I’m not a concert person. Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you I’d much rather listen to a band or a singer I like on my tinny Bose speakers than see them live. There is one exception to that rule, however, and that exception was Prince. I was lucky enough to see him perform both in concert and at H&M’s Versace launch in 2011, and I can say with certainty there isn’t anyone—and will never be anyone—with the magnetism, star power, and showmanship the artist possessed.
Prince’s music—a kinetic mix of soul, funk, pop, and R&B—speaks for itself (7 Grammys, 100 million records sold, an Oscar for “Purple Rain” in 1985), but watching him on stage is an experience unlike any other. Nothing he did ever felt choreographed, rehearsed, or overly planned. The man got up on stage and earned his reputation as one of the all-time coolest, smoothest, slyest, sexiest musicians on the planet. And his sheer talent, well, that’s not something easily put into words.
It’s been over a year since he left us, but it’s safe to say he is still deeply missed. In honor of the ultimate Artist, let’s revisit 15 live performances that are absolutely epic.
Prince Performing “Let’s Work”
Prince’s Performing “Purple Rain” (in the Rain) During Super Bowl XLI
Prince, James Brown, and Michael Jackson in 1983
Larry Graham, GCS, and Prince Live at BB Kings
Prince and Cee-Lo Green Performing “Crazy”
“Purple Rain” at the 1985 American Music Awards
Prince Performing “Love Is A Losing Game”with Amy Winehouse
Longtime Collaborator Sheila E Tearing up the Drums at a Prince Show
Prince’s Tribute to Chaka Khan with Stevie Wonder and India.Arie
Prince and Lenny Kravitz Performing “American Woman”
Prince Full Concert, 1982, Capitol Theatre, Passaic, NJ
Prince Slaying Radiohead’s “Creep”
Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL Performing B-Side Classic “She’s Always in My Hair”
Prince Showing off Why He’s the King of funk
Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and others “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
The music world is heartbroken at the loss of an icon, but his epic live performances will live on forever.
Originally published April 2016. Updated August 2017.