The dust has now settled on the 2008 Coachella festival in California and, despite boasting a bill that included the likes of Portishead, The Verve, The Raconteurs, Aphex Twin and Goldfrapp, most of the headlines have gone to a 49-year old chap who recently had a hip replacement: Prince.
As a long-term fan of the man, the only thing that surprises me about the ecstatic reaction to Prince’s performance is that anyone was surprised by it. People seem to forget just how good he is, so when he pops up to deliver another yet show-stopping set– be it at the 2006 Brit Awards, the 2007 Super Bowl or at Coachella (complete with cover of Radiohead’s Creep) – there’s widespread wonderment.
But, whatever you think of his recent albums – and some of them have been patchy to say the least – the fact is that Prince is still the consummate superstar. While some artists take to the stage almost apologetically, he works it with a cocksure arrogance. He’s outrageously good and he knows it.
Prince is about more than attitude and showmanship, though: what should also be remembered is that he’s a fantastic musician. No matter how many times I read that he’s underrated as a guitarist it never gets any less true, and he’s no slouch on the piano, bass or drums, either. In fact, I’d wager that whatever instrument you play, he can play it better.
Prince is the last of a dying breed – the all-star sing and dance man who can lead a band and take any role in it. We may not see his like again, so we should enjoy him while we can.
Now if only he’d play Glastonbury…
By Ben Rogerson