1993 was the year when the NFL invited high profile rock and pop superstar artists to perform during television’s biggest event of the year, the Super Bowl halftime show. Prior to that, it mostly featured marching bands, Up With People, and older performers. Now it has gotten bigger and better every year. Some halftime shows are better than others. It seems in the 2000s decade alone it’s been filled with outstanding classic rock artists. Find out what classic rockers have been chosen as the top 5 Super Bowl halftime shows of all time.
Bruce Springsteen (2009)
“I want you to step back from the guacamole dip, put those chicken fingers down” is how The Boss addressed TV viewers and the crowd at Ray Jay (Raymond James Stadium) in Tampa for his opener. He began with “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” that rocked the house, not to mention a number of living rooms across the land.
Incidentally, the famous sliding scene with Springsteen’s certain part of his anatomy hitting the camera comes at the 3:53 mark. Thankfully he didn’t fall off the stage. Bruce quickly recovers and followed it with “Born to Run,” “Working on a Dream,” and closes the nearly 14-minute show with “Glory Days.” Now that it’s been five years since his halftime show, Bruce Springsteen truly put on one heck of a concert that night. Most of these post halftime shows are now pyrotechnics, elaborate sets and costumes, and minimal music.
The Rolling Stones (2006)
After a montage of early Stones film clips and photos, Mick Jagger immediately strutted his stuff on stage with “Start Me Up.” Shortly afterwards, the Rolling Stones tongue logo cover unraveled a mosh pit of fans based inside the stage area. Jagger then talks to the crowd for a bit before introducing a new song (at the time) titled “Rough Justice.” On Part 2 of the video features Jagger telling the crowd the next song could have been performed at the first Super Bowl in 1967. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was released in 1965. Their extended version closed out the show.
In the pouring rain the Artist Formerly Known as featured its opening with Queen’s “We Will Rock You” as the perfect sports anthem. Prince segues into “Purple Rain’s” “Let’s Go Crazy” and “Baby I’m a Star” complete with a marching band. He pays tribute to classic rockers Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” and Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.” Continuing on with the Foo Fighter’s “Best of You” and a finale of “Purple Rain” during this entirely rain-soaked halftime show.
This halftime show was dedicated to 9/11 victims since it happened only months earlier. The Irish band led a patriotic and riveting show nevertheless. It started off with various film clips introducing the band Appropriately it opened with “Beautiful Day,” an excellent song to get the crowd cheering since Bono was walking amongst the attendees.
For “MLK” a banner is raised as a backdrop with names of the victims shining on the band members. The banner continues rising looking like one of the Twin Towers. Bono then closes out with “Where the Streets Has No Name.” The memorial banner then comes down midway. Bono holds out his jacket with its lining featuring an American flag for the end. The crowd then goes wild.
Paul McCartney (2005)
One year after the Janet Jackson debacle, Paul McCartney helped restore the NFL back to having family-friendly halftime shows once again. Here’s another polished concert performer giving viewers and the crowd in Jacksonville, Florida a brilliant performance of Beatles and solo works. Paul starts off on his bass with “Drive My Car” and “Get Back.” Later he takes to the piano for the high-powered “To Live and Let Die” and closes out with “Hey Jude.”