Prince got added to the Coachella bill some 15 days before the desert festival was slated to kick off, a move that was simultaneously totally awesome and slightly reeking of desperation. Ticket sales for the 2008 installment of the fest had been rumored to be a bit soft (a rumor that was borne out by the tumbleweeds skipping across the Empire Polo Field during Jack Johnson’s Friday-closing set), and apparently Prince commanded a lot of cash to help goose the Saturday-night till. “So what?” you might ask. “He’s Prince. He’s worth it.” I wholeheartedly agree, but at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if his set—which included a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” that made Thom Yorke a bit snitty—broke the festival (and maybe even the US festival circuit) in a way, kind of like his precipitation-inducing Super Bowl halftime show of 2007.
Watch that before the Web Sheriff swoops in, then look at the latest version of the fake Coachella poster that goes around every year, and ask yourself, “How can any of those acts top that?” Never mind that I haven’t even gotten to his backup singer’s wrenching cover of Sarah McLachlan’s ASPCA-boosting “Angel” that caused a baseball-cap-wearing dude behind me to say “Yo, I’m kinda tearing up, man.” Or the fact that he kept the party going past curfew because he could (well, also because his fee was big enough that it could pay the fines levied by the local law enforcement). Or that he brought out Sheila E. and Morris Day, again, just because he could. Seriously, how do you top that? In a year that was full of personal disappointment and heartache, Prince’s last-hurrah-styled party was one of the few things that I could say was singularly great about 2008, and brought me a level of joy that will help me at least look back on something from this year fondly.