Prince had what many call one of the best halftime performances ever, and this list even called it THE best. Prince would have hated Justin Timberlake’s halftime show though, despite being a high-energy and pretty awesome show, and we’ll explain why.
“That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon,” Prince once said, referring to new acts bringing classic hitmakers “back to life” for concerts. Let’s give the basicas of the story first. If you missed the show, Justin Timberlake delivered a superb performance, tightly rehearsed dance moves, and near-perfect timing (for a live show, that’s awesome) that’s very much signature to his style. The halftime show took place at the game in Minneapolis, which is Prince’s hometown. Of course there had to be a Prince tribute during the performance, zero question about that. They way Justin chose to do the tribute though would have Prince cringing. He use a giant screen, and projected a video of Prince singing onto the screen, while singing along himself.
Here’s a video of that part, cued up so you won’t have to watch the whole thing (but please do watch if you have the time, it was a great performance, and he did some things unique to other performances).
Welcome back, now that you’ve seen the video, what are your thoughts on that tribute? It was a nice, quick, heartfelt tribute with footage of Prince singing. Here’s what Prince has said about hologram performances of past singers:
That’s the most demonic thing imaginable. Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon,” he said. “Also, what they did with that Beatles song [“Free As a Bird”], manipulating John Lennon’s voice to have him singing from across the grave… that’ll never happen to me. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.
Now here’s the question though – was that really a hologram of Prince, or was it just a video projection?
“Holograms” are more of a “computer-created” performance, projected onto the stage (a screen) to make the artist look like he or she is really there, in a realistic size, performing. What we saw with the Prince tribute was old footage of Prince singing “I Would Die 4 U” being projected onto a massive screen hanging from the roof of the stadium. So, we’re not going to call this a “hologram,” despite what everyone seems to be saying – and criticizing about – online. We’re calling it a nice tribute to a great performer.
Now that we’ve defined what our opinion of a hologram is, would Prince have hated the show? Well, we don’t know. We can assume one or the other, but we’ll lean towards, based on what Prince has said about technology bringing back performers who have died, we think he may have been a little upset about it – but we still think it was a nice tribute that paid respect to his opinion of hologram performances, and respected his original performance by not creating a fake one.