The Grammys’ tribute to Prince had to be an especially electric one in order to properly honor the Purple One’s unquantifiable contribution to music. And thanks to former Prince associates The Time and a ferociously committed Bruno Mars, it was.
The Time opened the tribute medley by donning gold blazers and performing “Jungle Love,” commanding the audience to dance it out. (“You got about 10 seconds to get up off of your asses, and I do mean everybody!”) And okay, sure, “Jungle Love” is technically The Time’s song and not Prince’s, but it’s such a memorable part of Purple Rain that it definitely belongs in the extended canon.
As The Time wrapped up, the medley shifted to Mars, his blazer’s purple sparkles glinting off the camera even through the dark, as Prince’s voice blared over the speakers and intoned the iconic introduction to “Let’s Go Crazy”: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.”
And then Mars was off.
Mars is an incredibly energetic performer; we’d even seen him in action singing his own song “That’s What I Like” earlier in the night. But he took his Prince tribute to a whole new level, throwing himself into the bonkers fun of “Let’s Go Crazy” with swooping guitar licks that brought the already standing Grammys crowd to a roar.
The performance was a forceful reminder of how strong Mars is as a performer and musician. But more importantly, it was a forceful reminder of Prince’s legacy, from which Mars and so many other artists have come.