The ensemble that backed Prince on his early Nineties releases, the New Power Generation, will play together again at a number of special gigs, as well as a tour, this year. The band, whose name was emblazoned alongside the artist’s on Diamonds and Pearls and Love Symbol Album, reunited last October for a Prince tribute concert will make their re-debut at Celebration 2017 at the artist’s Paisley Park compound on April 23rd, according to Billboard.
They’ve also scheduled a gig at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center in California on May 22nd and will schedule and announce more dates for the rest of the year in the future. Tickets for the Redondo show will go on sale on March 21st.
The news of the tour follows that of the Revolution, Prince’s backing band in the Eighties, which will be playing shows in April.
New Power Generation set lists will include songs from the Revolution era, according to musical director Morris Hayes. “It’s celebrating Prince; the fan is key,” Hayes told Billboard. “That’s the music they want to hear. It was a big family and the family has a lot of kids in it. The songs are the kids and we do them in service of the fans.”
From 1990 through 2015, the New Power Generation intermittently backed Prince in the studio and onstage. They made their debut on the artist’s Graffiti Bridge soundtrack and backed him on his 1990 Nude tour. Some of the musicians then joined Prince on the recording of Diamonds and Pearls. On that recording, the lineup included drummer Michael Bland, guitarist Levi Seacer, Jr., singer and keyboardist Rosie Gaines, rapper Tony M., percussionist Kirk Johnson, bassist Sonny T. and keyboardist Tommy Barbarella. Dancer Damon Dickson was also a member of the New Power Generation and keyboardist Hayes joined when Gaines left after the Diamonds and Pearls tour. Its lineup changed frequently after that.
The lineup for the upcoming tour will feature Hayes, Barbarella, Johnson, and Seacer playing alongside singers Andre Cymone, Kip Blackshire and Marva King and guitarist Tony Mosley and bassist Sonny Thompson. Dickson will once again appear as a dancer, and certain shows will feature Bland and singer Shelby J, depending on their schedules.
After the Love Symbol Album, the group put out their own albums without Prince – in name only, as he had major input on the projects – including 1993’s Goldnigga, 1995’s Exodus and 1998’s Newpower Soul, the last of which featured Prince on the cover. They also played on Prince’s One Night Alone … Live! and C-Note albums, and they contributed to songs on some of Prince’s soundtrack contributions and on various one-off tracks on his later albums. They most recently reunited in the studio with Prince for the recording of Hit n Run: Phase Two, the final album to come out in the artist’s lifetime.
Hayes told Billboard that after their touring commitments, the New Power Generation intends to write new music for a possible new LP.