By Christopher Gray, Fri., June 18, 2004

Illustration By Nathan Jensen

Purple Reign

The rain wasn't purple heading down 2 the San Antonio stop of Prince's Musicology tour June 9, but it was plentiful enough 2 submerge parts of I-35 and the access road near the SBC Center. Even so, the storm outside wasn't half as intense as what went down when the Purple One and his tight-ass band (featuring the one and only Maceo Parker) hopped on the in-the-round stage about 8:30pm. After "Musicology" briefly nodded to Archie Bell & the Drells' "Tighten Up," a rapturous Purple Rain medley sent spirits in2 the stratosphere, where they remained 4 a solid hour, topped by the marathon funk workout of "Controversy." A solo acoustic interlude followed, with "Little Red Corvette," "Cream," and "Raspberry Beret," featuring a chatty, self-deprecating Prince. The band re-emerged on "7," and Mr. Nelson laid waste 2 the entire Cotton Bowl guitarmy at last weekend's Crossroads Fest, never more so than during a "Purple Rain" finale that left the sold-out crowd wondering if they'd just seen Prince ... or God. Sell a kidney 2 get 2 his Aug. 7-8 Houston stand if U have 2.

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