Kairos: Prince’s Super Bowl Performance

A few years ago, a video about Prince’s 2007 Super Bowl performance made a resurgence. (See above). People passed it around social media and remembered his great life and presence. And I love this video.

I cannot get enough of it as a moment.

What I mean is that some elements of the experience happened apart from anyone’s decision or control. Namely, lots and lots of rain. But Prince and his team also embraced those elements to synergize a moment of creativity, connection, and electrifying energy. At Super Bowl XLI, Prince sang ‘Purple Rain’ in an absolute downpour. It was magical.

Along with sections of the performance itself, the video above includes interviews with Half Time Show designers and managers. They agree this performance was truly  a remarkable moment. In their own words, they share what made them so impressed:

Prince embraced a situation of potential inconvenience,
and completely transformed it.

Prince demonstrated confidence on the stage,
and performed music written by others.

Prince rolled with a great deal of spontaneity,
and launched it into the world as if this is exactly what should happen.

It all leads to the finale. As Prince wraps up “The Best of You” by Foo Fighters, he flashes this foreshadowing look across his face that something special is about to happen. And then it does. Fireworks explode, and standing in the downpour, Prince captivates the stage even more as he starts to sing, “Purple Rain.” The crowd goes wild.

Then he pulls the crowd into the creation of the experience too. They sing along with him, and suddenly, everyone is participating in this strange yet magical moment. They are drenched but connected with wonderful energy.

It’s beautiful.

There’s an ancient Greek word for moments like these: Kairos.

Kairos is a type of time. It’s different the most common conception of time, which more clearly matches the Greek word chronos – time which marks things linearly i.e. one event leading naturally to the next, as the past leads to the present, etc.

But Kairos is a form of time which marks a significant moment.
Some might even call it a sacred moment.

Kairos is not measured by length in seconds, minutes, days, or years.
It isn’t about length or anything linear at all.
It’s about an experience.

Kairos an opportune moment where everything comes together.
It isn’t a measurement, but a recognition,
a realization that a moment is to be embraced and savored.
Kairos is a moment to be fully alive.

In those moments, what can else can we do but take it all in and say thank you?

That’s what one of the interviewees says in the video: “When he did do ‘Purple Rain,’ that was one of those times where things just work magically, and there’s nothing you can do but say, ‘Thank you.’”

Renee Roederer

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