The NPG "Celebrates Prince" in Style
14 September 2018
With funk and fervor, The New Power Generation took Minneapolis’ First Ave stage on September 13. After getting in a groove overseas and teasing us with the Super Bowl celebration, the NPG backed up what we already know... Prince really knew how to pick ‘em.
The band started the day with a sound check and meet and greet. In the philanthropic spirit of Prince, proceeds from the meet and greet were donated to the PRN Alumni Foundation which supports programs providing opportunities for kids in music & arts, urban farming initiatives, & alumni members in-need.
The NPG took many forms while under Prince’s leadership and this time was no different. Prince mentees, Morris Hayes, Tony M., Damon Dixon, Sonny T., Tommy Barbarella, Dujuan Elliott, Keith Anderson, and a special appearance from Mighty Mayte, herself.
Just as Prince did as he molded the ever evolving NPG, the original members are giving passionate, up and coming musicians a chance to share their gifts with the world. Lead vocalist, Mackenzie brought everything from a sensual falsetto to rocker screams that could give anyone the funk face. Guitarist, Cobi, introduced himself to us by showing he’s beast not only on the strings but has some smooth vocals too. Paisley 5 & Dime creator, Eric “DJ Nevermind” Rogers, got the crowd hype by playing some rare Prince gems and remixes.
Then the lights dimmed and it was time for the NPG!
They kicked off their nearly 3 hour set with a most appropriate song choice... “New Power Generation” from Prince’s Graffiti Bridge album. The crowd got loose as they hit jams from the Symbol album as well as “Diamonds and Pearls”. They played songs that even some of the most avid Prince show attendees had not heard live, such as, “Daddy Pop” and “Jughead”.
Mayte showed as she’s still as graceful yet funky as ever when she shimmied to “Love 2 the 9’s”, “Morning Papers” and “Get Wild”. It felt as if she was dancing only for Prince when she gave a heartfelt number to “7”.
MacKenzie’s soulmate, Apollo Jane joined him for a powerful rendition of Nothing Compares 2 U. Cobi had the crowd singing along to a blues infused version of “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”. His guitar skills left us entranced.
Mackenzie seemed to get into a zone as he gave a passionate performance of “Purple Rain”. As the band left the stage the fam began to chant “NPG! NPG! NPG!” and didn’t stop until they return for an energetic encore. They left the fam on a purple high with a spirited execution of “Alphabet Street”. The encouraging feedback from the crowd left an emotional MacKenzie in tears.
“Fam” from around the world came from around the world to show their support. I met people from as far as Alaska and Nova Scotia! They were so thankful that even after such an exhausting day Morris, Damon, Tony, Sonny, Tommy and MacKenzie came out after the show to take a few pics and show their gratitude. The overall response was that the show was fantastic and people can’t wait for the NPG to come to their city. While no one could ever take the place of our man, Prince, we appreciate his protege’s keeping his legacy alive by continuing to share real music by real musicians.
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- Erica Washington