Monday, February 05, 2007

ENTERTAINMENT DROPPINGS: Prince, Prince’s Coif, A Brave Friend, And A Pound Of Hot Wings


[JohnEats note: Frequent JohnEats.com post tipster Shady has finally taken me up on a longstanding offer to contribute more than just a random link suggestion to John Eats, and has filed this extensive report on Prince's halftime performance at yesterday's Superbowl. Take it away, Shady.]

At the request of JohnEats, I have decided to put my 2007 Super Bowl Halftime experience in writing. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? Do you think I would pass up the opportunity to write about the greatest entertainer of all time, The Purple One, The Artist, The Unpronounceable Symbol, The Un-Michael Jackson, the true heir to the late great James Brown’s throne (whatever M.C. Hammer believes), our guiding musical star, Prince. TANGENT AHEAD: The thing that is so great about Prince is the fact that you can laugh at his tremendous narcissism and still love his showmanship, while admiring his musical talent. Also, The Man knows how to laugh at himself...but only when he is in the mood, Damn Gemini!!! Anyway, the halftime show featuring Prince was promoted early on in the night by some random commercials featuring The Purple One in silhouette popping his collar (as some of my “homies” would say) and getting ready to perform. These commercials foreshadowed the actual halftime experience, but I will get to that later. You would think Prince would let the whole collar-popping/Fonzie-esque/Henry Winkler/James Dean thing go, as it has not been a signifier of coolness since the 1950’s, but I digress.

Anyway, I am sitting in a lovely medium-sized sports bar filled with Bears fans, sipping a strawberry daiquiri, anxiously awaiting the tricks that Prince has up his sleeve (HAHAHAAAAAA!!!). There is talk of what Prince will sing. Hope that he does not succumb to his constant craving of performing an endless guitar solo. We are all praying he keeps it simple and classic and stays away from the political, or any outfit that is assless. But I remain positive that Prince has been briefed by the FCC and will refrain from letting Janet Jackson join him in a duet of Darling Nikki. (That would be something to see). So ten minutes before the halftime show, I switch to drinking cosmopolitans, because that is soooo Prince, and I get ready to be entertained. Then the owner/manager of the bar turns the sound down and we all look at each other with panic and fear. No PRINCE??!!! Are you kidding me? The manager and his henchmen start giving out crappy door prizes like metallic Corona signs and Budwiser t-shirts. The bar is restless. You have many groups in a situation like this: the drunk as a skunk group; those who really want to see Prince; those who think Prince is a has-been; those who want their crappy door prizes, and those who could give a damn either way.

I focus on the three big screens in front of me, and realize that the lights in the stadium are dimming for the performance, and the sound in the bar is still down….. … Then my good friend’s brother does something so brave….So gutsy!….So FUNNY!!! He starts a Prince chant….with no real certainty that the bar will join him ;-). He just knows how much his sister and friend love Prince…So half of the bar starts chanting, “We Want Prince! Give us Prince!” Not exactly the March on Washington, but I get excited and join in. The proverbial drunk guy in the back does his part by screaming “Prince!” at the top of his lungs, in the midst of our chanting. The manager finally concedes defeat (with a silly smirk, I might add). He turns the sound up!!!! Yeah ;-) The bar decides to let him live, even though we have missed three minutes of Prince-Time. But I will never forget the day the Midwest bonded over its prodigal son.

The Performance.

Prince rocks out. He appears on a glowing stage that is shaped like his unpronounceable symbol. It looks great. As normal, Prince seems to have on some type of Versace ensemble. But this time, he represents Miami with bright Don Johnson colors, a funky orange shirt and powder blue suit. On his head is some type of scarf, maybe to protect him from the rain that is pouring down (hint). He has two girls shaking their groove things in the background, and they eventually move to his side. Why does Prince need two women with him at all times, throwing their legs on top of him? Does anyone remember “Diamond” and “Pearl”? Maybe it is a sign of coolness. Maybe he is compensating for his height. The world wonders.

As part of his set, Prince performs “Baby I am a Star” and “Let’s go Crazy”. But he can’t resist throwing in some obscure song that no one in the bar recognizes. [JohnEats note: Shady may be referring here to Prince’s cover of “Proud Mary” along with his Dylan-via-Hendrix version of “All Along The Watchtower.”] At some point, some regret the fuss about the sound being turned down.

But then it happens.

As the rain pours down in Miami, the stadium gets dark, or maybe even Purple. Yes folks, you guessed it. The marching band (Did I mention there was a marching band?) glows in the dark and starts playing that familiar tune, Purple Rain. PURPLE RAIN IN THE RAIN. I’m in heaven!!! Those cosmos served me well. I’ve got a buzz going and all is right with the world. The bar folk try to remember the lyrics to the song, and begin half-heartedly singing. This is what we have been waiting for. Lighters are pulled out, on TV, and in the bar. Then Prince disappears behind a flappy sheet thing and all you see is his silhouette as he performs the haunting guitar solo featured in Purple Rain. No one minds how long it takes.

A minute later, he reappears. And the whole Super Bowl audience sees that his hair has been messed up by the rain and he is barely enduring the storm. Do you really think Prince likes getting his hair wet? I think not, my friend. All through the performance, friends are sending me texts acknowledging my love for Prince…and there are questions about that head scarf. Damn text messages!! Finally, it is all over. And I breathe a sigh of relief. Prince has not embarrassed himself or his fans. And his halftime performance beats Billy Joel’s version of the national anthem on any day. After Prince goes off, I order a pound of hot wings to share with my good friend, and anxiously await the K-fed commercial. The bar settles down as the Bears get their butts kicked. I ponder how a Michael Jackson chant would go these days. I decide I don’t care. My friend’s brother tells my buddy that she owes him for starting the chant. These kinds of debts can never be repaid.

I don’t even care the Bears lost. Prince and the Super Bowl were made one and will live forever through Tivo and YouTube. AMEN.

2 Comments:

Blogger John Eats said...

I can't believe you missed the bizarre "We Will Rock You" intro followed immediately by His Royal Badness kicking into "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life!" Freakin' fan-damn-tastic. Please tell me you Tivo'd it.

I felt bad for his two little dancer friends, I thought for sure one of them would slip and fall and bust their head in all that rain.

But yes, Purple Rain IN. THE. RAIN. It was a populist performance that still threw curveballs, and he got in some HOTT LIXX as well.

Damn, that man is amazing.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing that would have made it better would have been Justin Timberlake appearing in the mist only to rip off one of His Purpleness' ass pockets to reveal one perfect cheek...

No wait, I said that wrong....

--Ice Cait

5:18 PM  

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