Catalog # SAB 218-219-220-221
Release Year 2004
4CD Length 77:14 | 76:07 | 72:08 | 68:45
Date/Venue Various 1983-1985
Source Soundboard/Audience Recording
Mike's Comments(rates this release 4.75/5.0)
The fifth and (apparently) last of Sabotage's 'Purple Rush' volumes of rehearsals and concert recordings from the 82-85 era. Disc 1 contains the brilliant First Avenue August 83 show in soundboard quality, along with 2 bonus tracks from the piano rehearsals in 83. The piano tracks were released on 'Purple Rush Volume 2', but Sabotage have since tracked down an improved recording-hence their inclusion here. Disc 2 is the real gem on this set though. This birthday show from 1984 has been circulating in pretty bad quality for years, so to have to have it in this clarity is nothing short of amazing. It's a great show, with some rarely performed tracks-including the one and only live outing of 'Our Destiny/Roadhouse Garden'. Next up is the famous Syracuse 85 concert in perfect soundboard quality. This is THE clearest version of the show there is. Yep, it's on hundreds of other titles, but NONE of them are as clear as this. Disc 4 contains an unannounced show from 7th Street Entry in October 1984, again with much improved sound quality over the other releases this show features on. As with the other 'Purple Rush' volumes, the art-work is beautiful and the booklet includes passages about each show from Turn It Up 2.0. A brilliant ending to an essential collection of 'Purple' material.
Disc 1 contains the classic First Avenue 1983 concert which spawned the Purple Rain album versions of 'I Would Die 4 U', 'Baby I'm A Star' and of course 'Purple Rain'. The recording has been sourced from the circulating video footage, and because of this the audio suffers from the same glitches the video footage does. These are slight, very minor and affect only a small part of the show. They are most obvious during the opening 'Let's Go Crazy, 'When You Were Mine' and again during the intro to 'Purple Rain'. Sabotage have attempted some repair work on the tracks, and have done a pretty decent job of patching up the incomplete parts with a different source recording. As this is sourced from a video recording it has a slightly gritty feel to it and is certainly not as crisp and clear as one would like - that said it is an improvement over the various other releases this show is circulating on and is undoubtedly the best we have to date. The show has quite rightly earned itself legendary status for reasons including the birth of many Purple Rain tracks and Wendy's live debut as a member of The Revolution - however mention must also be given to the performance which is inspired and amongst the best of Prince's career. Full length live versions of tracks such as 'Computer Blue and 'Purple Rain' are special enough however add to the mix the only live performance of the unreleased 'Electric Intercourse' and it's quite impressive how many unique moments are stuffed into the 65 minute concert. And I shan't even mention the closing funk jam of 'D.M.S.R.'. Disc 1 also includes part of the 1983 piano rehearsal which Sabotage previously made available on their 'Purple Rush 2' release in rather poor quality. The source recording used is vastly improved, and while Sabotage shouldn't have released the shit quality version in the first place, it's to their credit they added this superior version.
Disc 2 contains Prince's 26th birthday concert from First Avenue in 1984, and contrary to Sabotage's claims this is NOT a soundboard recording. Sabotage have evidently done some major work on improving this audience recording and the end result is very impressive. The sound is still slightly echoed and the overall feel of the recording is very gritty with the audience audible throughout, however it's a giant step up from what was previously circulating. The show is a also a real treat with many tracks being played live for the one and only time - many never to be repeated performances here. These include the extraordinary 'Roadhouse Garden / Our Destiny', 'All Day, All Night' and 'Noon Rendezvous' which Prince dedicates to Sheila E who is in attendance. At times the audience are evidently not living up to Prince's expectation and he has to coax them to participate a little more, but on the whole they are vocal and enthusiastic. Whilst the Purple Rush volumes were apparently intended to be a collection of only soundboard material from the era (and are labelled as such), the quality of this recording isn't too far removed from that and the improvement Sabotage have made to the recording is so impressive that it doesn't make this show seem out of place nestled alongside soundboards.
Discs 3 & 4 contain the classic Syracuse Purple Rain concert. Broadcast and officially released, the video footage of this show must surely have been watched more than any other Prince video release and (for me) doesn't disappoint no matter HOW many times I've seen it. It is also one of the most heavily booted audio releases, so it was inevitable it would find it's way on to the Purple Rush series at some point. The content of the show is not in question, and the quality of the recording is certainly impressive and improved over previous releases - and there are many. Disc 4 closes out with Prince's short set from 7th Street Entry October 1984. The sound is rather bassy, however the audience level is very minimal and overall it is a nice recording. The show itself is vastly different from many other shows of the period with much more emphasis on Prince's guitar, and the show has a bluesy feel to it. Prince does call out "Detroit" during the show, however according to reports (and apparently the taper) it was recorded in Minneapolis. This particular volume of the set is certainly one of the best due to the improved nature of many of the shows included on it.
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