Just hours ago, Chanhassen, Minnesota became the epicenter of today’s newswire. Through vast networks of telephone lines and fiber optic cables, news spread at broadband speeds from the Twin Cities to the rest of the world, alerting us of yet another profound loss in 2016. Prince, just 57 years old, had died in his home.
The prolific musician released 39 albums in his 35-year career, a testament to his energy and creativity. He was perhaps better known, though, for his vibrant performances. The dude was rock star incarnate. One of the best examples of his unrivaled on-stage charisma is his performance at the 2007 Super Bowl Halftime Show.
The Super Bowl took place in Miami that year. The morning of the game, people awoke to gale-like winds and torrential rain. The show’s producer Don Mischer called Prince to inform him of the storm and to find out whether he was still willing to perform. His response: “Can you make it rain harder?”
NFL profiled the show in a video that you can watch right here. Over the course of eight minutes, writers and other contributors interject over the performance to offer their own commentary. Prince “turn[ed] the bad weather to his dramatic advantage,” said author Alan Light. “It was almost like a special effect.”
Indeed, the icon, dressed in a Miami appropriate suit of teal and orange, was transcendent. He performed a medley of his own hits and a couple of other artists’ songs—including “All Along the Watchtower” and Foo Fighters’ “The Best of You”—before concluding with “Purple Rain.” Amidst the downpour, Prince led 100,000 people in song while wailing on his guitar and walking about a stage shaped in his love symbol.
It had never before rained at a Super Bowl. On that February night in 2007, it came down in purple sheets.