Greatness can Coexist
Three Greatest Super Bowl Halftime Shows — Updated Last Night
Before we move on, my statement on the commercials:
After the dust settles, commercials get a D+ from me. Doritos and Avocados from Mexico, and the Irish Spring turtleneck guy kept this grade out of the shitter, and Budweiser gave me the annual feels with their Clydesdale commercial, but on the whole, boooooo. There were too many cheeky throwback cultural references. Either make me laugh, or wow me with your product (new electric SUV from BMW is cool, but not Super Bowl commercial cool).
Speaking of things that didn’t suck, the halftime show was phenomenal. It doesn’t sit alone in the pantheon of performances at a Super Bowl, but it completed the triumvirate of Three Greatest Super Bowl Halftime Performances…so far:
Show One: Michael squashes beef with In Living Color
The year prior to the King of Pop’s historic show at Super Bowl XXXVII, Fox, who was not televising the game, aired a special episode of “In Living Color” timed with the halftime show. Execs took notice at the lost eyeballs and brought in the ultimate ringer of the day, Michael Jackson, the following Super Bowl. The halftime show had dipped its toe in the pop culture pool with New Kids on the Block and Gloria Estefan in recent years, but this many viewers needed royal pop.
Michael’s entrance into the Rose Bowl was capped by almost 90-seconds of him standing motionless on stage to a roaring ovation before he finally did his thing. Since then, minus a detour to showcase Indian Jones and Tony Bennett in 1995, the show continued to push the bar.
Show Two: Prince in the Rain
If you haven’t watched it, go back, watch, and then you can have an opinion. A 5’2’’ purple-loving guitarist from Minnesota took over 100,000,000 people captive for about 10 minutes back in 2007. On a slippery stage shaped like his own logo, Prince did Prince things. He delivered a handful of songs (including a Foo Fighters cover), braved a torrential rainstorm, and left the halftime world shook. To date, that’s the gold standard for any single performance, and I look forward to the performance that knocks this thing of its mantle.
Legend has it, when the production team called Prince before the show to inform him of the weather situation, Prince simply replied, “can you make it rain harder?” RIP
Show Three: A Different Best Halftime
Everyone’s so quick to crown new GOATs. The world doesn’t spin any faster than before, but because of our 24/7 rat race for attention and clicks, people go straight for hyperbole, “Greatest of All Time” “Best Day Ever” “Worst thing I’ve ever seen” etc. “All-time” is a pretty long time. I’m firm in my statement about Prince delivering the single greatest halftime performance of all time. However, we may just have seen a different best halftime show last night; greatest ensemble performance?
For starters, the performers last night represented a lot of football fans who had to endure one-too-many baby boomer throwback concerts to appease some suits. Snoop and Dre weren’t alone up there, but they had my focus the entire time.
The game was in Los Angeles, and Snoop and Dre are southern California guys; Compton, Long Beach, etc. They came to popularity at a time that suggested their art wasn’t art or didn’t belong. They watched countless other musical genres and performers get their shot. Hell, the Super Bowl even brought back Gloria Estefan and sent Maroon 5 out there.
So 30 years after their first single dropped, to see Snoop and Dre together like a couple of kids with mics honestly brought a tear to my eye.
We’re on Twitter and in the office today battling out for which was better, Prince or last night. Who cares? They were both dope as shit and for different reasons.
Not everything is binary. Greatness can coexist. You know how I know? It was all over the stage last night.