They came from as far as Spain and New Zealand, from Portland, Ore., and Roanoke, Va.
About 1,500 Prince fanatics descended on Minneapolis Sunday to see a reunion of Prince & the Revolution -- without Prince -- at First Avenue, where they famously made the 1984 movie "Purple Rain" that catapulted Prince to international stardom.
"I've seen Prince, but I've never seen the Revolution," Eric Hofferber, 42, a Minneapolis artist, said afterward. "I'm in Wonderland. This means everything to me. This is like a dream come true."
Some clubgoers were disappointed that Prince never showed (even though some of his gear was ready for him). Even though she complained about his absence, Mary Thies, 42, of Minneapolis, pronounced the show "awesome. It was worth every penny."
The "Purple Rain"-era Revolution played for more than 90 minutes, with guitarist Wendy Melvoin handling most of the lead vocals. Even though the musicians had only a couple days of full band rehearsal, the Revolution found its funky groove with ease.
"I'll take a tight team over nine virtuoso musicians anyday," judged Questlove, drummer of the Philadelphia-based Roots and the DJ for the post-concert party. The self-proclaimed No. 2 Prince fanatic said events "like that don't happen every day."
"It was magical," bassist Brownmark said after the concert. "I hope it'll happen again."
Although the Revolution reunited for a cameo appearance in 2003 at a Los Angeles benefit organized by drummer Sheila E, this was the first true reunion since they disbanded in late 1986. It was organized by Revolution drummer Bobby Z to commemorate his recovery from a near-fatal heart attack in February 2011.
The show included educational videos from the American Heart Association during intermission.
Prince's last proper gig at First Avenue was in 2007 and before that in 1987. But this was the venue to hear such 1980s faves as "Controversy," "Uptown" and "Baby, I'm a Star." That's why Prince fans came from all over.
Chris Garcia, 41, a conference planner from Los Angeles, has been to Minneapolis five previous times for Prince events. But he didn't want to miss Sunday's because the Revolution is his favorite Prince backup band.
The concert featured guitarists Melvoin and Dez Dickerson, keyboardists Lisa Coleman and Dr. Fink, bassist Brownmark, saxophonist Eric Leeds and, of course, Z. The love and camaraderie onstage was obvious. "We're sentimental and we're nostalgic," Melvoin declared.
To add to the one-of-a-kind spirit of the fundraiser, each of the Revolutionaries did a dramatic recitation from the movie "Purple Rain." Good laughs all around.
Fans seemed excited in Minneapolis even with no promise of Prince -- or any snow.
"I've never seen Prince before and I've never been to Minneapolis before," said Angela Bishop, 42, a caterer from Salem, Va., who drove 16 hours with two friends to get here. "We were going to go snowmobiling and there was no snow," she said. "But we're going to come back."
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