For those of us whose football prowess is about as sharp as a possum in headlights, worry no more. The Super Bowl Halftime is here to save us from the three-hour bore of crashing helmets and time-outs due to false starts and unnecessary roughness. This year’s 50th anniversary Super Bowl halftime did not disappoint. Full of color and playfulness, the 30-minute production played out like a finely-crafted fairy tale.
Chris Martin, sporting a colorfully accented grey blazer, matador pants, and red, white and blue sneakers opened up the celebratory halftime show softly crooning a slow-tempo remix of the chorus from Coldplay’s smash hit, “Yellow.” While fireworks exploded from the sidelines, he segued into the catchy anthem, “Viva La Vida,” making his way to center stage, which lit up with swirling bursts of technicolor. In addition to his energetic band mates, Martin was joined by members of YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles), playing their stringed instruments under the direction of L.A. Phil’s resident conductor and artistic director, Gustavo Dudamel.
Before transitioning into the next song, Chris knelt down allowing a fan to wipe the sweat off his forehead with a rainbow-designed handkerchief. As he began singing the catchy “Ooohs” from their 2011 single “Paradise,” 200 members of the University of California Marching Band trotted in unison in their bright pink and gold uniforms onto the field, adding some brassy depth to an otherwise light and ethereal mid-tempo tune.
A bit out of breath, but none the weary, the English front man took off his jacket, skipping and spinning into his 2015 hit, “Adventure of a Lifetime.” Revealing a yellow band around his right arm and left wrist, in honor of a teenage boy from So. Cal., Kevin Cordasco, who passed away from a rare cancer in 2014, and whose favorite band was Coldplay and favorite song, “Yellow.” Kevin’s mission was to bring awareness to childhood cancer, and Chris Martin, who had befriended Kevin and his family, helped carry out his mission to 111.9 million viewers and over 71,000 in attendance at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA on Sunday, Feb. 7.
Things quickly turned hot and funky with the conclusion of Coldplay’s set, as the camera panned to a swaying Mark Ronson, burning up the turntables by scratching beats in rhythm with a flashing graphic on the front of the console that spelled out, “Funk!” “Uptown Funk” opened with a bang as Bruno Mars and his black leather-clad Hooligans entertained the audience with their electrifying dance moves, hip-hopping across the stage in a tightly choreographed number. Hints of MC Hammer’s, “U Can’t Touch This,” were peppered throughout the performance, incorporating the classic MC dance moves and chorus chants, from the wildly popular 90’s dance hit.
Beyoncé stole Bruno’s glory, demanding attention as the marching drums and cymbals slammed and crashed around her, revealing Queen Bey. Clad in a foxy fashion statement, reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s black leather costume with gold straps across the chest (worn during the 1993 Super Bowl Halftime performance), she certainly made an entrance. With her dancers in tow, dressed in sexy leather uniforms, which seemed to be paying homage to the Black Panthers of the 1960’s, she strutted and slayed her way across the field and up on stage to her new song, “Formation.” Not to be outdone, Bruno and his boys met her in the middle for a dance-off of epic proportions, sliding and jiving back into Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” Shoulder to shoulder, Queen Bey and Bruno marched down the stage towards the camera in syncopation, as Chris Martin played catch-up from behind. When he finally met them, he squeezed between the two, creating the ultimate music sandwich. The three repeatedly chanted, “Uptown Funk You Up” while the crowd screamed and cheered. On the last note, the camera swung towards the energetic crowd closing in on them waving their hands and jumping up and down.
After a beat or two, there was a quick cut-back to Chris Martin sitting at his piano plucking out the famous notes to Coldplay’s “Clocks,” while videos of past Super Bowl Halftime performances were projected on the stage. As the video continued to roll, he sang snippets of songs sung in years past from various artists who’ve had the honor of gracing the Halftime stage. As the medley of songs drew to an end, Beyoncé, Bruno, Chris, members of YOLA, Gustavo Dudamel, and the dancers all gathered tightly together on stage and harmonized the chorus to Coldplay’s “Up & Up,” repeating, “We’re gonna get it, get it together right now. Gonna get it, get it together somehow. Gonna get it, get it together and flower.”
The visuals were stunning, with thousands of audience members holding up colorful cards that spelled out, “Believe In Love.” The fireworks were rapidly firing, and the bands, dancers, and fans on the field were going bananas. Whether or not you are a fan of the artists that performed at halftime, the sentiment was clearly felt by all. In 50 years, so much has changed in the game of football and in the game of life, and both are certainly worth celebrating. And celebrate we did.