As February kicks off, we common folk look forward to our second month of 2018.
Of course, Valentine’s Day is the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of February, especially if you’re single and morbidly depressed with no love conquests on the horizon or if you’re stuck in that pesky ol’ friend zone. For those who are unfortunate enough to be experiencing what I just wrote… Have no fear, we are not in a leap year and February will be over sooner than you think. For the rest of us and the sports universe, in particular, we have Super Bowl LII to look forward to! (52 for the non-Romans). Now without getting into statistical detail on the game, players, how the Eagles suffered through the road to the Super Bowl with countless injuries while still achieving clutch wins, the Patriots’ cheating controversy or Tom Brady…
No, I will be having none of that and I think most of the European readers just blew a sigh of thankful relief. The title, of course, is about the greatest Half-Time shows throughout history and also about what to expect with the current one to be performed by every 2000’s high school girl’s crush and the ever so brilliant Justin Timberlake. Since there has been more than a few Half-time shows ranging from Tom Petty to Beyoncé, the way I will be rating them is on how much impact it had in the United States whether it be during a time of turmoil or simply to commemorate recent achievements, the visual spectacle of the event and of course the quality of the performance itself. Bear in mind that it has been a most difficult task to work out which performance would take the number one spot as each act have their own merit. Without further a ‘do here are the top 5 Super Bowl Half-Time Shows of all time.
Bruce Springsteen (2009)
Is there anyone alive out there?!
How could I not put The Boss on the list? Bruce Springsteen and the E-street band are probably the embodiment of working-class America and they certainly gave a show worthy of everyone in the United States regardless of your class back in 2009.
It all started with Bruce pointing at the camera while commanding the people back home to “Step away from the guacamole dip, put the chicken fingers down and turn your television ALL THE WAY UP!” as he kicked off the first song ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze-out’ following up with the fan-favorite ‘Born to run’ with a medley of ‘working on a dream’ and to wrap it up he finished with ‘Glory Days’ from one of his most successful albums ‘Born in the USA’.
In classic Springsteen fashion, his show did not contain many light shows, over-the-top mechanical figures that can shoot fire out of their mouths or even a ton of pop-stars on stage, no it was a miniature Springsteen concert. The show simply had two things that made it one of the best in Super Bowl history: 1. Passion and 2. Unapologetic Rock N’ Roll. The show also had a whole lot of Bruce Springsteen and his classic sense of humor that sure did generate some laughs in the stadium as it did at home.
To this day it is hard to find anyone who can match his everyman bravado or his heart for showmanship which is why I rank Bruce at number 5.
Baby it’s you! You’re the one I love!
No matter if you are part of the BeyHive (Actual name of the fan-base, I would never stoop so low to use such a horrible pun) or not. You know her name and you probably know at least one of her chart topping hits from ‘Single Ladies’, ‘Halo’ and ‘Formation’. Now just to be clear, I am not on the Queen-Bey train like most people, but I will admit she is one hell of a performer with fierce (get it) attitude to add and back in 2013 at her Super Bowl Half-Time performance. I realized why she receives such high acclaim and is frequently compared to the top pop-stars of all time.
Her performance started up with her singing a medley of ‘Love on top’ while her silhouette casts upon ascending fog as the color of the lighting switches to purple and then finally the lights turn on. As Beyoncé struts ahead to the sound of ‘Crazy in love’… The crowd goes wild. After the wonderfully upbeat ‘End of time’ performance that shook up the entire stadium, she then went in front of a wide LED screen where she continued to show off her amazing dance and choreographic ability while the visuals on the screen blew our everyone’s minds away.
Getting to the pinnacle moment of the show where she reveals that Destiny’s Child (her former group) is joining her onstage. After the performance of ‘Single Ladies’ by the entire group, Beyoncé then interludes to ‘Halo’, her final song of the evening that pulled our heartstrings… I mean let’s be honest that song is a guilty pleasure (even to me) and Beyoncé had to nab a spot on this list for the performance that she displayed throughout the Super Bowl Half-Time performance. She definitely runs the world when it comes to stage presence!
