|Free Boot Generation|
Catalog # FBG 19
Release Year 2009
2CD Length 69:28 / 79:44
Date/Venue Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles, 23rd February 1985
Source Audience Recording
Fink's Comments (rates this release 4.5/5.0)
This recording runs at 150 minutes making it the longest currently circulating show to date from the Purple Rain tour. The show has been circulating since the dawn of bootlegs on various releases with African Shark's '4 The Tears In LA' and the fan release 'LA Purple Rain Tour' being the two I'm more familiar with. Both are incomplete and neither compare in terms of the recording, although it has to be said they are still both impressive for their time. This Free Boot Generation release (I'm told, and the artwork states) is sourced from the original source recording - which makes it the one to have. The recording really is superb and outside of a few minor niggles, it's as good an audience recording from this time period that one could hope for.
Prince is exceptionally far and above anything else and his vocals are powerful, loud and very clear. The audience are barely audible for the majority and a few minor screams on the intro can easily be excused, as can a couple of tape flaws/incomplete parts during the 2 1/2 hours. The spoken intro to 'Raspberry Beret' is almost lost in a tape chew, the "I'm so confused" segue intro is missing, and there may be a tiny fraction of 'America' missing, but other than that this is recording leaves nothing to be critical of. Although, I do have to question the inclusion of 'America' prior to 'Purple Rain' as it doesn't seem true to the actual show, and the recording quality of 'America' is slightly heavier and bassier than the rest - again, just me questioning the running order and I may well be way off. Positives, so many positives, and they are not solely reserved for the quality of the recording as this is also a mighty fine Purple Rain concert, and one which isn't afraid to stray from the norm of the tour. It begins with the opening 'Controversy' before the show moves on as normal. 'Take Me With U' includes a portion of 'When You Were Mine' and is followed by a bizarre flamenco/latin style guitar solo, which in turn is followed by a rare performance of '4 The Tears In Your Eyes'. The piano medley continues in the same unusual vein with rare performances of 'A Case Of You', 'Raspberry Beret' (with backing from The Revolution) and 'Irresistible Bitch' which has Prince picking up the guitar to lay down a brief solo before returning to the piano to continue with the more familiar 'Temptation'. The second half of the show begins as normal, however the closing three tracks make up almost 55 minutes of the show and all are extended, very loose jams. 'Baby I'm A Star' features input from Bruce Springsteen (and apparently Madonna, although she's never mentioned by name on any of the encores) and the song is extended to over 18 minutes featuring solo's, chants and anything else one can think of. Likewise the rare performance if 'America' is stretched to the max and the pulsating jam feels like it goes on forever with very little happening in the mid-section. It lasts 15 minutes, but 5 would have been more than enough. Not to be outdone, the closing 'Purple Rain' meanders along for 9 minutes before Prince even takes to the microphone with the song clocking in at 20 minutes.
I repeat - the closing 3 songs last shy of 53 minutes. The guest appearances, the highly unusual song inclusions and the very extended jams all add up to make this one of the most unique, interesting and enjoyable Purple Rain shows there is. Add to the mix one of the best audience recordings, and you have a pretty special release indeed. I still question 'America' performed prior to 'Purple Rain' on the recording as it sounds so strikingly different to everything else on here and sounds like the final song encore, but that may be down to me being too anal.