New Power Generation Gig at the LONDON INDIGO O2 ARENA THURSDAY 2ND AUGUST 2018
An Evening of Prince Music
Performed by the Legendary backing group
that played, toured, wrote & recorded with Prince.
NPG band members introducing Lead vocals: MacKenzie // Guest co-lead vocals: Kip Blackshire // MD, keyboards: Morris Hayes // Keyboards: Tommy Barbarella // Drums: Chris Bailey // Bass: Sonny T // Guitar: Homer O’Dell // Rap/Guitar/Dance: Tony M // Percussion/Dance: Damon D.
I had never really been a Prince fan or rather a fan of his music, however, I had always been intrigued by his personality, they way he presented himself, his flamboyance, his eccentricity which was further heightened by his petite..ness. So on Thursday 2nd August as I legged it to the O2, to see NPG through the sweltering heat, sweat dripping down my brow with "Purple Rain" chugging away at my thoughts, my curiosity started to grow. Years of touring, recording, rehearsing, playing and performing with Prince helped to shape New Power Generation and they were finally here in London.
Could tonight's performance without the legend really give the man himself credit along-with his music as well as his legacy? There are certain artists who are hard to emulate because their very essence is marked in the DNA of their music and Prince is one of those artists in that category, along with stalwarts like Barry White, Luther Van Dross and Teena Marie etc. So there I was wondering how this evening was really going to go and could it truly capture such a legendary icon, who was a multi-instrumentalist whose essence shrieked mega, explosive, crazy, do your own thing creativity and eccentric flamboyance? A man who was immaculately shy, and protective about his very existence and who some may say was a bit of a recluse, yet who was also larger than life?
MacKenzie lead vocal tore the place down with his energetic take of Prince. Bounding around the stage I saw passion drip from within his core as he belted out track after track. He captured the legend incredibly well, that at times were it not for that little something that distinguishes one artist from another, had I been blind folded I could be fooled into thinking that MacKenzie was the real deal.
Purple Rain was the track that really captured a moment of reminiscence, this moment was etched on the faces of each person in the crowd. As the lights beamed on MacKenzie, and then Kip in a hue of purple, I felt the crowd hold their breath and surmised they were visualising Prince serenading them. The magic of Purple Rain had captured the crowd in a binding spell, immersing them in a stillness of pure respect for a song which was started by MacKenzie and then by Kip, Guest Co-Lead Vocals, with his signature Stetson hat, who glided onto the stage and took over half way through. An energy in his own right - I found Kip's presence incredibly magnetic and the crowd were now in a state of nostalgic bliss, singing along, waving arms, an almost symbolic honoring of an era and icon.
Singer songwriter and actress Beverley Knight joined NPG on stage, dressed in a sexy pair of heels, fish nets, shorts and a cute shimmering top but all of this sassyness could not distract anyone from the powerhouse she was. Charasmatic as ever, there was only one Beverly Knight and when she opened her mouth sparks flew and the temperature at the Indigo went up another notch, her vocals in top form as she laid into Diamonds and Pearls.
The show was one of pure unadulterated high energy with track after track being delivered with a committed and dedicated passion and respect to the memory of a great man, Prince. I was impressed by the energy of commitment by the band as a whole, connoisseurs of music and this was clearly seen as they immersed themselves into delivering a sterling performance on the night.
It was an interesting evening for me. I must admit, I didn't feel alot of his music in my soul, however, there was a new founded respect for this great man and his talent and it was admirable to see and sense the dedication and love of the NPG to the memory of Prince and his music. My friend and photographer, Tony Jazz certainly enjoyed the evening as he jumped and danced and had a good old rave reminiscing of times past. All in all a good evening was had. The crowd were certainly entertained and from what I saw had a fabulous night out.