The Purple Ones have reason to celebrate, with 2014 being the 30th anniversary of Prince’s Grammy Award-winning “Purple Rain.”
The Oakland-based, 10-piece tribute band, appearing Saturday at Slim’s in The City with indie rockers the Goldenhearts, will play the entire album in the first half of the show; the second set features classic hits from other Prince records. Songs on the setlist reflect Prince’s prolific and complex repertoire.
“His music is so intricate it’s insane, it is so funky,” says trumpeter Morty Okin, Purple Ones’ founder and manager, who also has appeared with and managed Michael Jackson and Neil Diamond tribute bands.
“There’s a lot going on and balancing it all together so it sounds cohesive is a challenge,” says Okin, who adds intricate horn arrangements to Prince material for Purple Ones’ performances. Members of the Goldenhearts, which includes a string quartet, join Purple Ones in tunes ranging from “I Feel for You” to “Let’s Go Crazy.”
Since 2012, The Purple Ones have toured Northern California, performing dozens of times, and have plans to expand.
Okin, who has seen Prince live twice, dreams that one day The Purple Ones can perform onstage with the iconic 56-year-old musician.
Roger Rocha, lead guitarist from The Goldenhearts, actually opened for Prince in 1993 when he was a member of 4 Non Blondes with Linda Perry, which played on the “Act Two” tour for Prince’s “Love Symbol” album in Scotland and England.
“We showed up for the first show at a (soccer) stadium in Scotland and there was no mixing board for us, which is highly unusual at a huge show. It turns out it was onstage because Prince was going to mix his own live sound that night. It was really bizarre,” says Rocha, who calls Prince “pretty friendly.”
He adds, “During our set, Prince was sitting on the drum riser watching the show playing air drums behind our drummer … it was pretty wacky. I felt he was pulling a little prank on us to see how we would react.”
IF YOU GO
The Purple Ones
Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $16 to $20