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The Day Prince Reigned Super.

“The greatest performer I have ever seen. A true genius. Musically way ahead of any of us. Sang with him twice on stage. What an honour. Rest in peace you purple warrior.” #Prince #RIP. – Elton John

“He was a singularity. One of a kind. This can’t be said enough. Prince was the REAL DEAL.” – Gene Simmons (KISS Frontman)

The Day was February 4, 2007. The rain was coming down in sheets and the movers and shakers huddled inside their control booths were frightened out of their minds. This kind of weather wasn’t supposed to happen. A thunderstorm in early February in South Florida, this unlikely event wasn’t supposed to happen. This cataclysmic front that no forecaster could ever conjure up was going to postpone one of the world’s most mercurial and mysterious performers on the grandest stage of all? Never. Ever.

No way. That circumstance never entered the thinking of the elusive chameleon Prince Charles Rogers. He knew the fates had created the perfect opening for his world-beating stage show. The diminutive man with an androgynous persona and lighting fast guitar licks wasn’t in the least bit put off by the raging weather. No, not the artist Prince, he actually wanted more rain. “Could you make it rain harder?” That’s what he said to uber-producer Don Mischer when the LA whiz-bang phoned his star nervously backstage before the halftime show was to commence. After all, Don had produced Super Bowl halftime shows for Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson, what could possibly go wrong when you were one of the masters of the universe?

Now, there are certain platforms where artists achieve a kind of hagiography from scribes who witnessed an event via live streaming or in person as the circumstances allow. That fateful early evening in Miami, Florida was such a time for the genre-shattering talent born in Minnesota but now a citizen of the world.

Prince was, always will be, an American original. A self-made, eclectic, overtly sensual provocateur, who constantly stretched the artistic boundaries to play his unique music. He was a fascinating combination of Little Richard, James Brown, Carlos Santana, David Bowie, Elvis, Pete Townsend, and one could on and on about this one-man musical melting pot. Prince played funk, R & B, Rock, and merged several types of music together with infinite ease. He dressed impeccably, as did his bandmates, and entourage at all times. He exemplified the performer as a master conductor over his audience. He realized, far more than any observer, the need for audiences to: “Go Crazy”, let it loose, who cares what what genre he’s playing? Prince understood on a deeper level the built-in need for groups to merge and frolic, wildly, together.

He was also a champion for artists everywhere to maintain control of their products and profit off their hard-earned image. There are several books on this aspect of his legacy which explains his name change and many other facets of Prince’s relentless pursuit of artistic freedom.

Make no mistake, he was a true pioneer in helping all creators become a more legitimate force of self-reliance in the face of ruthless manipulators who have always preyed on the naive and powerless in the world of music and art. More times than one can count, Prince used his considerable clout to champion everyone.

So this Super Bowl, regardless of the teams or outcome, let us pay homage to the performer who set the standard for all who would follow in making the halftime show the event nobody misses.

February 4, 2007. This was his time. His stage. His moment. He made it (improbably) rain. As the New York Times musical reporter Jon Pareles wrote afterward: “This was one performer shaking the entire world.”

Prince. Gone, from the scene but forever a major influence on every music lover and performer.

Mischer remembers that culture-changing day vividly like it happened yesterday.

“He put his whole self into everything he did. We had five meetings before we even went to Miami and talked about what he was going to do and how he was going to do it. And what I remember the most was he wanted to create a great show. It wasn’t about promoting a new project or a new single. He wanted it to be something a gigantic audience would love. He covered a Foo Fighters song, a John Fogerty song, a Bob Dylan song. He was selfless in that sense. He just wanted to make it a great show.

We were so worried about the rain, because the stage was designed as his symbol, and it had a very slippery floor on top; when it got wet, it was almost treacherous. His two dancers, The Twins, were wearing 8 1/2-inch heels, and we were terrified of the rain and if they would he be able to stay on his feet.

There was a little drizzle in the morning . . . Before we went on with the halftime show, the heavens just burst open. It was a really heavy rain, and I’m in a panic mode because Prince was playing live with four different electric guitars; he was switching guitars – all electric, all live, four times, in a 12 1/2-minute set. Could he get an electric shock? Will they work. It was cause for great concern. He took that moment and turned it into this ethereal, magical halftime show. He rose above the problems of the rain. All the guitars worked, and there were droplets of rain all over the lenses. And 60 seconds in, you knew we were being blessed, and then it ended with “Purple Rain,” and we were able to turn the rain purple.I just have the greatest respect for him. He was a musical genius.” – Don MIscher