I didn’t have the privilege of seeing Prince perform live before his untimely death yesterday. But I have seen him perform a handful of times on television. You’re going to hear a lot about his blistering performance during the half-time show during Super Bowl XLI (2007). And rightfully so, this standout performance took place in a rainstorm and included “We Will Rock You”, “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Baby I’m a Star”, “Proud Mary”, “All Along the Watchtower”, “Best of You”, and “Purple Rain”.
However, my favorite televised performances were from his appearances on Saturday Night Live. On November 1, 2014, Prince bucked Saturday Night Live tradition by playing a single, eight minute, four-song medley (instead of the standard of multiple songs sprinkled throughout the show). The unbroken set consisted of pieces of “Clouds,” “Plectrum Electrum,” “Marz,” and “Another Love”. One of my favorite parts is when Prince attempted up turn up his guitar’s volume only to smile as he realized it was unplugged.
My very favorite Prince performance was his commanding execution of “Fury” for the February 4, 2006 Saturday Night Live. It had been over 24 years since Prince had last played on SNL and “Fury” had not been heard live or as studio recording up until this point. Prince’s guitar work for this performance was amazing. He effortlessly shredded the song up and down. My favorite part is the end, when he throws his mic stand on the floor while exiting the stage. He does this with a sly grin, letting his audience know he is fully aware that he was on fire.