Review by Hayley Clark with Photography by Cath Dupuy

Indigo at the O2 last night laid down its funky weapons as the legendary New Power Generation came to town. The excitement in the queues with happy, smiling faces was a site to behold as Prince’s legendary backing band returned to the historic home of the 21 nights aftershows back in 2007 kicking off the opening night of the European Summer ‘Celebrating Prince Tour’.

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With, musical director and longest member of the NPG, Morris Hayes at the helm it was time for London to get funky. Neon purple lights filled the nightclub style venue with a local DJ playing the very best in 80’s nostalgia as the diverse crowd flocked into the venue waiting in eager anticipation. The whole mixture and diversity of the crowd showed how the music has touched people of all nations, backgrounds and ages from an elderly Chinese gent who smiled and danced throughout to late teens who probably were influenced by their parents, it showed the importance of how the ‘Celebrating Prince’ keeps the music alive and appeals to new generations.

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The crowd went crazy as the venue fell into darkness and Tommy and Morris appeared at the keys, Sonny T appeared on trademark white bass joined by Mint Condition’s Homer O’Dell on guitar and London’s own Chris Bailey on drums. As the intro boomed into the crowd the deep funk beat of ‘New Power Generation’ immediately got the crowd dancing as Damon, Tony M and MacKenzie graced the stage.

Joined by Los Angeles favourite Kip Blackshire the crowd went wild as the smooth and sultry sounds of ‘Sexy M.F’ started up, Damon lit up the room with a beaming grin on his face and crazy2cool dance moves dressed in all white.

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Newest member MacKenzie proved how far he’d came since being found on YouTube by the bands manager Jill. His smooth vocals taking over ‘Willing And Able’ had the crowd clapping along as his vocals have gone from strength to strength since his UK debut at Common People Festival in May. Beaming with confidence and choreography on point he is fast becoming a fan favourite in the NPG and won many social media hearts.

Hit after hit left the audience wanting more in this funky purple party, Morris introduced special guest Wolverhampton’s own Beverley Knight to join them fiercely belting out ‘You Got The Look’ bringing fire to the stage. Things slowed down with Tommy Barberella’s emotional solo, leaving the audience amazed not only by the beautiful sounds coming from the keys but how he has hardly aged in all his years in the band, growing old gracefully like a fine wine his intermission let the way for tears of both joy and sadness as MacKenzie and Beverley took the spotlight belting out a gospel sounding ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ and ‘Diamonds And Pearls’.

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Tony M’s rapping was on point as he painted the town purple, sporting trademark cap and glasses he powered through ‘Jughead’, ‘Deuce And A Quarter’ and ‘Call The Law’ sending the near sold out crowd into a frenzy for the NPG classics.

With “so many hits” Prince used to tease at his incredible shows there is something for everyone from fans new to old the likes of ‘1999’, ‘Kiss’, ‘Thieves In The Temple’, ‘Get Off’ and ‘I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man’. It’s hard to point highlights of such an energetic and enthusiastic show as they keep the legacy alive however Homer ODell and Sonny T’s solos on more than one occasion left you breathless and Damon’s amazing energy lit up the room with some funky dance moves for extra flavour. The yin and yang style between Kip and MacKenzie is a sight to behold as both are extremely talented, they bounced off each in ‘Daddy Pop’ the crowd screamed as the stage was on fire. Kip owned the stage with ‘7’ and ‘Gold’, his sultry sounds and phenomenal stage presence left the audience gasping for more. The passion he shows and vocal range prove why he is currently one of the most sought after artists to come from the Paisley Park family, and rightly so.

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MacKenzie brought down the house as he took ‘The Cross’ to church, showing off a raw vocal harmony and leaving the audience greedy for more.

As the magical evening drew to an end the band did their mentor proud at keeping the legacy alive, Morris Hayes is an amazing and inspirational leader for the band, even when doing band introductions on stage and forgetting Homer, his charisma left the audience chuckling as he quickly smoothed the introductions over like he didn’t really forget the guitarist stood next to him the whole evening.

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The crowd made more noise for them to grace the O2 stage once they as left for an encore and singalong of ‘Purple Rain’. Keeping it funky with ‘Alphabet Street’ before taking it Vegas with Sly and The Family Stones ‘Higher’. As a standing ovation engulfed the Indigo the band took a bow as the electrifying night drew to an end.

As these true funk soldiers venture off on their mission to bring the music to the people with further dates at Stimmen (4th August), All Together Now (5th), Tilburg (7th), Paradiso Amsterdam (8th) before the grand finale in Leuven, Belgium on the 12th, it really is one of the hottest tickets this Summer. If you haven’t got a ticket yet then be sure to buy one,  if you’re already going buy a ticket for a friend to introduce them to the funky music as they wont be disappointed and for those who have done all that, new funky New Power Generation music is coming this Autumn.

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See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.

One Response to “New Power Generation at The O2 Indigo, London, UK – 2nd August 2018”

  1. Cynthia Saunders Says:

    Absolutely Awesome

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