In 1983, a year before Prince’s Purple Rain album was released, Prince and The Revolution premiered most of the album’s songs at a benefit concert at the First Avenue nightclub in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was the first show that featured Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman performing together as the guitarist and keyboardist of The Revolution, respectively. Revolution drummer Bobby Z even said that the performance was “certainly was one of the best concerts we ever did.” Five songs from the album were performed, two of which were “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Computer Blue.” The other three songs, “I Would Die 4 U,” “Baby I’m A Star,” and the iconic title track “Purple Rain” were actually recorded live and used as the basic tracks for the studio recordings on the album. Engineer David Rivkin, in charge of the live recording, recalls “He was doing a live concert benefit for a dance company in Minneapolis and we recorded it with a remote truck. And it was the first time he used Wendy and Lisa together. All those songs were brand new. Nobody had heard them before: ‘Purple Rain,’ ‘Let’s Go Crazy,’ ‘I Would Die For U…’ all those songs, nobody had heard. So nobody really applauded after each song, and it was very strange. Because it was new; people don’t taste familiarity sometimes. But Purple Rain was a live recording in First Avenue.”

Clip of the original performance of “Purple Rain”