MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Prince put on a truly memorable performance during halftime of Super Bowl 41 in Miami.

New Power Generation played with him that night. Prince once called them his “best band ever.”

Morris Hayes was the musical director for that show.

“There were so many things that could have gone wrong, you know. The rain storm coming in,” Hayes said. “We knew it was going to be a challenge, but man, it’s just like, everything went right.”

They will take center stage with Prince’s backing horn section Wednesday night at Super Bowl LIVE on the Nicollet Mall.

They will play the music that made Minnesota’s favorite son and NPG famous.

WCCO spent several hours with members of the NPG Wednesday afternoon, and they all said they are ready to give to fans all that Prince invested into them.

With temperatures dropping, NPG did all it could to stay warm during sound check.

New Power Generation (credit: CBS)

Their fan base is deep, and many braved the cold as well just to get a quick listen of what they have in store for the big show.

“[Prince] wanted to make a great show. It was always important for him how the fans looked at things,” Hayes said. “He said he would get bored, so he figured they are, too. And so everything for him was always about like, ‘Man, how can we take it up a notch? How can we like do better than what we did before?'”

For Hayes, playing during Super Bowl LII is bittersweet.

“I’m sorry that he’s not here to see it, but we’re going to try to do the best that we can,” Hayes said.

But he hopes playing the music NPG created with Prince is helping and healing to fans.

“It’s so many hits, you know what I mean. Just trying to find the right mix of songs to just like hit them with, man, we’re going to have high energy, man … it’s going to be cold, so we’re going to keep it moving,” Hayes said.

Their main objective is to make sure the fans enjoy the music — something Hayes says Prince put above everything.

“I use to tell Prince all the time, I said, ‘Prince, you got the best fans in the world, bro,'” Hayes said. “‘They stand out in the rain the cold and everything just to hear us play … I don’t know if you know it or not, but they’re the best, man.’ And so we just want to say that we love these guys. They’re very special to us.”

Besides their free headlining set at Super Bowl LIVE Wednesday night, New Power Generation will also play The Dakota on Nicollet Mall on both Friday and Saturday.

They will then head out to Japan and Australia, taking the Purple Master’s music international.

Reg Chapman