"Can you make it rain harder?"
That's what departed music superstar Prince asked when he was informed about the torrential weather conditions ahead of his epic Super Bowl XLI halftime performance, according to a mini-documentary released by the NFL.
The eight-minute doc — which you can (and absolutely should) view here — offers a behind-the-scenes look at the 2007 performance that saw Minnesota's proudest export shredding majestic amid a downpour at Miami's Sun Life Stadium.
Prince, who died unexpectedly Thursday at his Paisley Park compound in Chanhassen, gave the worldwide Super Bowl audience a spectacular, super-charged run of songs: "We Will Rock You," "Let's Go Crazy," "Baby I'm a Star," "Proud Mary," "All Along the Watchtower," "Best of You," and, most appropriately, "Purple Rain."
"That Prince set is so wild — he does other people's songs, he's not promoting himself," New York Times senior music critic Jon Pareles notes in the doc. "He's not promoting himself; he's just making music. It's profound, and it's loud, and it's funky, and it's just one performer shaking the entire world."
Adds Let's Go Crazy author Alan Light:
"It felt surprising, it felt spontaneous. Musically, it felt very loose — he played big, epic, Prince-style guitar solos. Turning the bad weather to his dramatic advantage, it was almost like a special effect. He could totally lean into that and make it seem like, 'Sure it's raining. Of course it is. I would have wanted it to rain. I ordered that.'"
Sporting a seafoam blue suit and flanked by backup dancers rocking heels, Prince apparently made show organizers pretty damn nervous.
"I was just panicked," said one halftime show producer, "Prince was using four separate live electric guitars. The stage was made out of a very slick tile, which when it got wet, was even more slippery."
No matter, though, as the master performer slashed and burned through the songs and the elements with virtuosic ease. Halftime show production designer Bruce Rodgers summed up the singular performance nicely:
"To me, it's about one guy in the middle of 100,000 people — and 100,000,000 people on television — and it's your moment to be Prince at the Super Bowl, and Mother Nature is dropping thousands and thousands of gallons of rain. I always thought: How cool the guy is to rise up and just get stormed upon and just bring what he brought. That was so special."
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