Purple Reign began at the small but then popular UNLV college club Tom & Jerry's in the summer of 1997. Front man Jason Tenner formed the group with high school band-mates Jason Underwood (bassist) and Brent Wheeler (guitarist) after dressing as Prince for a Halloween party at the Hard Rock Hotel-Casino the previous year. " People's reactions were crazy!" recalls Tenner. "They kept wanting pictures, asking where I was performing and how they could get tickets! It was wild!"
Already a working group with their 70's era funk and disco tribute show "The Mothership Connection", Tenner, Underwood and Wheeler were joined by keyboardist Greg Orr and drummer Micheal Paul. Soon after, the group began to experiment with Prince hits in their set. Those songs quickly became the most popular in the show and it wasn't long before the platforms, afro-wigs and bell bottoms were traded for high heels, eyeliner and spandex.
By 1998, Purple Reign could be seen in much larger venues such as the Railhead in Boulder Station, The Beach night club, Club Rio ( also formerly Prince's club 3121 ) and has sharing billing with acts such as Destiny's Child, Reynaldo Ray of BET's Comic View and The Bar-kays. In 2001 Purple Reign became headliners of the mini showroom at the Boardwalk Casino, and according to a Nov. 2006 article in What's On magazine "almost singlehandedly" kept the property alive for years. While there, they expanded on their vision and theme using the classic film "Purple Rain" as inspiration , and incorporated the celebrity characters Morris Day and Jerome Benton of "The Time". The new show segment added a wildly entertaining and upbeat dimension that rings just as true to the original artists and character details that have made the show a success.
Upon the Boardwalks closing in Jan. of 2006 to make way for the new City Center Project, Purple Reign returned to larger venues at the Monte Carlo Brew Pub, The Chrome Showroom in the Santa Fe Station and The House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. 2006 also saw Purple Reign get a landslide 190 out of 200 votes and receive the award for best Tribute Artist Show by the Black Music Association of Las Vegas adding to their previous 2005 and 2006 honors of being voted in the top 3 visitors choice for best lounge act in the What's On Las Vegas Magazine. The LA Weekly also deemed the show among the "16 Things You Can't Afford To Miss In Vegas".
On November 17, 2008 Purple Reign became the 1st ever tribute/impersonator act to appear as the musical guest on Late Show with David Letterman. That show was chosen by CBS and Late Show to ring in the New Year and re-aired January 1st, 2009 at 12:15am (New Years Eve) less than 45 days later, making it the 1st musical performance of 2009 on Letterman. ‘09 also saw Purple Reign crowned “Best Tribute Act” by the 28th annual Las Vegas Review Journal Poll, winning 2 awards by both the staff and readers.