Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Prince at the Superbowl

I meant to put in an entry on this last night, but work got in the way. So here are some thoughts.

I'm not going to lie, I was nervous about the Super Bowl performance. They are generally disappointing affairs - medleys, cheesy visuals, subpar performances. There's just something about the very nature of them that often lends itself to a sort of Vegas-type act (insert pun here). I've also been hugely skeptical of half time shows since the late '80s, when the buildup promised a 3-D halftime spectacle. I got the glasses from CoGos, I waited with anticipation. And it was the lamest thing I'd ever seen. Not only was the music horrible, but the 3-D didn't work. [A quick google led me to Wikipedia, which jogged my memory - the performer was a damn Elvis impersonator named Elvis Presto.]

At any rate, I was pleasantly surprised by last night's performance. Although Prince's original songs were predictable choices (wasn't this fairly similar to the Grammys performance a few years ago?), the quality of the performance and Prince's energy made up for it.

Visually, it was interesting. The purple symbol stage looked much cooler than it probably should have. The sheet/silhouette bit was cool (although methinks this was a trick appropriated from MJ, who probably took it from somewhere else), particularly when Habibi was strategically positioned as Prince stroked its neck (Pete over at IckMusic astutely noted this oh-so-brief moment of Prince naughtiness). I haven't watched it since the original broadcast, but the bolt of lightening that started the set was good theatrics. For a split second, James and I wondered if it was planned, if the power was out on stage, etc. It had been raining throughout the game, afterall.

The cover of "Proud Mary" was unexpected. He used to do this in the Gold/Exodus era, but to my knowledge hasn't done it recently. The Hendrix/Foo Fighters cover is something I'm warming up to after the Howard Stern clip last week. I haven't listened to the Foo Fighters since their second album, so I'm unfamiliar with this song. But it suits Prince's rock mode, and this was probably the best vocal moment of the set.

Musically there were some flaws (which again, have been duly noted on IckMusic), but overall the performance was better than I'd anticipated. Prince has been much more public since the Grammy's performance, and it's great to see people responding so well. It restored my confidence from Friday's newly available track "Guitar," which I found largely uninspired and unenjoyable. At any rate, the halftime show leaves one wondering what his next move is. The Vegas gig ends next month if I recall, so who knows. I'm still hoping that when he does tour again (whenever that may be), it's akin to the One Night Alone tour, i.e. smaller venues, more interesting setlists, etc. But we'll just have to wait and see.


Pete said...

Nice review Z... Naturally, I have a shameless request... any clips of "Proud Mary" from the Gold era?

The man just has to tour now. If he doesn't, he truly does not have a brain.

Nice review!

Gonzo said...

Yes - give me a day or two to dig them up. The Gold era is one of my favorites. A great live band, and I love most of the Gold/Exodus era material.

Anonymous said...

Of course, there's always a controversy.

Gonzo said...

Yes, always a bit of controversy. Even for a JW!

Richard and I were talking about this. It's a bit absurd. I mean, the electric guitar has been a phallic symbol from day one.

Of course, many of these articles seem to forget the 'semen' spurting telecaster from the purple rain days. Oh, Prince.