Prince was such a figure that he seemed, perhaps more than any other performer, to be from somewhere else and would outlive us all. How to process this is impossible to say, but here are some really awesome videos featuring arguably the most magnetic performer of all time.
Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show
Let's get this out of the way: This was the best halftime show in the history of halftime shows.
I mean, how do you go from "All Along The Watchtower" to a freaking Foo Fighters song and make the Foo Fighters song sound better? And, for, real, he's doing "Purple Rain" in the rain!
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps"
Prince was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the same year as George Harrison. Instead of just letting Prince be Prince for a couple hours, the Hall stuck him on stage with two of the Traveling Wilburys and Steve Winwood. For the first three minutes and twenty-seven seconds of this performance, it's a staid cover of a Beatles song. Then Prince happens.
I cannot say enough how wonderful Prince's guitar solo is. That part where a stagehand is propping him up? Get out of here. When he's done and just tosses his guitar in the air and walks away? I don't think anything cooler has ever happened on a stage.
Capitol Theater, 1982
Prince was a couple months away from breaking through into the mainstream with 1999 when he blew the roof off of The Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ. The third song that night was an extended cut/jam/freakout-sesh of "I Wanna Be Your Lover." All this messing around somehow comes across as virtuoso and not indulgent. It's impossible to watch this and not get swept up in the sultriness of it all.
"Controversy" was the pre-encore closer that night and it was absolutely electric.
It stands to reason that if Chris Christie had spent the last decade bragging about attending this concert instead of any number of Bruce Springsteen shows, the GOP race would be shaking out differently. You can watch the whole blistering hour-plus set here.
"Nothing Compares 2 U"
Prince wrote this absolute banger for Sinead O'Connor—he wrote a lot of songs for other bands and artists—but, naturally, this live version (with Mary J. Blige!) is phenomenal.
"Little Red Corvette"
Here's Prince on Solid Gold doing doing one of his biggest hits because that song absolutely slays.
Yes, he is lip-synching, but you would have to be lip-synching too if you wanted to attempt to dance like Prince does at the 2:06 mark. It's like he goes from solid to liquid and back to solid in a matter of seconds.
Finally, here's the man himself on a different episode of Solid Gold doing his biggest hit to take us home.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org