Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bruce Springsteen Salutes Prince with Moving Rendition of “Purple Rain”

PURPLE REIGN
Vanity Fair, April 24, 2016

One icon mourned another during a powerful concert in Brooklyn last night. 


During the ’80s, Prince and Bruce Springsteen put out some of the best work of their careers and ignited an ongoing debate over who truly ruled the world of rock and roll. In the 80s alone, Prince cranked out masterpiece after masterpiece, with Dirty Mind,  Controversy,  1999,  Purple Rain,  Around the World in a Day,  Parade,  Sign o’ the Times,  Lovesexy, and his brilliant Batman score all elevating him to the top of the music world. Meanwhile, Springsteen forged such paeans to hardened americana as The RiverNebraskaBorn in the U.S.A., and Tunnel of Love. They traded the top spot on the Billboard charts and the Pazz and Jop poll back and forth over the course of the decade, occupying an entirely different level of songcraft and guitar prowess.
Last night, Springsteen paid tribute to his fallen contemporary during his concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, when he opened with a stirring rendition of Prince’s signature opus, “Purple Rain.” Springsteen’s concerts are the stuff of legend, attracting attendees hundreds of times over on the merit of their exuberant, cathartic energy, and the already-anthemic Prince classic fit perfectly into Springsteen’s set. It was a poignant moment as he growled out the soaring chorus of the song, with the crowd joining in to accompany his vocals. Both Springsteen and E Street Band guitarist Nils Lofgren shredded solos that would have made Prince proud, showing the same passion and dexterity on six strings as the dearly departed Purple One. But there can only truly be one Prince, and for many of the superfans in attendance, the cover inspired both a twinge of sadness as well as an emotional release.



Springsteen has long been a reliable source of reassurance and comfort during national crises, whether it was sifting through the wreckage of 9/11 with his album The Rising or chronicling the slow, sad decline of American industry. At this time of country-wide distress (really, though—this grieving process has revealed that absolutely nobody dislikes Prince), we can rely on the Boss to soothe our aching hearts. At the same time, there’s nothing quite like the original, so:



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