Sunday’s halftime show will go down as one of the more mediocre performances in the annals of Super Bowl history.
The British band Coldplay was the headliner, but it had some much-needed help, starting with the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra and then including Bruno Mars and Beyoncé, who saved the day.
Visually, the show lacked much punch or panache, unlike Katy Perry’s garish extravaganza at last year’s Super Bowl.
It was most spirited, however, when it turned into a video tribute to past halftime performers, including Prince, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and James Brown, which ended up being a reminder of how much better other halftime shows were.
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Coldplay started things off with a mashup and medley of its hits: “Vida La Vida,” “Paradise” and “Adventure of a Lifetime.” All the while, Chris Martin high-fived and glad-handed fans who were imported onto the field to act like they were having the time of their lives.
Martin has a goofball charm, but his performance paled in comparison to his co-stars’ — the cavalry that rode in to save the show. First to arrive was Bruno Mars, who, with a posse of dancers, marched on stage and invigorated the mood with “Uptown Funk,” a blast of R&B/funk that recalls Prince or the Time.
Then, on the field, with flash pots blazing behind them, Beyoncé marched in with her own troupe of dancers and performed “Formation,” the oven-fresh single she released over-the weekend. It was the peak of the performance.
The set ended with everyone on stage. Martin took a seat at a piano and played the intro to “Clocks,” one of Coldplay’s biggest hits, which segued into other mid-tempo, uplifting Coldplay ballads, including “Fix You” and then, after dropping a couple of lines from U2’s “Beautiful Day,” a new song, “Up & Up.”
By then, Coldplay, Beyoncé and Mars were arm-in-arm with the orchestra behind them, singing in unison as the crowd in one part of the stadium held up cards that spelled “Believe in Love.” It was a “We Are the World” performance. Or, since this its the Super Bowl and its halftime show were all about nostalgia, an “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke” moment.
The show’s visuals may have been lacking, and the music may have been mostly forgettable, but its sentiments deserve some gratitude because, we’re the world, or at least part of it…