There’s no bigger stage for an American musician than the Super Bowl halftime show, watched by the entire country in the middle of its favourite pastime.
For Prince, who died Thursday, it was simply confirmation of the obvious: He had become a national legend.
In 2007, he played the halftime like a champion taking his victory lap (he had already been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three years earlier). He was, as always, confident, strutting down a stage in the shape of the male symbol in his bold colours that were somehow both feminine and masculine.
He went through not only his own hits, but also those of Jimi Hendrix and the Foo Fighters (the latter of which was definitely an improvement over the original). While Prince crossed genres from funk and soul to pop, here he was pure rock and roll. He made previous halftime performers, even Michael Jackson and U2, look small by comparison.
The kicker is his ending, “Purple Rain,” just as a rainstorm is beginning to fall. If there’s a more cathartic moment in rock history, I don’t know it. The whole country was singing along.
This is Prince’s best recorded performance, the best halftime show in Super Bowl history, and the fondest way to remember his art.
Watch Prince’s Super Bowl show below.