Bobby Z's Benefit 2 Celebrate Life at First Avenue, 3/9/13

Categories: Last Night
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Photo by Steve Cohen
Bobby Z's Benefit 2 Celebrate Life
With Princess, ?uestlove, Dez Dickerson, Andre Cymone, Dr. Fink, and Alexander O'Neal
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Saturday, March 9, 2013


The draws for Saturday's second annual Benefit 2 Celebrate Life at First Avenue were many, but Princess was the most unique, by far. A covers project made up of Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph and her friend Gretchen Lieberum was a cherished trip through some of Prince's more-ribald '80s material. It was delivered with equal parts heart and humor, and since this was a benefit for the American Heart Association, this was apt.

See Also:
Slideshow: Bobby Z's Benefit 2 Celebrate Life 2013

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During one of several speeches he gave throughout the night, the nattily dressed emcee/organizer/drummer Bobby Z referred to setting up the night as "My purple chaos." And there was always a swarm of bodies corralled backstage throughout the night as one special appearance after another graced the stage. 
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Photos by Steve Cohen
First among them was the Time alum Alexander O'Neal, who also suited up for the occasion and gave the tight backing band an early workout, and soulfully broke out "A Broken Heart Can Mend." The Voice finalist Nicholas David Mrozinski followed and really got the revue vibe of the night into swing with his jazz-tinted take on "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." He looked comfortable behind a keyboard for his portion of the evening, and played with his phrasing with ease. Then, area jazz singer Patty Peterson told of her own recent heart challenges before opening up her pipes for Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All."

Signaling that the dancing portion of the evening was officially in swing, the charming Stokley Williams fronted a miniature version of Mint Condition next. A couple songs were far too few to work in all of his flirtatious antics up there, but he cut a fine figure in his plaid jacket and reached out to the crowd to build the intensifying evening.
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Photos by Steve Cohen
Before Princess made their way onstage, two giant bouquets of roses were placed on either side of the stage. It was a wise, sensual touch for what was about to unfold. Though Gretchen Lieberum looked much as advertised in her stylish captain's hat and sparkly raincoat dress, Maya Rudolph looked to be carrying a little one.


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