In case there were any doubts as to Bruno Mars’ superstar potential, those doubts were effectively put to rest as the star-on-the-rise put on one of the most flawless Super Bowl halftime shows in recent memory.
For Denver Broncos fans, the brief but power-packed halftime show of Super Bowl XLVIII was the single bright spot in an otherwise long and painful night. For Seattle Seahawks fans, it was simply more to celebrate. Either way, Mars himself had a lot to prove going into this show, just as the teams did—and he brought his unique blend of vintage soul, 80’s R&B and modern pop to the stage as though he were born for the moment.
If you’re an upstart doing a halftime show being watched by millions upon millions, how do you distinguish yourself from such icons as U2, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen without the benefit of a wardrobe malfunction? Simple: you start with a drum solo. After the obligatory stadium-wide thunder-and-light-show opening, the spotlight shone on Mars center-arena, bedecked in a glitzy Motown suit-and-tie, soloing on a drum kit as his movable platform migrated toward the main stage. Upon arrival, he seamlessly launched into “Locked Out of Heaven,” followed by a rapid-fire barrage of hits accompanied by his similarly Motown-suit bedecked band.
Midway through “Runaway Baby,” another anomaly occurred: classic pop/soul somehow transitioned into modern rock/rap as the Red Hot Chili Peppers burst onto the stage to perform their hit “Give It Away,” complete with shirtless frontman Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea filling the stage with a highly committed performance. It was a stunning example of two mismatched artists somehow blending their styles as though they belonged together. When RHCP had finished, arena screens projected sentimental messages of soldiers overseas to their families as Mars returned to the center to perform a moving, fireworks-accompanied rendition of “Just the Way You Are.”
The whole thing took less than 13 minutes, but those minutes will no doubt be talked about for years. No technical difficulties. No old people trying to act young. No crotch-grabbing. No nip slips. Bruno Mars took his place in the pantheon of super bowl halftime alumni simply by providing 12 minutes of outstanding entertainment, proving himself in the process to be ever the consummate performer.
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