Wax Fang play Purple Rain @ Lville Ballet Center 4.17.10

Going into the Wax Fang show, I thought to myself “I hope Scott wears one of those frilly pirate shirts or something to go along with their performance of Purple Rain.” Little did I know that they weren’t just playing Purple Rain at the fundraiser, they were going to be performing it — complete with costumes, props and everything required to sell it as one of the most fun shows I’ve ever seen.

My first hint that this was to be no ordinary show was that they rode through the crowd on a motorcycle, just like in the film. From there they made their way on stage and I realized the only thing missing was a recreation of Prince’s guitar. They had absolutely everything down perfectly, from their dress to the keyboard samples.

One of my favorite moments of the show came during the opening track “Let’s Go Crazy.” At the end of the song, there’s a blistering 20 second guitar solo. It’s a screaming, quick solo and it helps set the tone for the rest of the record (that tone: “awesome”). So when it came to that point in the song, the band stopped playing, Scott paused an extra beat for dramatic effect, and then his hand flew over to the theremin and did a great job of recreating the screeches and squeals that way. It was a little bit funny and a lot awesome.

From there the show progressed pretty much like any fan of the album could tell you it would. They followed it track-by-track and put more soul into it than most bands do with songs they’ve spent years pouring themselves into writing. Purple Rain is classic, Wax Fang are talented and their costumes were spot-on, but the whole thing would have fallen apart if Scott and the rest of the group hadn’t really given it their all.

The only other moment that stood out was actually something that likely would have fit in well at a Prince concert. During the album-ending title track, a girl jumped on stage and started dancing on Scott while he was singing. Except for inserting the question “where’d she come from?” into the lyrics, he never missed a beat and turned to dance with her any time he wasn’t singing. Security let it slide for a while, no doubt figuring that she was harmless and the band were actually enjoying it. During the guitar solo, she and Scott dropped to the floor and she shook about while he wailed on the guitar and made his best rock n roll face. Eventually he cracked and laughed for a second or two, reminding us that even a great musician in full Prince-impersonator garb knows when something gets a little silly.

Lots more photos after the break

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