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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisAfter the unexpected passing of Prince earlier this year, Morris Day & The Time returned to the road in full force bringing both a colorful catalogue of their own funk, R&B and pop tunes, alongside a tribute to The Purple One. In fact, before the very first note was played on stage, snippets of Prince's most memorable selections blasted overhead ("Let's Work," "Let's Go Crazy" "Purple Rain"), accompanied by a photo montage on the big screen tracing the longtime pals' collaborative ascent through shared movie superstardom.
While a live instrumental of Prince's "1999" prompted everyone straight out of their seats at the classy and cozy Genesee Theatre, it was The Time's "Get It Up" and "Cool" that kept the celebratory vibe alive. But almost as important as the infectious songs was the slick choreography, mirror-flanked grooming sessions and frequent watch checks that have made Day one of pop culture's most familiar and accomplished artists.
Regarding the current edition of The Time, it includes fellow originals Monte Moir on keys, Jellybean Johnson keeping the primary beat and percussionist/valet Jerome Benton tending to Day's many showbiz/security needs, though some less famous faces have since replaced Jesse Johnson, plus eventual super producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Nonetheless, the bursting sounds and cheeky lyrics sounded pretty much the same as the latest line-up addressed "Wild And Loose," "777-9311," "Ice Cream Castles" and "If The Kid Can't Make You Come" (albeit with a little too much interaction between the players and several overly excited ladies they invited from the audience).
Despite nothing coming from The Original 7even's newest (and criminally overlooked) reunion record beyond the spoken word segment "Condensate," the set list did reach their prior reconvening for "Pandemonium," as well as a few from Day's intermittent solo career and the hook of Prince's "D.M.S.R." Even those who weren't close followers of the group's comings and goings were plugged into The Time's mega-hits, such as everyone squawking for "The Bird" and "oh-wee-oh-wee-oh"-ing throughout "Jungle Love," which perhaps more than anything else during the 90-minute night, traced the roots of "Uptown Funk" at its finest.
For a list of upcoming shows at the Genesee Theatre, visit www.geneseetheatre.com.
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