Super Bowl Halftime Recap: Oil Meets Water
In general, I don't like talking about things so topical they literally expire in one day. I don't. But since I've got some time to kill before tickets go on sale, I'm going to give it a shot.
If you know me, even a little bit, you know that I'm a huge fan of Bruno Mars, going back to the days of Nothin' on You. Let's also say that, since then, I've basically attained groupie status. His voice has so bewitched me, I've yet to break the spell.
Basically, I'm in love with him, and nothing will ever change that.
When I heard he was playing the Super Bowl Halftime Show, I was, of course, ecstatic. I woke up every morning, in my Bruno Mars t-shirt, to my Bruno Mars alarm, and ticked off the days on my Bruno Mars calendar.
And then, like a record scratching violently in a crowded club, I heard the Red Hot Chili Peppers were joining him.
I felt betrayed. I even considered not watching.
Now, don't get me wrong. I have a healthy respect for the Chili Peppers. They were part of the soundtrack of my youth. I just don't like them. Never did. And I couldn't conceptualize a successful pairing of the two artists. Instead of peanut butter and jelly, Bruno Mars and The Red Hot Chili papers seemed more like oil and water. No amount of shaking could ever make it work.
I've seen mashups more successful in the past, namely Madonna and Britney, Madonna and Justin, and Madonna and Miley Cyrus. I am convinced, however, that she has her people set up these spectacles so she can suck the life force out of her partner during those awkward onstage kisses. That's how she stays alive, you see.
Most of Mars' performance was solo, but I cringed internally for that awkward moment the Chili Peppers would blast onstage. Funny thing was, when they did take the stage, it wasn't as much a blast as it was a lumber.
After the first few notes of Give it Away, I was covering my eyes. Anthony Kiedis has aged. Yet, through what could have been a graceful transition, he ultimately chose to present himself in the same getup he sported in 1995. That was issue number one. Issue number two was the obvious awkwardness between he and Mars, as Mars stood in the background, trying to find a way to bang his head without rustling his Pompadour.
There was an undeniable contrast between the cool collectedness of Mars and his Hooligans and the not-quite-rough, but definite tumble, of the Chili Peppers. Did they get dressed under the bridge? I think they may have. I am compelled to give credit where it is due, though, so I will say that their sound was solid. They still had it. Though I'm slightly disappointed that, besides a half-hearted haircut, Kiedis' look has not evolved.
And let's talk facial hair. Whomsoever is responsible for bringing back that early-80's porn 'stache should be shot. Repeatedly. Maybe with a paintball gun. I'm sorry, but it needed to be said. So, on top of the obvious awkwardness between Mars and Kiedis, Kiedis' choice of, well, shorts, and the porn 'stache, things had gone very wrong.
Flea (whom, I fancy, continues to go by the name 'Flea') rocked his guitar, as there's really no expiration on a guitarist, shirtless, toothless, or otherwise.
And after a few more blinks and some jumping, that portion of the show was over, quickly eclipsed by a montage of military folk sending well-wishes to their families.
It was a blip. A moment in time. And now it's over. Thankfully.
But why did it happen? Were they trying to capture the pop and rock crowds? Did they feel Mars couldn't do it alone? Because, let me tell you, that boy can hold his own, all day long and into tomorrow. Was it a curiosity? Did they want us to wonder whether Kiedis could still command a crowd wearing only shorts and shitkickers?
Here's my feeling: If you've already been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, you've paid your dues. Aside from some really high-paying engagements and a few 'unplugged' performances, you're good. We wouldn't even care if you retired to your house in The Hills. You've been acknowledged. You've no more need to drag yourself out onto an Astroturf proving ground.
That said, Bruno Mars is clearly a hero of mine. He's brought what music's been lacking since the world lost Michael Jackson, and, I imagine, after last night, he may just have earned himself a few new fans. By the end of the performance, I had completely forgotten the Chili Peppers had even performed. I reckon you did, too.
And despite all the hair and shorts and shorn chests, this year's was the best halftime show in recent (or distant) history. Without question.
So, friends, old fans and new, I've only one thing left to say: Back off. Bruno's mine.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with Ticketmaster.
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