, IN
May 16 - Bogart’s - Cincinnati, OH
May 18 - House of Blues - Cleveland, OH
May 20 - Majestic Theater - Detroit, MI
May 21 - Phoenix Theatre - Toronto, Ont
June 14 - House of Blues - Dallas, TX
June 15 - House of Blues - Houston, TX
June 16 - The Aztec Theater - San Antonio, TX
June 17 - ACL Live - Austin, TX
June 21 - Brooklyn Bowl - Las Vegas, NV
June 22 - House of Blues - San Diego, CA
June 23 - Wiltern - Los Angeles, CA
July 12 - The Fillmore - San Francisco, CA
July 13 - Artown - Reno, NV
July 14 - Roseland Theater - Portland, OR
July 15 - The Showbox - Seattle, WA