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Laurie Niles

Super Bowl winner: good music

February 5, 2007 at 7:42 AM

So Super Bowl Sunday went well in the Niles house... the Colts won, a major vindication for my husband, who has suffered 20-some long years as a win-less Colts fan.

Though I was totally impressed with the football, I was much more impressed by something else: the halftime show.

They hired a musician!

Yes, I'm talking about Prince. He sang with his real voice, not souped-up studio effects. He played his guitar. He even invited Florida A&M University’s Marching 100 band to play with him, and they played, too; you could hear them.

Why is this such a big deal?

Because I'm tired of canned music. Canned, fake, studio-driven, dead-on-arrival music. I'm tired of the elevation of lip-syncing posers to the stratospheres of stardom here in the United States, where popular music has been hijacked by Clear Channel Communications and the prevailing attitude is that live music is just too risky to try.

Whatever you think of his style, Prince did it live, for millions of viewers right there and on T.V. He did it in a driving rainstorm, with all kinds of crazy pyrotechnics and more than 100 musicians to coordinate, and he rocked. He sang in tune, he let off his characteristic Prince whoop in tune, he wailed on his guitar, and he did not play it safe.

The fact that it all happened in the moment made all the difference; it was the best halftime show in memory.

Let's hear it for authentic music!

From Nancy Foreman
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 7:54 AM
Real live music is what we need. Prince rocks, and so do you, Laurie!
From Ben Clapton
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 7:53 AM
I agree Laurie, I was most impressed with the Halftime show.

Though I have seen a bit of a trend in the past few years. This year - Prince. Last year - Rolling Stones. Year Before - Paul McCartney. Before that - Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson with Nipplegate.

Since Nipplegate the halftime shows have chosen real musicians who have a track record of producing top quality music and being able to perform live. I am absolutely certain that Justin Timberlake is not a live performer.

Personally, I like it. Let's hope that they continue this trend with getting live musicians who are actually able to play.

From Emily Grossman
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 9:09 AM
Prince is old.
From Albert Justice
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 9:09 AM
Prince Rocks!.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 9:14 AM
Something about a creatively shaped guitar silhouette... He's pretty clever, really.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 9:54 AM
A pretty clever "novelty" eh? But old.
From Sean Gillia
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 3:05 PM
Old -- okay, maybe, for a rocker -- but who cares? You'd never know it from his performance.
From Jim W. Miller
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 3:32 PM
Seah, that's the so-called "music" indulged in by peasants. Surely you know that.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 3:42 PM
Is "old" an epithet? I hope not.

As far as "old" versus "new," I suppose we have new mega-star people like John Mayer, "waiting for the world to change."

Waiting for the world to change!

Where is the true "new" artistry, where are the new people who want to rock the world?

From Donna Clegg
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 4:14 PM
Amen, Laurie - Prince gave quite a performance in the (not so purple) rain. Prince is a keeper for music lovers of all ages.
From Ray Randall
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 4:54 PM
Unfortunately I slept throught the half time show.
From kimberlee dray
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 5:52 PM
Here here. I'm in total agreement. Whatever you want to say about his music, at least you can call it Music. He might be old, but he looked like a twenty year old last night--in a rainstorm no less. Sure, he wore make-up, (it's Prince, right?) but it wasn't runny (even in the rain).
From Emily Grossman
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 4:50 PM
Laurie, I suppose I really meant that I don't care for Prince, never have, never will, and it has nothing to do with old-fangled or new-fangled, or whatever-fangled instrument he plays. (My comment was poorly constructed sarcasm, Jim.)

But I agree about authentic music. Hurray for authentic music (sorry to have been so disagreeable).

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 6:39 PM
His "Musicology" album has what I think is the best song that's been written in 30 years. I think maybe the last new rocker that fits your bill was Curt Cobain. Your question about where they are, you'll find them where you find rebellion. The rock geniuses of today are probably all on ridlin instead. Wrong drug entirely...
From Nicholas DiEugenio
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 7:03 PM
Laurie, I love this post. This morning, in the quartet car on the way to a rehearsal/coaching, we agreed that as the Billy Joel String Quartet in residence at SUNY-Purchase, our sponsor was a bit outdone by Prince's halftime show. What's more, Prince thumbed his nose ( at the infamous "wardrobe malfunction," and in a wonderfully creative way. Bravo for the Danse des ombres!
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on February 5, 2007 at 8:59 PM
Thanks, Laurie, for a musician's perspective on the Super Bowl. I confess that I have absolutely no interest in football.
From Laurie Niles
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 12:55 AM
Hey Emily, it's totally okay. It's just that if Prince is a fogy, so am I! ;)

I wonder what kind of electric violin we could fashion with strange shapes?

I know that not everyone likes Prince, or football...I just wanted to point out a rare instance of live music happening in the context of mainstream America!

From Jim W. Miller
Posted on February 6, 2007 at 12:44 PM
His show for the press was even better. His playing is just over the top.

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