Put some soul in the world!
Before anything, U2 is my favorite band but that isn’t the reason why they are on this list. (or why they aren’t number 1)
The 36th Super Bowl took place in New Orleans and was the first Super Bowl after the events that took place on 9/11. The United States was in a state of turmoil, so much so that no one wanted to be at major events where possible attacks may happen. It was because of this the Irish rock band U2 decided to throw a touching tribute during the Half Time show to all the victims of 9/11 and their surviving family members. U2’s Super Bowl Half Time started out with their 2001 hit ‘Beautiful Day’ from their album ‘All that you can’t leave behind’.
After the clatter of the applause slowly began to die down, a synthesizer note rang out indicating the beginning of the song ‘MLK’ (A song Bono wrote for Dr. Martin Luther King), as Bono starts off the first verse, a giant screen drops down projecting the names of all the victims of 9/11 and the song interludes in to their fan-favorite tune ‘Where the streets have no name’.
At the end of the set Bono reveals an American Flag sown within his inner jacket and the crowd loses it completely, this was without a doubt one of the most tear-jerking Half-Time shows in history.
We commend you U2!
(Also the Patriots won, big Irony there!)
Michael Jackson (1993)
Heal the world
How can we forget The King of Pop himself? (And the fact that OJ Simpson was there too on the field)
Just to start off, I would like to say that Michael Jackson basically redefined what a Super Bowl Half-Time show was. He was one of the first pop-stars to have been able to perform at the Super Bowl Half-Time show and of course, it is MJ. I mean, have you seen his concerts? They are the epitome of what ‘extravaganza’ is supposed to mean, but enough praise, let’s get to it.
Michael basically launched on the stage and stood there for about a 2 minutes posing and not flinching a muscle before he proceeded to jump into his hit songs and an eclectic display of his unmatched dance moves.
After ‘Black or White’ MJ then went on to a medley of ‘We are the world’. He then gave out a heartfelt speech about making sure that we take care of our world and make sure that no child should suffer on this earth. The show then closes with his humanitarian anthem ‘Heal the world’ joined onstage by children of different nationalities. The king was truly one of the greats within his craft and is dearly missed by the millions of die-hard MJ fans.
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life!
I know what you are thinking, how can I possibly put Prince at number 1 and not Michael Jackson…
Well for starters, go ahead and watch the show. It was pouring gallons and gallons of rain that day and it did not tamper with Prince’s outstanding showmanship whatsoever. His show consisted mostly of cover songs. You could see that he had no intention of remotely promoting himself and he was pretty much having fun regardless of the heavy rainfall. During the performance, a lot of people were worried about his four live guitars having technical difficulties on stage and the two dancers accompanying him on stage. Against all odds, Prince still managed to rock out ‘All along the watchtower’ and ‘Best of you’ (by the foo fighters) while stunning the stadium with his impeccable guitar solos and passionate high-tenor vocals.
The real magic of this Super Bowl Half-Time show came at the final song of his set. ‘Purple Rain’ was played in the rain and led to an exhilarating crescendo at the end of the night consisting of fireworks and the iconic Solo that accompanied his legendary Anthem.
Heaven must be filled with amazing festivals.
Timberlake at Super Bowl LII
Now that we’ve established that Prince holds the throne. We can focus on the next Super Bowl Half-time show that includes Justin Timberlake. What can we expect? (Except that he’ll be bringing sexy back). Personally I would love to see a return to the ‘Futuresex/lovesounds’ era kind of theme but also including his most recent hits of course. What we are likely to get though I cannot say,but Timberlake has gone in a different direction music wise. You can hear some country roots in his newest song ‘Say Something’ which some have taken rather negatively, but eh haters gonna hate… What I can guarantee though is that we will definitely be entertained this coming Super Bowl Half-Time show. Super Bowl 52 will be held at the US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis and will be showcasing the New England Patriots Versus the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday February 4th.