Toronto funk and R&B musicians pay homage to the Purple One during a three-hour, 30-song set
PRINCE: A CELEBRATION OF HIS MUSIC & LIFE at Revival, Sunday, May 1. Rating: NNN
A rotating cast of local funk and R&B musicians became a Prince tribute band on Sunday night at Revival, charged with the difficult task of honouring a man who escaped easy categorization and left behind a sprawling body of work. Led by producers and performers Andrew Craig and Quisha Wint, the ambitious event was organized in just nine days.
The set focused mostly on Prince’s best known work, from I Wanna Be Your Lover to Let’s Go Crazy to Musicology. Vocalist and guitarist Trust Chen Pow did the majority of the heavy lifting, singing Prince’s parts on all but nine of the 30 songs performed.
But it was on the deeper cuts where the band really stepped up and offered a truly fitting tribute to the artist’s legacy. Lady Gaga guitarist Ricky Tillo was stellar the whole night but shone on the heavy b-side She’s Always In My Hair. Vocalist Jennie Laws spent most of the night singing backup, but took the lead and delivered How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore to a completely awestruck purple-clad crowd. Wint thought it was so hot that she started fanning Laws as the singer dropped to her knees to deliver the song’s final lines.
For most artists, a three-hour, 30-song set would be a sufficient sampling of their life’s work. But by the end of the night, the faithful renditions just barely scratched the surface of Prince’s back catalogue. Though the task was surely daunting, no one involved let that stop them from celebrating the life of their hero, or from providing a place for his Toronto fans to do the same.
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