With Prince‘s death announced earlier this morning, the music world has lost one its most enigmatic figures.
The Minneapolis-born maestro approached his music and art, and life, in a very singular way. He pioneered his own sub-genre, the Minneapolis Sound, decided to change his name to a self-designed symbol, and, when he became a Jehovah’s Witness later in life, went around the suburbs of his hometown door-knocking.
Most importantly though, he was a consummate musician and performer. The following list contains some of the best of Prince’s live work.
Hosted in tropical Miami, this particular Superbowl was looking a bit grim given the incessant heavy rain, high wind and grey skies.
Yet many consider this the best Super Bowl performance of all time. Performing on a stage shaped as his self-designed love symbol, which was tiled with very slippery material, Prince (and his performers), dressed in high-heels, came at it head-on.
After playing three covers – including Foo Fighters‘ Best of You, which even surprised the Foo Fighters – Prince ended his medley set with Purple Rain, playing the song on his love symbol guitar. What’s more, everything came together as the Miami rain was lit up by the purple lights of the stage.
You can watch a short retrospective of the show here, which includes excerpts from the show, or watch the uninterrupted show in full, below.
This fan-shot snippet from what turned out to be his last ever show displays the remaining power in Prince’s voice all these years on. It pierces through the video, despite it being recorded on a mobile and in a massive theatre with hundreds of other people.
Here’s Prince, in a suit, playing a funk-infused version of Led Zeppelin‘s Whole Lotta Love, with an extended solo, like it’s no man’s business. Oooft.
This is ridiculous: You couldn’t get more talent per square metre if you tried. Funnily enough, a third of this video is Prince dancing topless to whoops and cheers, but at least the three of them got in some rocking beforehand.
Filmed before the release of his amazing album 1999, this concert features his backing band, the Revolution – including the fez-wearing keyboardist. The footage itself might not be so great – black and white – but the audio recording is certainly not out of shape.
Unfortunately the second half of this concert has been blocked on copyright grounds, but you can still enjoy this footage of Prince in his prime. Includes lots of twirling around and a weird, art-house science-fiction vibe.
“Hey Gnarls, wanna come sing that cool song of yours while I play the guitar in my iconic, ridiculous fashion through the whole song?” “Sure, no problems fam.”
A host of musical talent, including Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne of the Traveling Wilburys, got up on stage to play a cover of this song for George Harrison’s posthumous induction into the Rock Hall of Fame. Harrison’s song, Dhani, was also there. At the end, Prince joined the classic rockers, in their ill-fitting suits, wearing his own immaculate suit dressed in a red bowler hat, and belted out an amazing guitar solo.
RIP Prince. Nothing has and ever will compare.
Gallery: Prince’s Life In Pictures
Now this is really early days with Prince performing in NYC at the Bottom Line on February 15, 1980. (Photo by Waring Abbott/Getty Images)
Performing off the back of his third album Controversy, even in the early days he was a force to be reckoned with onstage (Photo by Waring Abbott/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Prince performing on stage – Purple Rain Tour (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
Prince attending the premiere of his feature film 'Purple Rain' on July 26, 1984 at Mann Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
More of him performing on the Purple Rain Tour (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
Prince performs live at the Fabulous Forum on February 19, 1985 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
More from his iconic show at the Fabulous Forum on February 19, 1985 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Prince collects the award for Best International Artist at the British Record Industry Awards, aka the BRIT Awards with classic style in London, 11th February 1985. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
Prince shredding onstage in 1985 a year after the release of Purple Rain (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
Prince performing in the UK, circa 1985. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Always a snappy dresser, Prince rocks some polka dots on stage in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 18, 1988. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
The purple one performing at the iconic Wembley stadium in London, 1986 in the post Purple Rain era. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Prince shows some skin while performing on stage, 1986. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Barechested with a guitar strapped at his waist and performing in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 30, 1990. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
Ever the showman, Prince delights fans circa 1990. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
The purple one returns to Wembley, London, 22nd August 1990. (Photo by Graham Wiltshire/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Prince holds one hand by his ear to hear the crowd response, during a concert, February 1991. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
Prince performs at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards Held in Los Angeles, CA on September 5, 1991. Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images
Prince in concert and in costume at Earl's Court, London, 15th June 1992. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Prince performs onstage at Radio City Music Hall on March 24, 1993 in New York, New York. (Photo of Prince Photo by Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Prince performs during the Super Bowl XLI Half-Time Press Conference at the Miami Convention Center on February 1, 2007 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Prince delighting Aussie fans on his early 90s Australian tour. (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images).
Even in his later days Prince never lost his presence and energy on stage. (Photo by Neil Lupin/Redferns)