A look back at the Super Bowl Halftime Shows

BMS remembers the good, the bad, and the whatever from the past few years

, Staff

Let’s be honest, has anyone given much thought about the Super Bowl on Sunday? I guess we’re still bitter over a very disappointing Patriots season. However, we’re still jumping on the New Orleans Saints bandwagon for the big game. Of course, as always, we’re also excited to watch the halftime show as we stuff our faces with more food than a Thanksgiving Day dinner. This year, The Who have the honor of rocking out to the nation’s top rated audience. So, for the good or the bad, we thought we’d take a look back at the past decade’s Halftime shows.

2009: Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band took a break from their marathon touring schedule to rock the Halftime with a medley of hits. We wanted The Boss to do what he does best: rock. And with set of “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”, “Born To Run”, “Working on a Dream” and “Glory Days” that should have come easy. But when he instructed the TV crowd to drop the guacamole dip and chicken fingers at the start of the show and someone dressed up as a referee jumped on stage and threw a flag at the end , it was just plain corny. Still, the band sounded great and who could forget his slide into the camera? (Video here).

2008: Ok, we’re not gonna lie, we’d prefer to erase everything about this Super Bowl from our mind. That being said, we did enjoy the performance from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, a true American rock band. The set kicked off with “American Girl” and continued with “I Won’t Back Down” and “Free Fallin'” (Video here) before closing with a rocking version of “Runnin’ Down a Dream” thanks to axeman Mike Campbell (Video here).

2007: This performance by Prince proved to be a very pleasant surprise. From a stage in the shape of his logo at midfield, Prince delivered a memorable performance in the driving rain. Guitar solos were plentiful, a marching band gave an extra flair, and Prince’s interpretations of various tunes was refreshing. The biggest surprise was a cover of Foo Fighters’s “Best Of You”, but delivering “Purple Rain” in a driving rain storm proved to be the most memorable moment of the show (Video here).

2006: Performing on the largest stage ever assembled for a Super Bowl Halftime Show – which combined the U2-heart stage theme from 2002 with their iconic tongue logo – the Rolling Stones performed a solid yet unmemorable performance. Working with a five-second-tape delay, the show’s editors cut lyrics from two songs – “Start Me Up”; and “Rough Justice” – because they were deemed too sexually suggestive for broadcast. Mick Jagger jokingly introduced the one song that wasn’t edited, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, as one that could have been played at Super Bowl I (Video here).

2005: Paul McCartney: What happens when your controversial halftime show stole more headlines than the game itself? You go family friendly! And what better way to that than with Sir Paul McCartney. Nobody can really complain about The Beatles’ great when they’re singing along to classics like “Live and Let Die” or “Hey Jude” (Video here and here).

2004: Does anybody even remember Jessica Simpson introducing the show or the performances by P Diddy, Nelly, and Kid Rock?. Of course not, all we remember is that infamous “wardrobe malfunction” (who ever used that term before?). The show was playing like a random iPod shuffle mix until Justin Timberlake joined Janet Jackson for “Rock Your Body”. As everyone remembers, at the end of the duet Timberlake ripped a piece of Jackson’s costume off, exposing her right breast on live television, and consequently setting off a firecracker of controversy across the world (Video here).

2003: The show kicked off with country music super-star Shania Twain delivering “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” and “Up”. No Doubt followed with their staple hit, “Just A Girl” (Video here) and the show ended in memorable fashion when Gwen Stefani joined Sting for The Police classic “Message In The Bottle” (Video here).

2002: After the misery that 2001 brought, Irish rockers U2 scored in every possible way with their halftime performance. The band brought their famed Elevation tour, which boasted a catwalk around fans to form a heart, to the Superdome. “Beautiful Day” set the tone (Video here) but it was an emotionally charged “Where The Streets Have No Name” with a scrolling tribute to 9/11 victims as their backdrop that sent shivers down the spine of many viewers (Video here). As Bono sang, “I’ll show you a place where there is no sorrow or pain,” it was just what Americans needed to hear.

2001: Produced by MTV, the “The Kings of Rock and Pop” show was just painfully awful. A funny skit by Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, and Chris Rock started the show on a good note, but it headed south from there. Old school Aerosmith fans thought the “Bad Boys of Boston” had sold out in previous years, but this was the icing on the cake. Sharing the stage with ‘N Sync, both bands played two partial songs each before launching into a horrendous rendition of “Walk This Way” with the aid of Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, and Nelly. It was a sickening sight (Video here).

2000: Produced by Disney, the “Tapestry of Nations” show featured Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton, and an 80-person choir with narrator Edward James Olmos. This was the last of the true major productions for a halftime show. Based on the year long Millennium celebration at Walt Disney World’s Epcot, the performance also featured a full symphony orchestra, massive puppets, aerial dancers, and pyrotechnics (Video here).

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