Catalog # SAB 181/182/183/184
Release Year 2002
4CD Length 72:32 / 78:22 / 76:28 / 78:15
Date/Venue 1984 -85 Rehearsals & 4 January 1985 Atlanta
Source Soundboard Recordings
Quality EX / EX+
Deane's Comments (rates this release 5.0/5.0)
Volume 4 of Sabotage's Purple Rush series is another excellent continuation of soundboard material covering 1982-1985, and this particular volume places emphasis on 1985.
There seems to be a little confusion over the exact dating of the rehearsal on Disc 1, however the fact that it includes three tracks from the Purple Rain tour and also features musical parts from another three tracks from the Purple Rain tour set-list should safely assume it IS indeed a rehearsal for the tour. The rehearsal itself is an extraordinary example of just how great these hidden gems can be. The opening 'Bedtime Story' is a stunningly beautiful version only slightly spoiled by Prince having to call out key changes to the band. Much emphasis is placed on getting the ending of 'Let's Go Crazy' correct and it is rehearsed over and over again until it meets Prince's satisfaction - it's also interesting in the respect that the version rehearsed wasn't ever used. The undoubted highlight of the rehearsal has to be Prince & The Revolution's "garage" (as both Wendy and Prince call it) version of 'When Doves Cry'. Re-titled 'When Doves Scream' it is a ferocious guitar driven punk version with Prince hilariously shouting the lyrics out in the style of Sid Vicious, "Maybe I'm just like my fucking father too bold". It's unique, extremely funny, and is one of the reasons why I got in to collecting in the first place - to hear hidden treasure like that. The remainder of Disc 1 is made up of a loose rehearsal dating from 1983 which is basically a long jam centred around 'White Girls' with various lyrics from 'Ice Cream Castles' and 'Erotic City' added.
Disc 2 devotes itself entirely to The Family rehearsal in preparation for their upcoming First Avenue 13th August 1985 concert. Prince is in attendance throughout but is only audible on occasion with the remainder of the rehearsal being surprisingly Prince-free. St. Paul's performance is very funky for a white man and my only slight complaint are his annoying camp vocal gymnastics on 'Nothing Compares 2 U'. It is a very impressive soundboard recording, being crisp and sharp - ironically better than most Prince rehearsals from the same era.
Disc 3 and the first half of Disc 4 contain the stunning soundboard Purple Rain show from Atlanta. The video recording of the show is circulating, however judging by the comment in the booklet which accompanies this release, the Atlanta recording here has been sourced from the classic City Lights 'Atlanta 85' release. The soundboard is of extremely high quality and is remarkably clear. The show itself is a great, but basic Purple Rain concert with little out of the ordinary during the first half of the show. Unsurprisingly the highlights occur towards the end of the show with an astonishingly lengthy 22 minute version of 'Baby I'm A Star' immediately followed by a 19 minute 'Purple Rain'. 'Baby I'm A Star' also contains chants and lyrics from 'The Bird' and 'White Girls' and is certainly one of the best versions from the entire tour in circulation. The remainder of Disc 4 contains audio from live promotional video's of 'I Would Die 4 U' & 'Baby I'm A Star' (both from Landover, Washington November 1984) and 'Take Me With U' (from Houston January 1985) followed by the AMA's performance of 'Purple Rain' and the Grammy's 'Baby I'm A Star'.
Overall you really can't dispute the fact this particular volume of the Purple Rush contains some of the best material from the era. Each disc is packed with unique moments, great performances and the quality throughout is consistently high. I've mentioned it for all the other Purple Rush volume's, so I'll mention it for this one too ; the booklet is a big let-down and relies far too heavily on Uptown/The Vault's reports. The pictures and graphic layout are stunning, so I'm disappointed they didn't put the same amount of effort in to the actual text too. That aside, it's the content of the discs that's important - and that cannot be faulted.