Super Bowl XLI and Planet Earth : 2007 to 2008
On February 2, 2007, Prince played at the Super Bowl XLI press conference. He and the band played a set comprising Chuck Berry’s hit, “Johnny B. Goode”, “Anotherloverholenyohead” from Parade and “Get On the Boat” from 3121.
Prince performed at the Super Bowl XLI halftime show in Miami, Florida on February 4, 2007. The performance Consisted of three Purple Rain tracks (“Let’s Go Crazy”, “Baby I’m a Star” and the title track), along with cover versions of “We Will Rock You” by Queen, “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan, the Foo Fighters song “Best of You” and “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Coincidentally, Miami had rain on the day of the Super Bowl, which was lit purple during the performance of “Purple rain”. He played on a large stage shaped as his symbol. The event was carried to 140 million television viewers, the Largest audience of his life. On February 4, 2010, Billboard.com ranked the performance as the greatest Super Bowl performance ever.
Prince played 21 concerts in London during the summer of 2007. The Earth Tour included 21 nights at the 20,000 capacity O2 Arena, with Maceo Parker in his band. Tickets for the O2 Arena were priced at 31.21 (including a free copy of Prince’s latest album), in order to make the concerts “affordable for everybody”. The residency at the O2 Arena was increased to 15 nights after all 140,000 tickets for the original seven sold out in just 20 minutes. It was then further extended to 21 nights. On May 10, 2007, Prince performed a ‘secret’ gig at London’s KOKO in front of a small crowd of fans and celebrities. Tickets went on sale that morning on a first-come-first-served basis (again at 31.21). A prelude to the forthcoming summer gigs in London, Prince played a relaxed set of classic hits (“Kiss”, changing the lyric from “You don’t have to watch Dynasty” to Desperate Housewives, “Girls & Boys”, and “Nothing Compares 2 U”) alongside more recent tracks, plus a well-received cover version of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy”.
Prince made an appearance at the 2007 ALMA Awards, performing with Sheila E. in June 2007. On June 28, 2007, the UK national newspaper The Mail on Sunday revealed that it had made a deal to give Prince’s new album, Planet Earth, away for free with an “imminent” edition of the paper, making it the first place in the world to get the album. This move sparked controversy among music distributors and also led the UK arm of Prince’s distributor, Sony BMG, to withdraw from distributing the album in UK stores. The UK’s largest high street music retailer, HMV, decided to stock the paper on release day due to the give-away. Planet Earth is rock-oriented along with disco, and other various music styles.
On July 7, 2007 Prince returned to his hometown of Minneapolis to perform three shows in what was unofficially declared Prince Day in Minnesota. He performed concerts at the Macy’s Auditorium (to promote his new perfume “3121”) on Nicollet Mall, the Target Center arena, and First Avenue. It was the first time he had played at First Avenue (the club appeared in the film Purple Rain) since 1987.
On April 25, 2008, Prince performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, where he debuted a new song, “Turn Me Loose”. Days after, he headlined the Coachella Festival 2008. Prince was paid more than $5 million for his performance at Coachella, according to Reuters.
Prince cancelled a concert, planned at Dublin’s Croke Park on June 16, 2008, at just 10 days’ notice. In October 2009 promoters MCD Productions went to court to sue Prince for €1.6 million, after paying him $1.5 million, half his agreed fee of $3 million for the concert. MCD claim they had to refund 55,126 tickets purchased and its total losses exceeded $1.66 million. Prince’s lawyers argued the MCD claim was “greatly inflated”. Prince settled the case out of court in February 2010 for $2.95 million. During the trial, it was revealed that Prince had been offered $22 million for 7 concerts as part of a proposed 2008 European tour.
In October 2008, Prince released a live album entitled Indigo Nights, as well as 21 Nights, an accompanying book of poems, lyrics and photos. The book chronicled his record-breaking tenure at London’s O2 Arena in 2007, while the album is a collection of songs performed live at after-shows in the IndigO2.