5 Best Halftime Performances
Yes, we are mostly talking about the Super Bowl halftime shows here, but we may also have a trick play lined up.
As you were most likely relieving yourself or going on a beer run (or relieving yourself while on a beer run) for many of these, we’ve made a list. You’re welcome.
#5 2015: Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott
Watch it here.
We will always remember this performance for Left Shark. But no matter which fish you sided with, there was no denying that pop music, when properly staged and choreographed, can be a spectacle equal to the game itself.
#4 2014: Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers
This set started off with a chorus of kids holding hands before Bruno Mars took over, rocking a drum kit. I’ve never seen a show start off with the front man doing a legit drum solo. But that led perfectly into “Locked Out of Heaven”. Bruno is a show man who would be a star in any decade of pop music, and this stage was the perfect showcase for his talents.
The funk banger “Treasure” followed, along with some pyrotechnics and a state of the art light show. A couple of tunes and several seriously sexy dance moves later Mars made way for RHCP to join him on the stage. This performance would have placed higher if the Chili Peppers hadn’t been apart of it. Bruno and his band’s performance were nearly perfect, and while the Peppers are a force to be reckoned with in their own right, they were completely out of place and out classed on this night.
#3 2007: Prince and the Florida A&M marching band
Watch it here.
FAMU’s marching band is world famous for bringing the thunder whenever they step on the field and bringing the contents of the hotel room whenever they step on the bus. On this rainy night in South Florida the Marching 100 pounded out the rhythms like they were beating a hapless hazing victim. Champions for a night, they were still unable to upstage the artist formerly known as Prince, who’s show stopping guitar solo for “Purple Rain” climaxed the set.
Starting off with a chorus of “We Will Rock You” before launching into “Lets Go Crazy”, Prince owned the night. His interplay with the marching band showed a mastery seldom seen in live music. Later he even took time to cover a Foo Fighter’s song, which itself was probably a cover of a Nirvana song.
But it was this set’s finale as the rain fell from the sky that made it one for the ages, what we wouldn’t give to see him dancing in the purple rain just one more time.
#2 2002: U2
Watch it here.
So many 2’s.
This performance saw the lads firing on all cylinders. Bono walking thru the crowd, enticing them into full throat choruses. Larry, Adam and The Edge locking down the top of the heart shaped stage.
Keep in mind this was the first post 911 Super Bowl and U2, ever the world citizens, did their part to pay respects to the victims. Bono was fighting an injury to his vocal chords that almost ended his career, but he fought the good fight that night, and if you don’t still get goose bumps to this day when you see him open his jacket at that very end, revealing an American flag, then you are not a patriot.
#1 2006: U2 and Green Day Superdome Reopening
Rarely does a half time or pregame show actually mean anything. And almost never has it meant more than the game itself. But after suffering the wrath of Hurricane Katrina the city of New Orleans needed something to lift their spirits. The hometown Saints, for better or worse, had long held the pulse of the city. So when the Superdome finally reopened on September 25, 2006 no longer did the displaced team have to play in San Antonino. They were finally home again and the hometown fans on hand were not only treated to Green Day and U2 playing simultaneously on the same stage right before kickoff (versus the hated Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football), but the fans also got to witness local musical legends Trombone Shorty and the New Birth Brass Band on the field, as well.
Billie Joe of Green Day started off with the calendar appropriate “When September Ends” before he sang the first verse of the locale appropriate “House of the Rising Sun” and that’s when shit got real! Bono then hit the stage to start singing an old punk rock version of “The Saints Coming Marching” by Scottish band The Skids and in that moment the team was back! The city was back. NOLA WAS BACK!
The set ended with “Beautiful Day” and by the time the last note rang out you had a feeling that New Orleans was going to be ok.
The Saints won that night 23-3, by the way, so if you don’t like this pregame performance being #1 on a list of halftime shows, you can go LMBH.