- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 1, 2007

Prince = powerful.

Billy Joel = joke.

Thursday at Super Bowl Week means press conferences for the various pregame and halftime performers. And just like the Rolling Stones did last year in Detroit, Prince delivered in a big way yesterday afternoon in a packed ballroom at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

After a stage was set up, Prince took the stage with a full band, including backup singers/dancers who are probably twins and belong in a supermodel catalog.

Prince, wearing an orange suit and appearing to be slightly taller than my two-month-old niece, didn’t take questions, instead pounding out three songs during a nearly 15-minute set that was blaring but highly entertaining. The audio wasn’t great (couldn’t tell you which three songs he belted out), but the guitar was tuned perfectly and it was obvious Prince was keen on putting on a show in that regard.

I’m pretty sure it was the first time I clapped at a “press conference” although it was hardly that. Can’t wait to see what the one-named guy does at halftime Sunday night.

And now a few words about Billy Joel, who is (like Prince) short and (like Prince) a veteran performer. But he also looks about 87 years old.

Lobbed softball after softball about becoming the first artist to sing the national anthem at two Super Bowls, Joel was sarcastic, curt, non-funny (although he tried to be) and generally uninterested in being there.

The only thing of substance from the washed-up rocker: “It’s a tough song. It’s not the greatest song ever written. What it represents is terrific. I think ‘America The Beautiful’ is a better song.”

Joel didsay he planned to sing a traditional rendition of the anthem.

— Ryan O’Halloran

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