This is the maddest I’ve been at Prince since he died. It’s anger tempered with eager anticipation. But anger nonetheless.
The purple one may force me to buy a DVD player.
This week, Purple Rain is getting a deluxe reissue. It looks good. The three discs in the deluxe edition includes outtakes and rare edits, plus six previously unreleased songs, including legendary bootleg fodder like “Electric Intercourse.” Rolling Stone has a good run down on the disc set.
Purple Rain deserves to be picked apart and added to forever. The world needs dozens of remixes of “Let’s Go Crazy” and extended remixes of “I Would Die 4 U” that last for days
But it’s the fourth disc that’s causing my angst. It features a DVD of Prince And The Revolution playing live in Syracuse, NY, on March 30, 1985. It was a professionally shot and edit concert film released on home video and broadcast on European TV. It opens with “Let’s Go Crazy” and closes with an 18-minute rendition of “Purple Rain.”
Prince was one of the greatest live performers of the 20th century. He was also a total weirdo who jealous hold of his image and content.
Prince asked his record label to force YouTube to take down a video of a baby dancing to “Let’s Go Crazy.” The courts deciding the video was protected by fair use. He famously blocked footage of his Coachella cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” on Youtube until Radiohead interceded on the cover’s behalf.
There’s a little more Prince on YouTube following his death. But there’s still precious little Prince video footage available for commercial release. Right now, there’s no way to legally purchase his music videos. Even his 1987 live concert film Sign o’ the Times is unavailable on any format aside from ancient VHS copies and Japanese bootleg Blu Rays.
So perhaps the floodgates are opening. Which is on the surface great, great news. The problem is that the floodgates aren’t opening quite enough. The concert will be released on DVD as part of the reissue set. While there’s a digital download available for the music, the concert film seems trapped on physical media.
Who owns a DVD player anymore?