Purple Rain roars back to life with Classic Albums Live

Much like a symphony endeavours to present a pure listening experience, Classic Albums Live has built its reputation on creating a note perfect musical experience for fans of the classic rock era of music.

“We are not a tribute band and we don’t dress up in costumes,” explains Classic Albums Live’s founder, Craig Martin. “We care about musical perfection.”

Over the past 16 years and dozens of different albums performed, the group’s international success has proven that this type of experience was sorely missed by music lovers.

Originally, the CAL experience focussed on the legendary records of the 60’s and 70’s. As the group heads toward it’s two decade mark, many repeated, and even annual bookings, have led them to start looking for classics from the 1980’s as well.

Purple Rain is a landmark album, not only for its creator Prince, but also for any music fan that remembers 1984. In a summer dominated by mega tours featuring Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen, this eclectic guitarist from Minnesota reclaimed the pop and rock charts for a new generation of music with this funk tinged, but drenched in synthesizers, classic that inspires tearful emotion and irresistable dancing in equal measure.

Purple Rain is one of those rare pieces of art that matches up thematically with a cultural movement. When the album hit the shelves in 1984, it was at the height of MTV, MuchMusic and rock music’s video era. As the album was accompanied by a motion picture that told the story inspired by the songs, it was a near perfect document of the times.

Songs like Let’s Go Crazy, Purple Rain, When Doves Cry, I Would Die 4 U and Darling Nikki spoke to young people in a way that popular music had never spoken to teenagers to this point; with unflinching honesty about dreams, love, sex, and broken relationships.

All five singles from the record became worldwide hits, and the film became something of a cult classic. Over 21 million sales of the record later, it would seem that this honesty still resonates. An honesty that makes the music perfect for the Classic Albums Live treatment.

For those who may not have caught a Classic Albums Live show, it is exactly what it sounds like. A group of all-star musicians that travel around performing some of the best rock n’ roll music ever recorded note for note, cut for cut, live on stage.

“It’s always important for the audience to understand,” explains Rob Phillips, a music director for Classic Albums Live, “it’s really just the experience of putting on headphones, putting on an album and letting your mind go along on this journey with music for 45 minutes.”

Each show is a chance to revive the ritual of listening to an album while also making it a new social experience. Craig Martin calls this the modern symphony. It’s also the 21st century version of a basement album listening party.

With Prince’s Purple Rain, one can expect quite a party. Not only the kind of party where everyone dances all night; but more like an all night dance party that triggers any number of great memories previously lost to the 1980’s.

As always, Classic Albums Live presents their featured album, uninterrupted, for the first half of the show. After an intermission, the band returns to the stage to offer up a second set featuring Prince’s most celebrated songs spanning his entire career.

Classic Albums Live presents Prince: Purple Rain plays at the Rose Theatre April 18 at 8pm.

Tickets are available by calling (905) 874-2800 or online here.

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