The first date of the reunited Revolutionâs tour was just days after the one-year anniversary of Princeâs death.
âItâs still shocking and all of this time has passed,â Revolution percussionist Bobby Z says on the phone from his Minneapolis home. âItâs haunting all of us in this band, but the only way to get through the pain is to play Princeâs music.â
The Revolution, which backed Prince in the 1984 film âPurple Rain,â will deliver cuts from the iconic musicianâs songbook Saturday and Sunday at the Theatre of Living Arts.
âItâs difficult to come up with a setlist,â Bobby Z (Zimmerman) says. âThere are so many songs to choose from, but we figured this out. It feels so good to be able to get out there and play these songs that give so many people such joy.â
Not long after Princeâs death, the members of the Revolution, Bobby Z, guitarist Wendy Melvoin, keyboardists Lisa Coleman and Mark Fink and bassist Mark Brown, jammed.
âIt wasnât easy at first,â Bobby Z says. âIt was so emotional. But we got through it and loved the experience.â
Three years before his death, Prince talked about reuniting with the Revolution, which he played with from 1978 until 1986.
âThere were conversations,â Bobby Z says. âI think it would have happened eventually.â
The percussionist texted Prince after his flight to Minneapolis was diverted to Moline, Illinois, for an emergency landing, a few days before his death.
âI asked if he was fine and he said he was,â Bobby Z says. âIt felt weird to me. I hoped he was healthy and we all found out a few days later (that he died) and itâs still so shocking. Itâs like having a close member of your family who you thought was fine suddenly die. The void is huge. But we do have his music.â
Expect the hits, such as âLittle Red Corvette,â âPurple Rainâ and â1999,â when the Revolution hits the TLA stage.
âWe love playing all of the old songs,â Bobby Z says. âWhen we look out and see how fans react, itâs just amazing. I can see Prince looking down on this smiling.â
The members of the Revolution take turns singing his songs.
âWe canât do them all since some only Prince could do,â Bobby Z says. âWe love doing the sing-along songs like ‘Letâs Go Crazy.â “
Bobby Z speaks in awe when reminiscing about his old friend.
âPrince could play nearly every instrument and he was such a unique songwriter,â he says. âThere is no one like him today.â
Work ethic is what separated Prince from his peers, according to Bobby Z.
âHis talent was undeniable ,â he says. âBut what put him on another level was his desire to be the best that he could…