Life's Halftime Storms

February 4, 2017



Everyone has their favorite halftime show. I still remember watching Michael Jackson perform and all of us trying to do the moonwalk the next day in school. One of the most epic halftime performances was Prince. I remember not being excited one way or the other about Prince performing. Not because of Prince, but because my interest in halftime shows had waned.

I was getting up to go to the bathroom as the halftime show was beginning. Fireworks were firing off, and then all of a sudden lightning went across the stadium, and the stage exploded. I froze. It had been raining all day in Miami, and I thought something had gone wrong.

It didn't. Viewers found out a moment later that everything went as planned as the stage shaped like the purple symbol of Prince blinked to life. It's the only halftime show I remember watching where everyone watched in silence.

The rain was a big problem. The show organizers were concerned about the weather forecast and asked Prince about recording his rehearsal to play instead of a live performance if need be, which Prince refused to do. Prince sang live and, while the instruments held up during the show, they would no longer turn on afterward. According to Morris Hayes, Prince's keyboardist, the instruments were then auctioned off for charity.

Bruce Rodger, the Production Designer for the Super Bowl Halftime Show, remembers waking up the morning of the Super Bowl and looking out his window at the rain coming down, wind blowing, palm trees bending. Rodger said it looked like "Moby Dick." Immediately Rodger called Prince to see if there was anything that he needed. Prince replied: "Can you make it rain harder?"

I'm reminded today of the difficulties that can sometimes arise in life. Prince began the performance with the lyrics of Let's Go Crazy: "Dearly beloved / We are gathered here today / To get through this thing called life." The rains will come. The winds will blow. But it doesn't mean the moment won't still be epic.


Check out Bruce Rodger talking about Prince's halftime show along with clips of the performance.

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