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Galway Independent


Purple Rain in Galway

Wednesday, 17th May, 2017 1:00am

Purple Rain, a show that celebrates the music, life and legacy of Prince arrives in Galway this Saturday, 20 May, bringing with it a nine piece band and everything you’d expect from a concert dedicated to a musical icon.

For the past 11 years Purple Rain have been performing all the Prince hits but the past year has seen the profile of the music rise as new fans are being introduced to his music. It’s just over a year since Prince passed away and lead singer of Purple Rain, Jimi Love says demand for his music has grown in that time.

“Since April 21 last year, the whole thing has taken on new meaning. Every gig is dedicated to Prince now, a celebration of all the gifts he left and the impact he had on so many lives, including mine.” He adds, “We have a lot of hard core Prince fans that come to our shows but now we are noticing that new fans are coming to get a full on Prince experience.”

Jimi, who lives in London, remembers the day he heard Prince had died. “I was heading out the door when one of the band members called me. I hadn’t been online or heard the news that day but I was in shock when she told me. When I was on the tube later, the song Purple Rain came on and I began to feel very emotional about it all. It was such a shock.”

Jimi was introduced to Prince’s music when he was 10. “My godfather played me ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ in his car and I was blown away by the energy. I washed so many cars to raise the £10 needed to buy Purple Rain on vinyl, my first Prince album! I loved music as a kid and thought performers like Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury were as good as it got, but Prince was in a league of his own!”

Over the next few years, buying Prince’s new albums was pretty much an annual event for Jimi. The band Purple Rain however came about by chance and wasn’t a deliberate decision from the off. “I spent my late teens/early 20s playing in various bands, but I never learnt any Prince stuff on guitar. I think I was a bit scared and in awe! Then one November night I was playing a gig in a cover band and we ended up jamming Purple Rain. In the pub, later that night, I started the band Purple Rain.”

The band had a few years of gigging under their belts when, in 2008, they made a last minute trip across to Dublin from England when Prince cancelled his Croke Park shows. Jimi remembers how quickly their show in Dublin came about. “We made a last minute dash to Dublin. I had got in touch with a guy I knew who ran a venue and we ended up playing. So many people had travelled to see Prince live and despite the disappointment fans felt, it turned out to be a brilliant night and I got to meet so many new Prince fans.”

Jimi, who saw Prince live three times, says he did come face to face with the star once. It was during the icon’s 21-date series of gigs at the O2 in London. “He came out for an encore and walked through the crowd. I was in a front row and I stopped him and he looked at me. I had it all prepared what I wanted to say but in the end I didn’t say it! I lost all track of what I wanted to say. I guess I was star struck.”

Jimi says he has always tried to avoid being a Prince impersonator. “There was only one Prince, and he was just so far ahead of anyone as a musician and performer, to impersonate him is just an impossible task!”

For Jimi and the band, this show is all about the music. “This band has always been about playing the music in the spirit of Prince. Yes, we dress up a bit for the vibe, but the fact I’m quite short, play guitar and look a bit like him is just coincidence. We all just love jamming his songs, and introducing his music to new people.”

Purple Rain are currently on a major tour of the UK and Ireland and their Galway show comes ahead of their headline appearance at Glastonbarry, Wales’ premier tribute band festival. The band have been praised by original Prince and the Revolution drummer Bobby Z who described them as “authentic and on the money”.

Jimi adds, “We’ve never been to Galway so we are looking forward to that a lot. The show itself is not based on any Prince show in particular. It takes the bits we all like from his different shows.”

And he says people shouldn’t be wary of coming. “I think people worry that it might be tacky or cheesy but this isn’t. It is a celebration of Prince with incredibly talented musicians.”

Audiences can expect to see, hear and feel the hits from one of the most loved artists of all time including 1999, Little Red Corvette, Purple Rain, Kiss, Diamonds And Pearls, U Got The Look, When Doves Cry, Cream, I Wanna Be Your Lover and many more.

Purple Rain play the Black Box Theatre, Galway on Saturday 20 May at 8pm. See for tickets or call the box office on 091-569777. Tickets are €27.50.

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