Live at the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts
Prince would be pleased with the tribute from the Purple Xperience. Led by the immensely talented Marshall Charloff, the five-piece group mesmerized the audience at the Thrasher-Horne Center in Orange Park on Sept. 30th for nearly two hours. It was one incredible night. The Purple Xperience created a sound that will transport you back to 1984.
Marshall channeled Prince with breathtaking moves and a striking voice. He was able to effortlessly nail the high pitch notes. He struggled a bit at the beginning of When Doves Cry and the first note of Purple Rain, but other than that was pretty terrific. Overall, he captured Prince’s magical melodies with ease. Marshall is not only a talented vocalist, but a gifted keyboardist and guitarist. I loved his costumes, down to the iconic sunglasses. Marshall did a remarkable job and Prince would be proud.
The funk pop sound was danceable and hypnotic. The choreography and dance moves were astonishing. Marshall, bass guitarist Ron Long and lead guitarist Tracey Blake’s leg work and moves were fantastic and in sync with each other.
The highlight for me was the encore performance of Purple Rain. I could feel the seductive sound of the keyboards in my blood. It was lyrical and passionate. When I closed my eyes during the concert, I felt like I was back in 1984.
The staging and multicolored digital backdrop added to the mood and enhanced the overall performance. The crowd was completely into the performances. They were having the time of their life dancing and interacting with the group.
The acoustics at the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts just south of Orange Park on College Drive are amazing. If you have not attended a concert there, you don’t know what you are missing. In addition to the perfect acoustics, comfortable seating with fantastic views of the stage, the free parking is close to the venue with ample space.
If you did not attend Saturday’s performance, you missed one of the best tribute bands ever. I would highly recommend the band and the venue and hope to see the Purple Xperience again in the future.
– Leigh Ann Rassler
If you haven’t seen The Purple Xperience and are a fan of Prince’s music, I highly recommend that you find a venue and dance on in to experience them for yourself. Reigning from Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Purple Xperience glided into the Thrasher-Horne to entertain the audience. Led by Marshall Charloff who displayed all of the charisma of the legend himself, he and the outstanding band had the audience dancing both in their seats and while standing. Charloff, whose moves were so spot on I swear that Prince was in the house in spirit danced into the audience a few time much to the delight of the ladies and gentleman who were eager to high five him.
The set list started with Uptown and got funkier at they went on. Everyone in the audience (young and mature) knew the lyrics to Controversy. Charloff was humorous and very personable when he segued from song to song. At first, I wasn’t able to distinguish the lyrics since the bass was a little loud but the crew adjusted quickly. Charloff introduced his band and their backgrounds in between sets. Moving on to You Got the Look and Kiss, the band performed the songs to perfection while Charloff belted out tune after tune. During Delirious, he playfully reminisced about how the ‘Carlton Dance’ (Fresh Prince of Bel Air TV show) must have evolved from Prince’s performance in the song. It was absolutely delightful and hilarious.
The lighting was perfect throughout the concert. Then the mood took a turn for the romantic with The Most Beautiful Girl in the World before swinging back into one of my personal favorites Nothing Compares 2 U. I’m still stunned by the perfectly choreographed dance moves that sent my mind floating back to the 80’s and 90’s. Just when I thought that it couldn’t get any better, they patriotically belted out America. Charloff’s personal connection with the audience kept flowing with Let’s Go Crazy, Little Red Corvette, and Raspberry Beret. One of the most memorable moments was when Charloff pulled an audience member in to sing the chorus of Raspberry Beret.
More favorites followed with Take Me With You, When Doves Cry, Darling Nikki, 1999, I Would Die 4 U, Baby I’m a Star. The energy could not be quelled though as the audience chanted their encore request which was (of course) Purple Rain. With an extended performance of the iconic song, the audience was elated. As an example of how truly charismatic Charloff is, he stayed on stage to speak with us before heading out to the lobby. For those who wanted to take photos with The Purple Xperience, the performers gladly posed with their happy fans at the merchandise table. The group is aptly named as this was an experience that I shall not soon forget.