There have been a lot of amazing Super Bowl halftime performances over the years, but Prince’s Super Bowl performance in 2007 remains the greatest of all time. And with good reason. Prince and his group performed in a downpour of rain and wind that was so bad that commentators couldn’t even see in front of their faces.
— Jake Blackwell (@JacobABlackwell) February 24, 2020
Can You Make it Rain Harder?
Production designer Bruce Rodgers described the rain that day in Miami as “a scene from Moby Dick.” Rodgers reveals the phone call between Prince and an event supervisor, who told his people to get Prince on the phone. They then proceeded to inform Prince that it was raining, which obviously Prince knew.
February 4th, 2007: Executive Producer of the Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show Charles Coplin asks Prince if he is okay to perform after it began to rain. Prince responds by asking if they can make it rain harder. pic.twitter.com/WyEdYo4XqJ
— SODS (@Supremeofdasouf) February 2, 2020
Then, the producer asked Prince if he was going to be OK. That’s when Prince said something that floored Bruce Rodgers: “Can you make it rain harder?”
“Can you make it rain harder?”
In other words, Prince was up for the challenge. Hell yeah. Of course he was. It’s Prince.
Not watching the game, not watching the halftime show, but I don’t care what y’all say, the best Super Bowl halftime show of all time was Prince.#IStandWithKaepernick#InspireChange#SuperBowlLIV #SuperBowlHalftimeShow pic.twitter.com/5beVq1sFrn
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) February 3, 2020
Challenges with Prince’s Super Bowl Halftime Show
There were several concerns about this group performing in the rain. One was the incredibly slippery stage and Prince and his dancers wearing high heels. The stage was made out of a very slick tile, which when it got wet, was even more slippery.
Another concern was the electricity out in all of this rain. Prince was using four separate live electric guitars.
— Housequake (@housequake) February 2, 2020
Florida A&M Marching Band at Prince’s Super Bowl Halftime Show
Commentators said it was so pouring and raining that they couldn’t see. But it didn’t slow down Prince and his crew. When he performed his song “Baby, I’m a Star,” he was even flanked by the Marching 100, the Florida A&M Marching Band.
can we talk about Prince having the greatest super bowl performance of all time? pic.twitter.com/XpcnU6qSdD
— BKTIDALWAVE STAN ACCOUNT (@THESUBVERSION) January 22, 2020
At that time, the Marching 100 was the go-to group when you wanted something utterly unique. The band director at the time, Julian White, explained that he got a call from halftime show representatives who explained Prince’s vision for the show. The band was excited to be a part of it, White said.
“What’s great about these things is when you call up the band director and you introduce yourself — he has no idea why you’re calling — and then you say, ‘You know, we’re doing the halftime show with Prince and we want to know whether your band and your school will participate in the halftime show,’ and, man, that’s the most fun part of the job because they’re just thrilled beyond belief,” he said. “It’ll be a memory for every member of that band for as long as they live.”
They were amazing and added a whole new dimension to the performance.
— Shawn Robbins 🇺🇸 (@shawnrobbins) February 2, 2020
Songs Sung at Prince’s Super Bowl Halftime Performance
Interestingly, and in typical Prince genius, Prince covered several artists in addition to his own songs. He chose music that he knew would resonate with the audience.
He sang his own music, of course, but also Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.” His final cover was of a Foo Fighters song, “Best of You,” that never even cracked the top 15 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
Here’s the list, in order of performance.
- We Will Rock You
- Let’s Go Crazy
- Baby I’m A Star
- All Along the Watchtower
- Best of You
- Purple Rain
Every so often I remember that Prince covered @foofighters's "Best of You" during his iconic Super Bowl halftime show, simply because he liked and respected the music. "The Foos are the only band that could do a collection of my rock songs justice.” https://t.co/SUQsKnSBmk
— Elahe Izadi (@ElaheIzadi) February 25, 2020
Prince’s Performance of Purple Rain at the Super Bowl
Then came the most epic performance ever of “Purple Rain,” Prince’s finest piece of work. The former editor-in-chief of VIBE Alan Light said that Prince used the weather as a sort of planned special effect for his show. I think Mr. Light nailed it. The rain was a gift for Prince.
Prince's wish was to rain during his Superbowl halftime performance and it actually rained DURING PURPLE RAIN thats some legend shit
— ORA EMPIRE ⏳ (@ora_empire) February 24, 2020
Producer Don Mischer recalls what was going through his head at the time.
“I got really nervous and I said, ‘Oh my God, what’s going to happen here? This is really, really unfortunate,’ and then we started and about 45 seconds in I started to say, ‘My God, this could be a blessing. This rain — it’s creating this ethereal look,’” Mischer said. “It created wispy clouds that drifted over the stage. It created little prisms of light that caught the light and glinted the raindrops on the lenses and stuff like that, and I started to realize this had really been a gift. They’re able to perform in it, that it’s really making this show — it’s giving it a feeling that it never could have actually produced.”
Mischer’s vision involved Prince performing his iconic guitar solo from “Purple Rain” from behind a curtain that had his silhouette projected onto it. It was raining so hard, they were worried the curtain wouldn’t even rise. But it did.
“I always make history.” -Prince
Prince’s handlers at 2007 Super Bowl:
‘That was incredible you just made history.’
‘I always make history.’
— Phillip Neiman (@pneiman1) February 24, 2020
The Video of Prince’s Purple Rain Super Bowl Performance
Watch the video below, which includes not only Prince’s epic Super Bowl halftime performance but also some commentary about the background of what happened on that history-making day.
If it’s easier for you to watch via Twitter, here’s a video.
Greatest Super Bowl Halftime Show of all time. 13-years ago.
— Tomthunkit™ (@TomthunkitsMind) February 29, 2020
Featured image via embedded YouTube video