Marshall Charloff is aware of his audience’s level of Prince fandom, even as he’s deep in performance mode, riffing a medley of deep cuts in the middle of a piano solo during the Purple Xperience’s show. He notices who’s singing along.
Charloff transforms into Prince – complete with a tuft of chest hair poking out of a pirate puffy shirt – and his stellar ensemble of players become the Revolution as the outfit delivers a bevy of unforgettable hits, including “1999,” “Raspberry Beret,” “Kiss,” “Let’s Go Crazy,” “When Doves Cry,” “Delirious” and, of course, “Purple Rain.” And that’s just the tip of the glittery iceberg.
The Purple Xperience is a five-piece group from Prince’s home city of Minneapolis. They have been touring since 2011. During Charloff’s formative years as a professional musician, he was in a jam band with Prince’s cousin, who introduced him to the legend. He even had opportunities to hang out at Prince’s rehearsal space on occasion.
“There was a lot of synergy with Prince, and us meeting, from a very young age,” Charloff explains.
The tribute was born following a benefit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Cheap Trick, Dave Mason and 94 East, among others. Charloff wasn’t in Prince costume at the time, but the seed was planted.
“We set out to honor [Prince] and do it in a respectful way with music really leading the way,” Charloff says. “All the players are top-notch and we’re not tracking anything – we are all playing like Prince represented.”
Prince knew and believed in what the Xperience does.
“[Prince’s] feedback was that he respected what we were doing and he was all for it,” Charloff says. “He didn’t think we needed the over-the-top costumes.”
THE PURPLE XPERIENCE 8pm Wednesday, June 5. Sunset Center, San Carlos and Ninth, Carmel. $59, $39; $79 (Exclusive front dance floor). 620-2048, sunsetcenter.org