Prince and The Revolution Live: The Deluxe CD/LP/Blu-Ray Box Set

Prince and The Revolution Live CD/LP/Blu-Ray box set

The Prince estate and Sony Legacy have finally released Prince and The Revolution Live, shown here in the deluxe box set configuration that includes 2 CDs, 3 LPs, and a Blu-Ray Disc. This marks the first time that this concert has been officially released on CD, LP, and Blu-Ray. The concert from the Purple Rain tour was originally broadcast around the world from The Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY March 30, 1985. The video of the concert was later released on VHS, laserdisc, and eventually decades later as a bonus DVD included with the Purple Rain deluxe edition CD. Dissapointingly, that DVD was very similar in quality to the VHS release. The fact that the DVD had not been remastered or restored at the time was a major letdown to fans. That tragedy has been corrected with the Blu-Ray included in this new set, as the video and audio have been significantly improved. The video looks much better and more vibrant than the VHS and DVD, and even looks better than the laserdisc that had been — until now — the best video release of this concert. The audio on the Blu-Ray is a tremendous improvement too, presented here in 2-channel stereo, 5.1 Surround, and even a Dolby Atmos mix.

The real gem in this set is the audio itself, included as 2 CDs and 3 LPS. The sound on the previous VHS, DVD, and laserdisc releases always sounded compressed, was heavy with treble, and had almost zero bass or low-end frequencies. Brown Mark’s bass was almost inaudible in many portions of the audio. The fans always knew that there must be a better-sounding source for this audio, and finally, that source has been located. The audio in this set has been remixed and remastered from the original multi-track master tapes that were found in Prince’s vault. The result is simply stunning.

When I first heard that Sony Legacy was planning to release this set, I had tremendously low expectations because the audio for this show has always been mediocre at best. Even when a new version was released to streaming platforms in 2020, it sounded mostly the same as the previous video releases, which to my ears was a disappointment. But with this new release, the audio is infinitely better in every way. I’m not talking about one of those remastered releases in which you compare the original release to the remaster and say to yourself, “Ah, I do hear a bit of a difference,” to make yourself feel better about the used car (or more accurately, CD) that you just bought. I’m talking about a day-versus-night difference. A difference so significant that the original VHS, DVD, and laserdisc releases of this show sound like bootleg audience recordings when compared to this new release. The sound is still crisp and clear in regards to treble, but the low-end sounds have finally been revealed in the master tapes and Bobby Z’s drums and Brown Mark’s bass can now be heard and felt in all of their glory. I say “felt” because when I went to my first concert, The Purple Rain Tour in Philadelphia November 24, 1984, I vividly remember literally feeling the rumble of the bass in my chest as the show began. With the previous releases of the Syracuse concert, it was impossible to recreate that feeling at home because the bass and low end were virtually non-existent. But with this new release, I can finally hear — and feel — Brown Mark’s bass playing again, and it is wonderful! Mark is a superb, funky-ass bass player, and his rumble technique has always been lost in previous releases of this concert, but now it’s back and the world can finally hear the genius of Brown Mark and his contribution to this era of Prince’s live shows. Bobby Z’s kick drum is also back in all of it’s glory, serving as the anchor for The Revolution’s groove.

This set magically captures The Purple Rain Tour and is an essential purchase not just for Prince fans, but for anyone who wants to see what a live masterpiece looks and sounds like. It’s essential viewing/listening.

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