The pinnacle of live performances has been the Super Bowl halftime show. No single event in the world has as many eyes on your act as when the first half ends of the season’s last football game. There have been some stinkers over the years. But fortunately, the best Super Bowl halftime performances make those easy to forget.
The most recent performance by Dr. Dre and the rest of his crew caused many 90s kids to feel nostalgic and old simultaneously. This was a monumental halftime performance because it was the first to feature only hip-hop artists. The boys (Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar) and girl (Mary J. Blige) held nothing back, playing the hits that rattled trunks decades ago.
There are few things in life Generation X loves more than Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. So, when they performed at the halftime show in 2009, you know how your parents felt if Dr. Dre meant something to you. “The Boss” dazzled on the stage, even if he got a little too intimate with the camera during the performance.
There are musicians, and then there are performers. The truly special individuals are the ones that can do both. Lady Gaga proved on the national stage that she is one of the best entertainers today with one of the most visually pleasing performances in Super Bowl history. Aside from belting the best hits from The Fame Monster and Born This Way with a beautiful array of pyrotechnics behind her, Gaga made the best catch of the night (okay, maybe it was Julian Edelman’s circus grab)when she caught a pass and stage dived to parts unknown.
Beyoncé made such an impression on the Super Bowl halftime show that she had to return to save Coldplay from drowning in a future performance. Queen Bey brought the energy to electrify the crowd at the Superdome in New Orleans. It was so powerful that a short blackout delayed the second half of the Ravens’ eventual victory. The highlight of the performance is when Beyoncé welcomed back her bandmates from Destiny’s Child for one last “Bootylicious” performance.
Although Super Bowl acts don’t receive any compensation for their performance, they should have vetoed that notion and given Prince a cut of the ticket sales based on his unforgettable performance in Miami. Peyton Manning may have won his first ring that night, but the only thing anyone wanted to talk about was Prince. Aided by a rainstorm that added to the theatrics of “Purple Rain,” Prince cemented himself as the top dog of Super Bowl halftime performances.
The best Super Bowl halftime performances will always bring a smile to your face, and are worth replaying even if you’ve watched them 100 times. We’ll see what Rihanna has to offer this year, but she will likely blow the roof off of State Farm Stadium in Arizona.