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Prince's Band New Power Generation and the Hornheads Playing Minneapolis Shows For Super Bowl Weekend

Hometown and visiting Prince fans coming to the Twin Cities for the February 4, 2018 Super Bowl are in for a special treat when they will get to experience the group that the Minnesota Super Star once dubbed "Prince's Best Band Ever." The NPG -- New Power Generation -- plus Prince's backing horn section, The Hornheads, are slated to play their trademark "Celebrating Prince with the NPG" for 4 shows February 2-3 at 7:00 and 9:30 p.m. at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant.

The Dakota was a Prince favorite: He performed a six-night residency there in 2013 and was known to frequently take in concerts at the intimate 260-seat nightclub. Tickets are priced at $60, $70 and $80. 

The NPG have been touring worldwide and will be heading to Japan and Australia after these rare Minneapolis club dates --their first public performances in the U.S. since the group reunited last year following the "official Prince tribute concert" at Excel Center in St. Paul where they served as the house band for the five-hour event.

The core NPG band had their debut performance at the Paisley Park Celebration last April with guest vocalists Kip Blackshire and Andre Cymone. Blackshire was a vocalist with the NPG in the late 1990s and Cymone was a long-time close friend of the late artist and played bass in Prince’s first band, Grand Central. The NPG is made up of NPG alumni, including some of its earliest members. Former Prince Music Director and keyboard player Morris Hayes – the longest running member ever of the NPG – joined the group in 1991 and did not leave till 2012. Also on keys is Tommy Barbarella, another long-time member of the NPG and frequent co-writer with Prince.

Rapper Tony Mosley first met Prince after auditioning to be a dancer in Purple Rain and was an original member of the NPG. He was instrumental in bringing a hip hop sound to Prince and the NPG’s earliest and most commercially successful releases and shares co-writer credit with Prince on a number of tracks, including "Sexy MF," "Gett Off", "Live 4 Love," "My Name is Prince" and "Daddy Pop." Diamonds & Pearls, released in 1991, was Prince’s most commercially successful record since the 1984 soundtrack, Purple Rain.

Levi Seacer – the man on the blue guitar -- was the first member of the NPG and also toured with Prince on both the Sign O’ the Times and Lovesexy tours in the late 1980s before the NPG formed. He shares songwriting credit with Prince on several songs and served as president of NPG Records in the mid-90s. Grammy-award winning producer and former NPG bass player Andrew Gouche will be on bass. Kirk Johnson, percussionist and dancer in the original NPG, became its drummer in 1996 and was a co-writer/producer with Prince for a number of artists, including Chaka Khan, Mavis Staples, Tevin Campbell, Nona Gaye and Boyz II Men. Damon Dickson, also a dancer in the original NPG – and in Purple Rain as well -- now has background vocals and percussion duties.

“Celebrating Prince” is a collection of some of Prince’s most memorable recordings that span all eras of the Purple One’s eclectic songbook. The February showcase will include hits from one of his most acclaimed periods like "Get Off," "Cream," and "Diamonds and Pearls," as well as other hits and album cuts from his immense catalog. The group's 2-night stand over Super Bowl weekend is sure to bring to mind Prince's unforgettable Super Bowl XLI Half-time Show in Miami during a steady downpour 11 years ago. It is often cited as the best Super Bowl Performance ever.

"We're honored and humbled to pay homage to our friend and mentor who happens to be one of music's true and greatest legends. We’re especially psyched to do this at a time when everyone's energy and enthusiasm will be high for the big game and all the festivities around it," notes Morris Hayes, NPG's Music Director and keyboard player, who played alongside Prince on the rain-soaked Miami stage at the 2007 Super Bowl.

"Of course, it's always bittersweet performing without Prince. Playing during another Super Bowl in 2018 will be rough for me as it brings home my performance with him during his killer 2007 halftime show in Miami. But we consistently hear from his fans that our shows are a helpful and healing experience for them," Hayes adds. "But we’ll transcend any sadness and use that emotion to celebrate the man and his music - like we always do. And with Prince, you just never know what might happen. Just like the day we played at Paisley Park last April. It was a sunny day without a cloud in the sky – and suddenly, a beautiful rainbow appeared over Paisley – almost like a painting. How can you explain that?!"

For those who won’t have a chance at one of the limited number of Dakota tickets, they can catch a mini-concert when the NPG headlines the “Super Bowl Live” concert on Jan. 31st – the 6th night of free Minnesota Music in the 10-day “Super Bowl Live” concert series on Nicollet Mall, curated by the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee and produced by Jimmy Jam Harris and Terry Lewis.

“Being a huge football and Vikings fan - like Prince - it's an extreme honor to represent the MPLS sound and to pay tribute to Prince during Super Bowl Week,” explains Tony Mosley. “When we were first approached with the request, there was no question that we would do it, no matter the temp outside. And we’re very excited to play at The Dakota, given Prince’s history with the club."