The Revolution is coming... to Detroit Lakes! The versatile band behind some of the most iconic hits of the late Minnesota-grown music legend, Prince, will be making a tour stop at DL's Historic Holmes Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 27, to kick off the theater's 16th season in style.
"I'm really excited to be able to present a group like The Revolution!" says the theater's executive director, Amy Stoller Stearns. "I grew up on the music of Prince and in all the places I've lived and worked, when people hear I'm from Minnesota the way they connect to our state is that they know we are the home of Prince, Bob Dylan, the Vikings and that we have lots of lakes.
"Here in DL we've got the lakes, (Vikings wide receiver) Adam Thielen, and now the Revolution - closest we can get to Prince. Guess I should book Bob Dylan next!" she joked.
It's been more than two years since Minnesota-grown pop music legend Prince passed away, but his spirit is being kept alive by the five musicians who helped him create some of his most remembered songs. The Revolution - consisting of original members Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Bobby Z, BrownMark and Dr. Fink - is considered to be one of the most successful music acts of all time.
Merging funk, rock n' roll, rhythm and blues, pop and psychedelia genres, the band rose to international fame and prominence with "Purple Rain," a rock operatic project centered around Prince that catapulted him and the group to instant stardom. The project consisted of two parts: a studio film and an accompanying soundtrack album. The film was a box office smash hit, while the soundtrack was listed by Rolling Stone as No. 76 on "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time," and the record, "Purple Rain," was recently inducted into the Library of Congress to be preserved for generations to come.
After the summer of 1985, The Revolution soon found themselves to be a global phenomenon, following the release of the film and touring throughout the United States, Europe and Japan.
During a three-year span, Prince and the Revolution achieved two number-one Billboard 200 albums ("Purple Rain" and "Around the World in a Day"), multiple top ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and won numerous awards, including three Grammys and three American Music Awards.
The Revolution officially disbanded in late 1986, after the Parade Tour, which supported the soundtrack for Prince's second film, "Under the Cherry Moon." The band members remained close to each other throughout the years, however, and reunited on a few occasions with Prince's blessing - most notably for the American Heart Association in early 2012, after drummer Bobby Z suffered a near fatal heart attack. Tragically, in April 2016, they lost the man himself.
"After Prince passed away it was pretty unanimous for us to get together and do something (in his memory)," said Dr. Fink in a recent interview. "We had gotten together a few times prior to that for some special events as well, we just weren't doing it as a regular thing."
From that decision to reunite came a 2017 tour, and they've continued to perform together "on and off" since then, Fink added.
Now, in the fall of 2018, the band is doing a small tour of all-Minnesota stops. Stearns revealed how she was able to get Detroit Lakes on that list earlier this week.
"A few of my colleagues from around the state and I often talk about who can we bring into greater Minnesota as a group," she said, noting that block booking an artist in multiple cities and/or venues is often more enticing to get them to accept a tour. "The idea to bring The Revolution out here started shortly after Prince's death. After a bunch of research and conversation, we were able to work it out for The Revolution to come to Detroit Lakes (Sept. 27), the Paramount Theatre in St. Cloud (Sept. 28) and the Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing (Sept. 29)."
The Detroit Lakes concert on Sept. 27 starts at 7:30 p.m. So what can audience members expect to hear during its scheduled 2½ hours?
"It's a mixture of early stuff, the early years of Prince," Fink said, noting that the band will be covering songs from the albums "1999," "Controversy," "Dirty Mind," "Parade," "Around the World in a Day" and of course, "Purple Rain."
Fink added that while Prince was responsible for most of the songwriting on those albums, various band members were occasionally invited to co-write some of the tunes, and/or join in on some of his studio sessions.
He also revealed that the last time he had met with Prince in person, in 2014, they talked about a band reunion.
"One of the first things he said in that meeting was that he was thinking of reuniting with The Revolution again," Fink said. "I hoped he would, I had a feeling he was going to do it at some point... but unfortunately that didn't come to fruition."
He added that even now, more than two years later, Prince's death was still "hard to wrap your head around. He was too young for that to happen, for sure."
Fink also noted that for many of Prince's fans, coming to see The Revolution perform has been a way of working through their grief at his passing.
"They're very appreciative of the fact we're out playing again," he said, adding, "It's been a lot of fun."
In addition, Fink revealed that a documentary featuring Prince and The Revolution is in the works, for release sometime next spring.
"Later in the spring, there's going to be a documentary film coming out, featuring Prince and The Revolution performing at First Avenue in 1983," he said. "On August 3, 1983, we debuted some of the 'Purple Rain' soundtrack music... the filming hadn't started yet. We'd been prepping for the movie all summer, and we did a special benefit show for the Minnesota Dance Theater (because) they were letting us use their facility for rehearsals. It was filmed and recorded live."
Those video and audio recordings are now being used as the basis for the new documentary, he added - and eventually, the band is contemplating the possibility of recording some new material as well.
But before all that happens, fans can still enjoy hearing all those unforgettable songs, performed by the band that helped make them worldwide hits, by purchasing a ticket to attend their show in Detroit Lakes.
"This is really a big show for us," Stearns said. "Big in so many ways - the name, the music style, the extra audio that we need to bring in, all the extra behind-the-scenes needs, many extra challenges. It takes a lot, but we have amazing staff and tech folks and, of course, a great community to be able to make this happen. It's really a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these incredible musicians who played alongside Prince and helped make him into a Minnesota music icon."
If you go
What: Prince's Band, The Revolution, in concert
Where: The Historic Holmes Theatre, 826 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes
When: Thursday, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Admission is $58 for adults and $29 for students, and may be purchased online at www.dlccc.org/holmes.html, by phone at 218-844-7469, or at the Holmes Theatre box office located at 806 Summit Ave., Detroit Lakes. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the show.