The Super Bowl Half Time show – what can I say that hasn’t already been said about it? Not much but I’ll give you a recap. It is the most popular non-sport performance at a sporting event in the world, millions of dollars are invested in to the stage show (over $10 million for each performance in recent years) and it could be considered the pinnacle of the performing artists career. The music isn’t always to my taste – unfortunately until the day the likes of Mastodon and Queens of the Stone Age are considered household names I don’t think it ever will be – but I always enjoy it a lot more than I expect. This year, hot off the back of his 4th solo album, Justin Timberlake will take the stage, making his second appearance after 2004’s controversial ‘Nipplegate’ show with Janet Jackson which was the first one I witnessed. Here are my top 5 performances since then.
5. Bruno Mars (2014)
When the minuscule funk master was announced as the Half Time performer for 2014 I was underwhelmed. He hadn’t been around long and while he had some hits I wasn’t sure how they would convert to the biggest stage of them all. But I’ll gladly admit I was proven wrong. Smashing out hits including Uptown Funk and Just the Way You Are (which involved American soldiers dedicating the song to family members – about as American as it gets) he was also joined by the Red Hot Chili Peppers who performed their hit Give It Away. Bright lights, funktastic dancing and flag waving patriotism – a solid Super Bowl show.
4. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band (2009)
After the controversy surrounding the infamous show in 2004 the NFL started to play it safe and booked older artists who didn’t need a scandal to make a headline. It worked well with Paul McCartney who couldn’t have been safer if he performed in a straight jacket in 2005, but the Rolling Stones swore during their performance in 2006 which meant all performances have been shown on a tape delay since. The older performers continued until 2010, but in 2009 The Boss provided one of the best greatest hits shows the Super Bowl has seen. He brought out the big guns – Tenth Avenue Freezeout, Born to Run and a gridiron-inspired version of Glory Days and had a lot of fun while on stage (“I want you to step away from the guacamole dip! I want you to put those chicken wings down and turn the television all the way up!”) which made for a great show.
3. Beyoncé (2013)
As feminism has risen over the last decade Beyoncé has been at the forefront of the charge, and this all female show in 2013 was a spectacle to behold. This performance was all about her, with the stage designed to look like 2 silhouettes of herself looking at each other and it was accompanied by a giant burning image of Queen Bey herself as the backdrop. Rousing renditions of Crazy in Love, Baby Boy and Halo would have been enough on their own, but she brought out the rest of Destiny’s Child for Single Ladies which brought the house down.
2. Katy Perry (2015)
Now this was everything a Super Bowl Half Time show should be. An insane amount of fireworks and costume changes, a huge walking lion puppet and who can forget the real star of the show – Left Shark! The uncoordinated dancing shark went on to a career of meme fame and will live long in the memory of anyone who saw this show. The rest of the performance wasn’t half bad either, with songs like Roar and Firework going down a treat and she was joined on stage by Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott, who came out with a new, slimmer look and performed 3 of her own songs. And let’s be honest – Katy Perry is quite pleasing on the eye which doesn’t hurt her ranking either.
1. Prince (2007)
This was one of the best musicians of all time performing on one of the biggest stages and it did not disappoint. While it didn’t have the extravagance of some of the previously mentioned acts the confidence Prince oozed more than made up for it. From the middle of a stage shaped like his symbol he performed his own hits Let’s Go Crazy and Baby I’m a Star (the latter of which was accompanied by the Florida A&M University Marching Band) before perfectly covering Proud Mary, All Along the Watchtower and Best of You. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better he closes with Purple Rain in the rain and it was just perfect. This show introduced Prince to a new generation of fans, it was the best Half Time show of the last 14 years without doubt and probably the best of all time.
What are your thoughts on the list? Are there any that have been missed or ranked incorrectly? Make sure you let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page