Purple Reign Sign
Purple Reign Sign

At the time I’m writing this, I’m also listening to the Ultimate Prince album (Apple Music). As an aside, isn’t it interesting that we still use the word “album” even though many young people may not even know what one looks like?

Prince was one of kind; his looks, talent, energy, and incredible charisma made him a multi-generational, multi-faceted star. His death in 2016 took everyone by surprise because he was too young to go so suddenly. I know people who knew him and they are still devastated and grieving his sudden passing. I hope that this post will reflect the respect I have not only for Prince, but for the (incredibly entertaining) tribute show.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love living in Las Vegas? The occasional comment on Facebook or Twitter that I make as I snake my way through the congested tourist traffic and complain about the casinos and dammit why do people have to stop and look at the Bellagio Fountains when I’m in a hurry is only a ruse to annoy those who don’t live here but who wish that they could at least visit more. Yes, I’m a bad, bad person sometimes! Evil, even, I’ve been told. I’m good with that. Living in Vegas also affords me the opportunity to attend shows such as the Purple Reign Prince Tribute show. Not something I could easily do in say, Dubuque.

Red Mercury Entertainment is the promotional company behind the Purple Reign Prince Tribute show, and I have to thank them for giving me the opportunity to attend the show on its grand opening night at the Tropicana. (Tropicana = Old Las Vegas. Post to follow).The Purple Reign show has been a staple in Las Vegas for years. Its last long run was at the Westgate (formerly Las Vegas Hilton) before making the move over to the Trop.

I managed to drag my friend Shannon along for the event – okay, maybe “drag” is a little bit of an exaggeration. She more or less sprinted, ready to go!

Jason Tenner, who has been the ultimate award-winning Prince tribute performer for years, has appeared not only in Vegas, but also on tours and national TV. When he stated on stage that this show has been going for 21 years, I wondered if he had started when he was eight years old. Yes, he looks that good.

Everything was purple in the Havana Club!
Everything was purple in the Havana Club!

We began in the Havana Club where all of the lights were purple, the drinks were strong, and the passed hors d’oeuvres were plentiful.

There was a lot of good and some bad surrounding the performance, and it’s kind of difficult to explain coherently. Here’s hoping that I can do a creditable job.

Let’s go to the bad stuff first. Yes, I know, but I think it’s important to know this from a customer perspective, so I’m doing the cons first.

I managed to drag my friend Shannon along for the event – okay, maybe “drag” is a little bit of an exaggeration. She more or less sprinted, ready to go!

It’s important to realize that these cons were noticeable because there were first-night hiccups in a new venue. The VIP, Preferred, and Media were not, at first, put into a separate, dedicated line. There was a long and enthusiastic line for those who were ready to attend the first night opening, and somehow we got lost in the mix. That said, when the ushers (is that word used anymore?) discovered the error, everything was put into place correctly. We had been way (way) in the back of the regular line, but they came through and plucked us out and put us in the correct line. We wore very visible passes.

The show was supposed to start at 9:00 pm, but it’s important to know that NO SHOW IN LAS VEGAS EVER, EVER STARTS ON TIME. It’s just the way it is.

Earlier in the evening, we had been regaled with familiar Prince tunes when we were noshing and drinking in the Havana Club. Naturally, we were hoping to hear all of the number one hits so that we could fully get into the show. There were a few of my favorites that didn’t make the cut in the evening’s performance.

That out of the way, the band and others came through. We were standing, dancing, singing, and enjoying the show. However, there were a few of my favorites that didn’t make it to that evening’s playlist, including When Doves Cry and Diamonds and Pearls.

Part of the cast in a post-show photo shoot.
Part of the cast in a post-show photo shoot.

Maybe because I’m old, but I wanted to see Prince (insert drooling grin here), but was distracted by the lovely, but in my opinion, somewhat extraneous, female dancers. I’m just not interested in watching ladies twerk. On second thought, it’s not my age. I would rather watch a good-looking man sing and dance rather than semi-nude female buttocks. And when young Jason walked out in a pair of lace slacks and abbreviated top after the highly entertaining Morris Day and The Time tribute group…well.

And now we get to the pros. Although the lace pants were a pro. Definitely and droolingly so.

As I mentioned earlier, Jason Tenner, who does an extraordinary job at channeling Prince, was a ball of fire. The language during the show was raw, racy, and entertaining. Prudes need not apply. He completely morphed into Prince and provided rousing, on-your-feet entertainment. I’m reluctant to admit that even the ladies (“on the verge of being obscene” – Little Red Corvette) provided just enough fun to keep everyone screaming, clapping, laughing, yelling, and singing.

Despite my snarky comments about the young ladies, the fact is that in nearly every Prince video (I confess to binge-watching from time to time) there are several sexy women dancing, etc., in each one.

I’m reluctant to admit that even the ladies (“on the verge of being obscene” – Little Red Corvette) provided just enough fun to keep everyone screaming, clapping, laughing, yelling, and singing.

Those of us “of a certain age” are a little used to sitting down during concerts, no matter how entertaining. To have the entertainers tell you to stand up and dance along with them is a special treat, and I had a wonderful time dancing along with the music. I won’t discuss the sore muscles that occurred afterward. Ouch.

This show confirmed to me that the 1980s to early 1990s were the glory days of dance music. The tempo and energy were second to none and even now, still have the effect of getting anyone to tap their feet and get ready to dance. If I focus on working out to music made during those years, I can feel the pounds melt away.  I need to get back to it!

And now the wrapup.

My recommendation?

I guarantee that you will be entertained; if you feel that you aren’t, it isn’t because of the show, because the show’s on fire!

With great enthusiasm, I have to tell you that this show is more than worth the time and money to see. I guarantee that you will be entertained; if you feel that you aren’t, it isn’t because of the show, because the show’s on fire! Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because you will be up on your feet dancing not only to Prince hits, but also Vanity and Morris Day and the Time.

I have a very close friend who truly loved Prince, and I can’t wait to take her to see this show when she’s back in town. Jana? You listening? We gotta go!

The Prince Purple Reign Tribute Show
Tropicana, Las Vegas
3801 Las Vegas Boulevard, So.
Las Vegas, NV 89109

And now, a snippet from the show via the Tonight Show with David Letterman. This was done a few years ago, and it’s almost as entertaining as the actual show!

1 COMMENT

  1. An interesting fact about Prince. His first performance was the opening act for The Rolling Stones and was booed off the stage.
    He swore to never be an opening act again and the rest is history!
    At one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame awards his guitar solo is still talked about.

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