Catalog # 089/90
Release Year 1996
2CD Length 70:36 |45:54
Date/Venue 3 August 1983, First Ave, MPLS & Rehearsal
Source Audience / Soundboard
Deane's Comments (rates this release 5.0/5.0)
This is the debut of Wendy Melvoin as Guitarist for the Revolution. Many of the Purple Rain songs are performed live for the first time here. The release versions of I Would Die 4 U, Purple Rain, and Baby I'm A Star were based on the recordings from this show. This was a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theatre company, who trained the dancers for the movie Purple Rain. The audio is taken directly from the circulating video of the performance. The Avenue is a part of the Moonraker Classic Prince Series. The packaging is great and the inclusion of the afternoon rehearsal makes this an excellent document.
Dale's Comments (rates this release 4.5/5.0)
Let me start with my only two minor complaints. One, the second disc is incomplete, and two, the sound quality, although very good, could have easily been improved with some basic digital remastering. OK, that said, THIS SET IS GREAT! This is one of the most electrifying performances Prince has ever done. The concert is highlighted with outstanding renditions of When U Were Mine, A Case Of U, Computer Blue, Electric Intercourse, Automatic, and an untoppable 16 minute version of Purple Rain. The rehearsal disc is outstanding as well, with a great copy of Electric Intercourse.
Mike's Comments (rates this release 4.5/5.0)
The First Avenue show is a stone-cold classic; three of the tracks from the Purple rain album were recorded here (though he did add some overdubs before releasing them). This was the first time he performed 'A case of you' live and it's given a simple yet stunning arrangement. 'Electric intercourse' is a true one-off as it wasn't played live before or after this show. The outtake version (on H2O and The work volume 1) almost certainly used most of what was recorded here. The rehearsal on disc 2 is incomplete, the full version being on Purple rush 2. The First Avenue concert film is also on A case of you VCD.
Fink's Comments (rates this release 4.0/5.0)
Upon it's release in 1996, this was a stunning bootleg to own, however time has not been kind to the recording and in the present climate of improved quality recordings, this sounds dull and tired. The release contains the legendary First Avenue 1983 show in aid of the Minnesota Dance Theatre which marks the live premiere of numerous tracks which would end up on the Purple Rain album, along with a rehearsal in preparation for the gig.
First things first - the First Avenue show. It's classed as a soundboard recording, however the source for this (and all releases documenting the show) comes from the circulating professionally filmed video recording, and is not direct from soundboard. As such it has a distinct "video" feel to it and there is a low humming throughout the background. The video recording itself has a number of glitches which show up on this, most noticeably a tape chew on 'When You Were Mine' and again during the intro to 'Purple Rain', however it's of no major concern. The audio is slightly unclear throughout, rather heavy and gritty, however the phrase which best sums it up is to class it is "dated". It's not perfect by today's standards, however in 1996 it was perfectly acceptable. All that said, one can still enjoy the show and the performance quite easily, and I'd still class it as an EX- recording, albeit not one of the better ones. As to the show, well words really don't do it justice and it's one of the concerts which anyone with any interest in Prince really should listen to, just to hear the songs before they were made famous. As is common knowledge by now, 'I Would Die 4 U', 'Baby I'm A Star' and 'Purple Rain' from this show were the basis for the tracks on the Purple Rain album, however not to be outdone, this is also the only live performance (outside of any rehearsal) which features the orgasmic magnificence of 'Electric Intercourse'. Both 'Computer Blue' and 'Purple Rain' are performed in their longer versions, with 'Purple Rain' featuring it's missing verse and featuring a longer guitar solo - stunning performance.
The rehearsal contained on Disc 2 is heavily incomplete and only around half is here. It should be almost a complete run-through of the First Avenue show with the addition of the band tuning instruments and messing around, which should run at almost 90 minutes. The fact it's heavily incomplete is a major no-no, however the quality of the recording is also rather woeful which makes Disc 2 rather pointless. The complete rehearsal has since been released by Sabotage on 'Purple Rush Volume 2' as a better quality recording, and the First Avenue show is available on their 'Purple Rush Volume 5' release.
Overall a fairly decent release for it's time, however it's since been surpassed in both quality and more complete recordings surfacing, which I guess makes this one appeal to completists only.