Mary Best Reviews

Concert Review: ‘The Music of Prince’ by The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Kleinhans Music Hall

Just over one year ago, the world turned upside down with the news of Prince’s death. A musical icon, his artistry and library of soulful, fun songs are still beloved by many, which was overwhelmingly evident when “The Music of Prince” by BPO Rocks played at Kleinhans Music Hall Friday night.

Buffalo came alive during this spirited homage to Prince’s music. [Marshall] Charloff is a stunning performer backed by the vibrant Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

The guest performers featured conductor Brent Havens, Dan Clemens on bass, Justin Avery on keyboard, Powell Randolph on drums, George Cintron on guitar, Ann Marie Castellano on background vocals and Marshall Charloff as lead singer and guitarist.

Charloff, who also performs the front man for The Purple Experience, skillfully emulates Prince’s vocal stylings and fashion sense and never appears hokey or cheesy. Having worked with Prince earlier in his career, he broke up songs with stories of working with the artist and describing the first time they met. He is an entrancing and charismatic performer who won over the audience from his opening performance of “Let’s Get Crazy.”

Vibrant lighting design transformed Kleinhans that night from the first notes of the opening song. Audience members cheered loudly and leapt out of their seats to dance, one even playing along on a Prince-themed tambourine.

Some sound difficulties were successfully navigated by the second tune, “Little Red Corvette,” marking the first point in the evening when the music was saturated with the lush string section of the BPO. “I Wanna Be Your Lover” completed a lively trio of songs, which had audience members young and old grooving in the aisles.

Avery took the lead on “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore,” showcasing a surprising and delightful falsetto. The first act also featured rousing renditions of “Kiss,” “Delirious” and “Diamonds and Pearls.” The latter allowed Castellano to exercise her impressive vocal power before closing with “Raspberry Beret.”

The second act featured more ballads, including “When Doves Cry,” as well as Castellano’s unstoppable belt on “Nothing Compares 2 U.” The crowd reignited their spirited dancing for “Baby, I’m Star,” and an enthusiastic “1999,” which transformed Kleinhans into a dance party likely taking place on New Year’s Eve before the millennium.

The performance concluded with a deserved standing ovation after a heartfelt “Purple Rain,” confirming that this was not a tribute band or impersonation, but a true honoring of Prince’s music a year after his passing. As Charloff said, “ We are all healing.”

Buffalo came alive during this spirited homage to Prince’s music. Charloff is a stunning performer backed by the vibrant Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

Running Time: 2 Hours with a 15-minute intermission.

“The Music of Prince” was performed for one night only by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo. For more information on upcoming events, click here.