Front Page Reviews & AIR
The Five Most Memorable Super Bowl Halftime Shows
1. U2, February 3, 2002 (Patriots vs. Rams)
This was one of the few times (perhaps the only time?) that the Super Bowl halftime show felt as meaningful as it did spectacular. U2 was arguably the only band in the world capable of pulling off a successful 9/11 tribute that didn’t come off as trite. Also, bonus points for not lip-synching and actually turning in an inspired live performance.
2. Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake, February 1, 2004 (Patriots vs. Panthers)
This one was memorable for a completely different reason (and introduced the term “wardrobe malfunction” into the English language).
3. Michael Jackson, January 31, 1993 (Cowboys vs. Bills)
All right, I’ll admit it. I don’t even remember the 1993 halftime show. But this was the one that made the Super Bowl Halftime Show what it is today. Prior to that you had completely random line-ups like 1989’s “New Kids on the Block, Disney characters, Warren Moon, 2,000 local children, audience card stunt” (my personal nomination for most random Super Bowl performance). I love the fact that after appearing in the middle of the stage, he stands completely still for over a minute. Unfortunately, the fact that Jackson allowed only underage kids near the stage doesn’t feel any less creepy 20 years later…
4. Up With People, January 24, 1982 (49ers vs. Bengals)
Were you aware that the travelling student performance troupe “Up With People” performed at the Super Bowl halftime show six times? Neither was I. I don’t remember any of them, but that many performances has to count for something, right? Also, you won’t regret watching this clip. I think it broke the unintentional comedy scale.
5. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, February 1, 2009 (Steelers vs. Cardinals)
This one was memorable to me for how much I hated it. I think this performance defined the phrase “caricature of himself.”