Monday, February 05, 2007

I Only Wanted 2 Be Some Kind Of Friend

Since pregnancy has significantly cut into my barhopping (what with the center of gravity shift keeping me from balancing on a barstool with a Pabst in one hand and a Winston in the other), I have to resort to commenting on the shows I'm still able to see. Which is to say, those on TV.

I really didn't know what to expect when I heard that Prince was going to be performing at the Super Bowl halftime show. I was initially excited about the prospect, but then I couldn't help remembering the last, oh let's say 18 Super Bowl halftime shows, all of which involved either Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones or Paul McCartney. Popular and varyingly talented performers all, but not exactly on the bleeding edge of the music scene. And sure, there was that one unusual year that got a wee little bit of attention, but that obviously taught the halftime powers-that-be not to take any risks at all in their artist choices.

So what did it mean, then, that they picked Prince? Is the man who once threatened the very souls of the Gore daughters now considered wholesome family entertainment? Has becoming a Jehovah's Witness and knocking on the door to 50 mellowed Mr. Nelson to such an extent that he no longer requires a parental advisory label? And most importantly, does being a Prince fan now put me in the same category as the people who thought "Woo hoo!" when they saw Billy Joel creak out for the national anthem?

Thusfore, there was a lot of tension in the SAM household as halftime approached. Some skeptical observers doubted that Prince would even deign to appear in the torrential rain. But then, through some impossibility of chemistry (or maybe physics; who knows, I got Cs in them both), a ring of fire burst through the rain and there he was. Flanked by the flanks of two possibly suicidal dancers in what was astutely described by Sassy Molassy as "Italian pirate" gear and 9" heels, my hometown boy strutted across the eponymously shaped stage, rocking a medley that I'm sure is a highlight of his new Las Vegas show. Let's Go Crazy, Baby I'm A Star, Purple Rain, even a little Proud Mary ... nothing revolutionary (and mostly Revolution-era), I'll admit, but an engaging and energetic set nonetheless.

Prince took on a little more of a Morris Day persona as he quipped about his hair and kept his own dance moves to a minimum - can't be risking a broken ankle when you've got 3000 people paying $125 to see you every weekend, I guess. But I wouldn't go so far as to say he was entirely safe, either, what with the patented guitar-as-phallus antics going on behind the billowy curtain set. He kept up a remarkably good attitude, considering the weather and his general reputation for prissiness. I have to say, after all we've been through in the last 20-odd years (let's not get me going about the whole Crystal Ball debacle), the little man won me back over.


Chip said...

Won you back over? Did you ever doubt that he would rock? For shame. I was worried that he might fuss a bit too much with his hair in the rain, but he handled that gracefully. And even being inevitably shocked by his guitar strings in the rain, he proved once again that he is, above all, a guitar god. Master of looking like he's faking playing, preening and posing, all while actually playing brilliantly.

Memphisotan said...

Look, Crystal Ball hurt me. It hurt me. I still have the ugly, un-liner-noted CD case to prove it. It was going to take some effort to get me back. But he had me at "Dearly beloved ..."

Chip said...

Ok, I have to agree that Crystal Ball was aural ass for the most part. And in the years following, 1998, things pretty much sucked in Prince-land too-- I don't own any of that stuff. Musicology and 3121 are both very worthy records, though. So there's really only 5 or 6 years of really awful stuff-- that can't tarnish a legacy of 25 years of kickass music.

Stacey Greenberg said...

i saw that someone described his tent as a giant condom. that was funny.

Stephanie said...

If I can forgive Prince for being a mysogonistic freak, I can forgive him for Crystal Ball. He rocked that Super Bowl, baby!

A side note- although you are right that most halftimes have sucked lately, I thought U2 was great a few years ago.

Unknown said...

I've never even heard of Crystal Ball. Wasn't that Gordon Lightfoot?

Shannon said...

yeah, the no dancing was a big disappointment. i hear he needs hip replacement surgery. hope he gets it soon.

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