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September 30, 2020
Live Review: Prince Breaks Out The Big Stick at The Super Bowl PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 20:20
By Nick Friese
Ever since Prince’s performance last year on Saturday Night Live and at the Super Bowl on Sunday, my ears have opened up to his guitar playing. Prior to these gigs, I never studied his playing closely or gave much reverence to his guitar work. But now that’s all changed, and Prince has certainly hit my hi-def hero screen with his latest “guitar forward” performances.

I’m sure many of you are saying: “Come on! How could you miss this guy’s guitar skills over the past twenty or so years? Are you tone deaf? He’s been ripping it for decades!” O.k. for those who are yelling epithets into your computer screens now, relax and take a deep breath. I recall having a similar conversation with one of my guitar teachers a few years ago about Prince’s playing and he was huffing and puffing too.

Hey teach, now you can say, “I told you so!”

Maybe I’m a late bloomer? Who knows? It’s possible that one day I’ll even develop an ear for Jeff Beck’s guitar playing. But right now I think I’m the only GJD reader who agrees with Larry’s Whammy Bar column a few months ago on Beck. Boy that Whammy column was a lightning rod! As I digress…

It has not slipped my purview that many of today’s top musicians attend Prince’s shows every chance they get and are quoted as “blown away” by his musical abilities.

Did I overlook Prince’s subtle skills on his albums back in the day? Have I heard stories from friends and mentors how he's ignited guitar “Eruptions” at his live shows? Sure I have. But I have to say that I wasn’t living under a rock either. Over the years (imho), Prince has been hiding his guitar chops under too much synth, drum machines, dancing, image, purple, lace, and other distractions - all of which never really allowed the guitar tones to cut through.

6But now Prince has grabbed my attention with his Hendrixian guitar performances on SNL (video taken down from YouTube) last February and at this year’s Super Bowl. He’s awoken to a new day where the guitar has become a vessel and is a centerpiece in his performances - here’s a look at his playing at the Super Bowl.

Call it a Prince “rebrand,” an awakening, or whatever you'd like to tag it, the simple truth is that Prince has certified guitar chops and is showing the “love” to his Tele, Strat, and Cloud guitars. And he's waiving them around like a big sticks that they are.


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