Prince took the stage alone at first, performing “Purple Rain” with his signature guitar and a purple suit before Beyoncé joined him in a sparkling pink dress, belting out the track alongside the icon. They transitioned into a sassy, playful take on “Baby I’m a Star,” with Prince dropping his instrument to dance with her before she and the backup dancers took over the stage with a “Crazy in Love” musical interlude. Prince added some electric-guitar flourish to the moment before they blasted into “Let’s Go Crazy,” with Beyoncé slamming the tambourine and dancing around Prince.
The number ended with a dazzling display of showmanship: the guitarist wielded his axe for a fiery solo as the pop diva body-rolled, riffed and whipped her hair beside him. “Don’t hate us ’cause we fabulous,” Prince said, before offering a campy glance towards the singer and throwing his guitar to dramatically walk around her as she laughed.
In an interview, Prince discussed the time they spent together leading up to the performance. “I was really curious as to how much she knew musically,” he responded. “I was really pleased to find out that she knew a lot about scales — mixolydian scales and Egyptian styles.” He added that, although he did not offer her much advice, he did show her some chords on the piano to reinforce the fact that knowing the instrument was a skill that helped singers such as Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles. Prince’s piano advice seems to have been taken to heart: just last year, Beyoncé posted a rare video of her performing the instrument for an exclusive video for Tidal of her playing the song “Die With You.”
Since the Grammy duet, Beyoncé has covered a few Prince songs. In 2011, she performed a gorgeous rendition of “The Beautiful Ones” at Glastonbury before transitioning into the Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire.” Last year, she posted a video of her reworking the lyrics of “Darling Nikki” to dedicate them to her “Feeling Myself” partner Nicki Minaj.Elton John calls Prince the “greatest performer I have ever seen” in a tribute to the deceased musician. Watch here.