It’s late at night. There’s nothing to watch on TV. If you’re like me, this means you fire up YouTube and check out… well…. anything! I lean towards political videos lately (Slightly Offensive and Fog City Midge are entertaining!), but the other night I stumbled across Prince’s Super Bowl performance from 2007. From there I went to Purple Rain covers by Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffet and others.
A YouTube suggestion brought me to Prince’s live performance during the 1985 American Music Awards show. Honestly, I thought, this is going to be tame, possibly boring (how I feel about most music performances at awards shows). Boy was I wrong.
I’ve watched it over and over since then and there are so many points in the performance that I love, and a couple that make the hate list.
- The stage setup. While boring (see below), it also is so bland that you can’t help but focus solely on Prince and the music. So the unentertaining stage and background actually is a good thing, I guess.
- The emotion on his face. He’s not just singing a song. He’s giving you a show, a performance full of feelings.
- The high falsetto he goes to at 1:47. I’ve heard the song so many times, so this variation was unexpected and amazing. It’s one of my favorite things in music, the falsetto with a nice vibrato, and makes me think of Jack White, who does it well.
- His choice on when to start playing his guitar. It’s strapped around him through the whole first verse and chorus, but he doesn’t play a single note until just before “…it’s such a shame our friendship had to end.” Puts a great emphasis on this part of the song, and sets it up as the most meaningful part of the lyrics.
- Women playing guitars and keyboards, always one of my favorite parts of a band.
- AT 2:41 and 3:44, nice to see a cameo of Nicole Kidman 🙂 (kidding, it’s not her but looks a lot like her!)
- Loving the long guitar solo, so amazing.
- Prince kicking down the mic stand. YES! Why not, ya know?
- Lionel Richie (in the intro) says Prince is music you can watch. Couldn’t agree more on this performance!
- The stage setup (yep, it’s on both lists). This might just be how the style was back in the 80s, but wow it’s boring.
- At 4:10, really director? You’re going to cut away right as the guitar solo starts? Come on, man!
So yeah, I’ll admit I was so far away from being right with my prediction about this music awards performance being forgettable and boring. Oopsy.
-Out of the Wilderness