After Devin Hester’s record-breaking touchdown within the first 15 seconds of Super Bowl XLI, it seemed that the game’s high point had peaked at the very beginning. (Billy Joel’s attempt at belting out the National Anthem was an official low point, so a jolt back to consciousness was welcomed). But then Prince busted on stage during the halftime show, wearing a fitted blue suit and a black do-rag, and I realized there was plenty more good to come.
Nobody can put on a spectacle quite with the ease of Prince, who began the show with fireworks and harmonious chanting to “We Will Rock You,” as he strolled onto a stage shaped like his bizarre, unpronounceable symbol and cranked out “Let’s Go Crazy.” And everyone in the crowd did. Here is a man who is 48 years old and doesn’t look a day older than he did when he beckoned us to “party like it’s 1999.” Whatever anti-aging cream the guy had tailor-made in a lab, he really ought to share it with the general public.
Prince did a lot of boogieing and guitar-jamming onstage, soon segueing into “Proud Mary” with a choreographed marching band working its magic on the field. Considering the way Prince's fingers flew across the guitar, it’s mind-boggling that he never once peeked at them to make sure he hadn’t lost his way. Equally surprising is when he started playing “Best Of You,” serving up a more melodic version than the highly popular Foo Fighters rendition filled with fits of shrieking.
When Prince switched his guitar and the lights dimmed, it became clear he was going to churn out one of his classics. My money was on “When Doves Cry.” Nope. He crooned, “I never meant to cause you any sorrow…” and just like that, we were hearing his classic ditty “Purple Rain.” Appropriately, purple lights emitted from the stage (and well, it also happened to be raining…nice touch!) and the crowd whipped out their lighters in prime concert-going fashion.
But it’s Prince, so it wasn’t going to stop there: Next up, a huge beaming yellow cloth blew onto the stage, leaving a shadowy silhouette of the diminutive singer rapidly moving his fingers up and down his guitar. When the camera flashed to the field, we could see the marching band suddenly radiating iridescent hues from their red uniforms. You weren't expecting any kind of subtlety here, were you?
All the people by the stage (lucky bastards) were having a blast and applauding like crazy as Prince wrapped up his powerhouse set. This much instantly became clear: After all these years, Prince can still put on a show like no other.
And he didn’t even have to expose a breast to get our attention.
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