Super Bowl Halftime Show: No Half Measures

/ Travel

What are the odds on this year’s Super Bowl halftime show being an all time classic? We’re not sure. So, while we wait, here are three acts we loved, and three we’d love to see in the future…

There was a time when the Super Bowl halftime show saw marching bands and Disney creatures entertaining the crowds. These days the Super Bowl’s supersized half-time show is the most-watched slice of pop culture in the world, with audiences of around 118 million (that’s almost the population of Mexico!)

It’s a mini festival of music, dance, art and chutzpah that we at RED approve of very much. This year it’ll be Justin Timberlake. Let’s just hope there’s no ‘wardrobe malfunction’ this time! So, who would make our halftime first team?

Three we loved:

Paul McCartney

What do you do when you’ve a back catalogue like this man’s? Romp through four blistering anthems, from Baby You Can Drive My Car to Hey Jude via Get Back and Wings’ pyrotechnic classic, Live and Let Die. Cue fireworks, flames and full-on frenzy. For many millennials, 2005 was simply, as one YouTube commenter stated: the night they became a Beatles fan.

Tom Petty

We’re still smarting from the loss of Tom Petty. Springsteen’s way more of a showman, and his show the following year was incendiary. But Petty brings the tunes. And his blue collar collection, from American Girl to Free Fallin’, showcased a deft touch with tunes that are emotional and anthemic at the same time. Genius.


Yes, there’s been Diana Ross, and Katy P and a host of halftime shows where women have owned the stadium. But Queen Bey gets the top spot. Her 2016 Formation performance was stratospheric. Did the choreography reference the Black Panther movement? Who knows. As Bey said: “You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation.” Need we say more!.

Honorable mentions:

Prince, 2007: When Prince does Queen, hysteria ensues. A surprisingly rocky set from Minneapolis’ master of funk.

Aerosmith, Britney Spears, N’Sync, Nelly & Mary J. Blige, 2001: Really, need we say more?


And three we’d like to see:

Kanye West

A post shared by Kanye West (@saintpablotour) on

He’s reportedly turned it down but we’d still love to see Kanye West tear the place up. The man’s got more front than a quarterback in full padding. His Glastonbury set, with West slunk beneath an illuminated ceiling of spotlights, looked like he was pushing up the heavens, Atlas-like. So yeah, Kanye can certainly rise to any occasion.

St Vincent

A post shared by St. Vincent (@st_vincent) on

St Vincent’s blend of art house aesthetic and Hendricks riffs is 100% electrifying, and would, in a single half-hour set, show the testosterone-driven world of the NFL, that this woman has more explosive power than any defensive line. And she’s a safer pair of hands than the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski – and that’s saying something, right? 


A post shared by Lorde (@lordemusic) on

Audacious, astonishing and just plain awesome… Ella Yelich-O’Connor was just 16 when Royals hit the top spot around the world. If the Super Bowl is about shaking off the occasional brickbats it gets for playing safe it needs a shot of adrenalin all the way from down under. Lorde is the real deal.

Honorable mentions:

Arcade fire: Canadian rebel rousers are sure to lift any stadium roof with their super sized songs.

Explosions in the sky: Post rock from the deep south. Truly, their time is now. Your Hand in Mine – the Super Bowl anthem in waiting.

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