By now, everyone knows the deal with the Super Bowl halftime show and what to expect. There hasn’t been a ton of Rock performances showcased over the years and those that were obviously have to comprise their routine to fit the format. As the golden anniversary of the big game approaches, with Coldplay getting the gig this year, Alternative Nation takes a crack at highlighting some of the top ‘Rock Moments’ of Super Bowl halftime performances:
U2 (XXXVI, New Orleans, 2002) – perhaps the most meaningful and moving performance of them all due to the “Where the Streets Have No Name” finale. During a fragile time in U.S. history, U2 beautifully captures the healing power of music as they run a backdrop highlighting the names of all the 9/11 victims.
Prince (XLI, Miami, 2007) – before closing his set with a riveting version of “Purple Rain,” Prince unexpectedly blasts into the Foo Fighters “Best of You.” Grohl, who was on vacation with his family at the time, had no idea Price would be playing his song. “Having been a massive Prince fan my whole life, I was flattered beyond words. What an honor to be covered by one of your heroes,” Grohl said afterwards via Songfacts.
Bruce Springsteen (XLIII, Tampa, 2009) – Working on Dream was released earlier in the week. A fitting “Glory Days” preps us for a thrilling second half with a last minute finish. The Boss’ slide across stage(3.52) at 59 years old is the highlight of this performance. The guitar flips at the end are pretty cool too.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (XLII, Glendale, 2008) – Sounding right off the record as usual. Some simple and great visual effects/crowd participation holding up the hearts. “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” is a very appropriate Super Bowl song – and that’s exactly what the Giants did.
Bruno Mars/featuring the Red Hot Chili Peppers (XLVIII, East Rutherford, 2014) – bear with me here. The Peppers had nothing to really promote here, but jumped on stage for a unique rendition of “Give it Away” (7.21). The highlight of this performance however is Mars’ drum solo (0.51) to kick it off. Say what you will, the guy is a talented musician (good taste in music/Super Bowl collaborators too.
Paul McCartney (XXXIX, Jacksonville, 2005) – Classic McCartney. Some flash but mostly instruments. The epic “Hey Jude” outro was made for that Super Bowl moment. Worth noting – Fox/Ameriquest delivered a perfect McCartney intro “…building bridges across time and around the world.”
• The Rolling Stones (XL, Detroit, 2006)
• The Who (XLIV, Miami, 2010)