Having already broken down their most memorable NFL playoff moments, FR turn their crosshairs on what really matters. The halftime show. We’re gon’ have you naked, by the end of this Five.
(By the way, we think we can all agree. Nothing–NOTHING–says football like: Madonna. Don’t go for second-best, baby. Put yourself to the test.)
Tyler: JT/Janet/Diddy/Nelly/Kid Rock/…?
Of course, we all remember this nonsense for introducing the unfortunate and mindless phrase “wardrobe malfunction” into our addled new-media lexicon (not to mention sorta ruining the sexily-coy cover of Janet, especially considering that weird-ass star-shaped sorta-pasty). What I remember most, however, came minutes before, as the inane pre-tittie performance unfolded, fellow FR writer Travis and my college roommates also present, all baffled, is friend of FR Steve muttering, “…this is just random clusterfuck!”
Truer words were never spoke.
Travis: The Who
There was a time in my life when the Who was my favorite band. I went to see an aging form of the band two nights in a row and loved every second of it. But by the time they performed at Super Bowl XLVI, they needed not to. Pete Townshend’s gut popping out as he windmilled his guitar was not what I needed. Though it did allow plenty of jokes: “Who’s doing the halftime show this year? That’s right.”
My one caveat to this Five for Friday is that every Super Bowl halftime show is such an overblown spectacle of nonsense that I don’t really care about who does or doesn’t play. I’m usually more interested in seeing whatever entertaining commercial they’ll play next.
Tyler: Paul McCartney
I love the Beatles. Paul is my favorite, and he’s blown my mind live. But.
“THANK YOU SUPER BOWL!!!!!”
Travis: Janet Jackson’s Wardrobe Malfunction
“Did that just really happen? That didn’t just really happen.” The next day: “Huh, that really did happen.”
Nathan: NSYNC / Aerosmith / Britney Spears / Mary J. Blige / Chris Rock / Adam Sandler / Ben Stiller
Speaking of clusterfucks.
Tyler: The Black Eyed Peas/Usher/Slash
The horror. The horror. The horror. The horror.
Seriously. The horror.
Travis: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Nathan: Black Eyed Peas, etc.
Evidence of the horror has already been given. But I gotta say that no halftime show has been more fun to laugh at than this one. I don’t like to judge people for their musical tastes, but I felt smugly superior to all those morons bouncing around the stage as if the Black Eyed Peas were the greatest band in pop history.
They’re a band I love to hate. And there was no better stage to get a kick out of them than this one.
For the first time, in the wake of September 11th, the NFL came to play, and scheduled a relevant rock band. All That You Can’t Leave Behind was released in late 2000, but neither “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” nor “Walk On” became radio fixtures until after the unspeakable tragedy of the following year. I’ve since grown tired of U2, a band I long admired, whose The Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby I still consider classics, and whom I saw live in Lexington on the initial promo tour for ATYCLB, rapturously. Their–well, Bono’s–righteous indignation seems now to me self-righteous, though, and they’ve yet to release a record since that time that contains a single song I admire.
But at the time–at the time, they were perfect. The names of every innocent victim scrolled behind them on an enormous screen as they performed. “Beautiful Day,” “MLK,” and, most importantly, “Where The Streets Have No Name” were unleashed in pure, classic, legendary U2 fashion. They were inspiring, heart-bursting, and they were perfect for the spectacle, America’s most major secular holiday, the country still devastated, confused, but coming together as ever for the sporting event even non-sports-fans cannot resist (even if they claim to “just watch for the commercials.”) It was magnificent. It was stirring. It might’ve been U2’s last great moment, unless they can get ahold of themselves and conjure up one more in the years to come.
Only Prince would dare to utilize a guitar-phallus silhouette and inexplicably cover the Foo Fighters on the biggest stage in the world.
Nathan: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
I don’t even like Tom Petty that much (he’s a little bit too inoffensive for me), but I found myself enjoying his halftime show a lot. It seemed unpretentious and classic.
While living at home in Cincinnati, I had friend of FR/former roommate Chris and friend of FR/platonic bestie Amy over to watch the Colts and Bears take the national stage. Amy and I, being sensible, were quite excited to see what R&B/pop legend Prince would offer during his unexpected halftime gig. Chris, meantime, spent the first half echoing a complaint he’d lodged throughout any number of college parties, namely, “I hate Prince!” Devin Hester launched the game with a stunning kick-return touchdown for the Bears, and Peyton Manning would in time cement his Hall Of Fame legacy by leading the Colts to a somewhat-less-than-suspenseful victory, which was okay, as most of us were rooting for Indy, anyway.
But Prince. Prince. Prince stole the show. “Let’s Go Crazy?” “Baby I’m A Star?” (!!!) A bevy of covers, a random tear-through of the chorus to Foo Fighters’ “Best Of You?” “Purple Rain,” ripped into as actual rain poured onto the stage?
Even Chris acquiesced after the performance concluded. “Yeah…that was pretty awesome.”
Travis: Michael Jackson
When I was little, we’d always go over to a specific co-worker of my dad’s house for the Super Bowl, but I couldn’t care less about the game; what I cared about was that said co-worker had a pool table in his basement. Since I was little, I never got to play unsupervised, lest I scratch the felt, so halftime of the game was when I got to very badly scratch on the eight-ball year after year. A little TV in the corner had the halftime show on, basically to let everyone know when to go back upstairs for the game. The spectacle of multiple Michael Jacksons appearing all over the stadium, however, took everyone’s attention away from the pool table. Even mine. Read something awesome about one of the Michael Jackson doubles from that halftime show here.
Like Tyler in the #2 slot, I’ve grown tired of U2 over the past ten years for every standard reason that you can think of. Also, I once had a college roommate who played nothing but U2 (well, almost), and I can barely listen to them anymore.
But yes, despite what I’ve come to feel about these Irish rockers, this was the perfect Super Bowl halftime act. If they’d performed in any other year, it would have been nice but not cathartic.