Justin Timberlake Covers Prince’s ‘I Would Die 4 U’ at Super Bowl Halftime Show
There was no hologram. But Prince was seen and heard during the Super Bowl halftime show. Midway through his set, Justin Timberlake performed "I Would Die 4 U" along with audio and video of the Purple's One's original performance of the song, which was projected onto a giant billowing screen above the stage.
(skip to 8:55 on the video above if you want to see just that song)
As you can see in the below video, Timberlake performed a similar version of the song during a 2016 concert in San Francisco. During tonight's performance, U.S. Bank Stadium and the surrounding Minneapolis city streets were bathed in purple light.
When word spread yesterday that Timberlake's show would include an homage to Minnesota's hometown, Prince's longtime collaborator and protege Sheila E. assured fans ahead of the game it wouldn't be in the form of a hologram.
Prior to his death, Prince was on record opposing the concept of a hologram, calling it "the most demonic thing imaginable" in a 1998 Guitar World interview. "Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing ... it really is demonic. And I am not a demon. To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control."
When word first broke of the idea of a Prince hologram at the Super Bowl, Sheila E. tweeted, "Prince told me don't ever let anyone do a hologram of me. Not cool if this happens!" But she eventually shared a relieved update: "Family, I spoke w/Justin 2nite and he shared heartfelt words of respect for Prince & the Purple fans. I look 4wrd 2 seeing what I’m sure is going 2 be a spectacular halftime show. There is no hologram."