It's been a couple of days since the valiant Green Bay Packers defeated the evil women-hatin' Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. We've had countless diagrams and breakdowns of the key plays on the sports' channels and websites, but the pop culture and news sites are stuck on Christina Aguilera's inability to sing the National Anthem correctly, and the annual debate about which commercials scored more than Mark Sanchez at a high school prom.
Also in the post-game debate has been the halftime show, this year featuring everybody's favorite dancing legume, the Black Eyed Peas. They used a lot of lights and dancers and Usher and the microphones/lip syncing was off and their stage didn't light up the whole way, but really, what do we really recall about their performance?
Fergie yelled at the viewing audience, and really didn't sing very well.
I've always thought she was attractive, but after this show, I'm beginning to think it might just be her hair extentions that I like. She has a nice figure, but she's got some strong facial features, and when she yells...it's not terribly sexy. It's like I'm being yelled at by a hippie Marine.
So, it seems that a lot of folks felt the halftime show felt kind of flat, or, just out-right sucked. Well, I will say this - that's what happens when you use a band that makes their magic in a studio on a computer. It'd be like complaining about T.Pain's real signing voice - well, DUH - his speciality is AutoTune, not "singing live on worldwide TV in front of 100,000 people."
Apparently, it's not Xtina's speciality, either.
Think back over the past 20 years, when the Super Bowl became a cultural juggernault. What shows do you clearly remember as being incredible?
2) Prince simulating masturbation using a shadow on stage and playing his guitar better than anybody else has on such a stage.
1) U2. Bono on a heart-shaped stage. Edge just rocking. Adam Clayton laying down a great bass riff. Post 9/11. The names of the victims scrolling behind the band.
I just gave myself a chill writing that. Remembering it. Finding it online and only making it halfway through because the emotions came back. You ever wonder why old veterans cry during parades? I don't question it anymore. They were young once, too.
Everything else though has ranged from "pretty good" - Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones - to "ok" - The Who did kinda rock - to "not bad" - Tom Petty - to "not good" - Michael Jackson popping up all over the Rose Bowl. Then dancing with kids? WHAT?!?!? - to "bad bad bad" - Diana Ross in a helicopter. Anything with Kid Rock. The Phil Collins/Christina Aguilera bizarre mix and the Nelly/Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake thing. We all remember Janet's deflated passenger-side airbag, but nobody remembers that whole entertainment portion was crap.
I still maintain the worst even was 1992. Gloria Estefan and Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill. Two ice skaters and a woman who never rocked once the Miami Sound Machine got busted in a cocaine smuggling ring.
Go watch the video. Paul Tagliabue should have been fired for this.
Basically, the NFL is 2 for 20 or so. That's "minor league shortstop" at best.
What the NFL has done - besides given a last paycheck to clearly-past-their-prime acts - has been the glorification of the mediocre and the popular, while not exactly reflecting the strengths of the sport, the location of the venue, or the popularity of certain genres at a time. The halftime show is about 5 years behind at best, and 25 at worst.
My advice on fixing the Super Bowl Halftime Show would be to try to reflect the actual time and location of the event. Now, the U2 show in New Orleans in 2002 was amazing, but, if there was ever a show that demanded some Bo Diddly or some other old blues/rockabilly guys... something to reflect New Orleans. Granted, the Big Easy is one of the more preferred locations for the event, and will host it again in 2013, so they'll get another crack at making the show more relevent, but what about a place like... Dallas? Dallas is not exactly snonymous with "studio-based, over-produced mindless dance music" like the Black Eyed Peas. I'd have gone with a country-based show, especially since it's been a few years since a legit country artist was featured. Something featuring Dallas' history in the West, the stockyards in Ft. Worth, maybe?
Since next year's event is scheduled for Indianapolis, I'm going to give the NFL free advice right now. All Indy has going for it is auto racing and cheap pharmaceuticals. So, tie-in an auto racing theme with the biggest, best band from the general area - Dayton Ohio's The Black Keys. They have the chops, playing in front of a mostly hometown crowd, they're hip and on the rise.
My guess is that John Cougar Mellancamp will be performing. Probably that gawd-awful "this is MY COUNTRY!!!" song, too.
After that, it'll be back in the aforementioned New Orleans, and then it goes to the new Meadowlands... and Mark Sanchez's girlfriend STILL won't be allowed to drink legally. But a New York/New Jersey Super Bowl - you know the NFL won't be able to pass up potential-team owner Jon Bon Jovi - could feature some incredible acts with the songs and the power to play on America's biggest stage. Jay-Z. Run DMC. Wu-Tang. Those are all viable options showcasing New York's rich hip-hop heritage. In fact, tell me you couldn't imagine "Empire State of Mind" blaring through there right now?
They could go towards New York's rock history - Lou Reed, Blondie or what's left of The Ramones would be possible acts, if the NFL had their way. But what about up-and-coming bands that could rock the audience? Interpol. MGMT. The Bravery. The National. Or... how about one act who could combine both hip hop and hip rock?
Never heard of them? Check out this or this. The language is NSFW, but the riffs are NSF anybody.
OK, so maybe they're a little too on the edge. But there's still somebody that could save us from a Katy Perry/Justin Bieber halftime show.
They have the the requisite spectacle, and can flat-out jam. The kids love them, and their parents think they remind them of the glam rock-era Bowie mixed with Queen with a heaping teaspoon of Motley Crue. Ask anybody who saw them tour with U2 in 2010 - Muse can dominate a stadium. In fact, make the New York Super Bowl the Old York Super Bowl - get them and the Infadels to jam and see if Kasabian wants to sit in. A tribute to England, a potential expansion site, and something that would blow the doors off the joint.
And, if Bill Simmons' idea of a Las Vegas domed stadium ever comes to fruition, bring in some dancing Elvis impersonators, Michael Buble' and The Killers. DONE. Do NOT over think this.
Let the Super Bowl rock. Instead of having countless pundits and writers yawn about yet-another boring halftime show, or something that's rather dull, give them something you've never done before, NFL - don't follow, but LEAD! Show that you have an idea of what is popular, and do it without recruiting MTV or Facebook or The Wiggles or whatnot to "find out what the kids are listening to these days."
Now, I'm sure they're in the planning stages of these up-coming shows, and thinking "Hey, let's do a tribute to disco!" or "There's a band my trophy wife likes... Marooned Live or Marude Fide or something like that." NO! Stop. Step away from the decision-making process. In fact, go jump off a building. Preferably a tall one with little-to-no awnings to break your fall.
Or, barring all that...bring back Brian Boitano. He seemed like a nice guy.