Super Bowl: Remember the game or the spectacle?


Tom Schultz, Morning Host-97.1 The Wave

Some people watch the Super Bowl for the football action. That makes sense. Other people who are less sports enthused, say they watch America’s spectacle because of the commercials. That’s understandable. And then there a segment of the populace that actual tunes in to see the historic halftime show.

We have come a long way from the halftime shows from those early Super Bowls. During most of the Super Bowl’s first decade, the halftime show featured a college marching band. The show’s during the 70’s featured a more varied show, often featuring drill teams and other performance ensembles. The group Up with People even produced and starred in four of the performances. Then later, in an effort to counter other networks’ efforts to counter program the game, saw the introduction of popular music acts such as New Kids on the Block, Gloria Estefan, Michael Jackson, Clint Black, Patti LaBelle, and Tony Bennett. After that, along came commercial sponsors and we started seeing themed halftime shows. Then the time period between two halves of a football game became a true spectacle.

Now, you can ask any number of people what their favorite Super Bowl halftime performance was and you are likely to get as many responses. Who can forget last year’s performance of Coldplay and Beyonce? Or Katy Perry and her shark costumes the year before that or Bruno Mars performing the year before that? These spectacular performances have become even more memorable than even the games themselves. Do you really remember who won those games or even the scores? Probably not.

This year we are promised maybe the halftime shows to top all other halftimes shows. Or at least it has the potential to be. Pop star Lady Gaga will take the stage in the middle of Super Bowl LI. And the one thing you can say about Gaga, she knows how to put on a show. Will she start have an introduction that features here famed collaborator Tony Bennett? Very likely. Will Lady Gaga make a grand entrance from the top of the stadium? That is the rumor. And will she make some political statement about the current administration? It’s quite possible.

One thing for sure, Lady Gaga will put on a spectacle. She is an incredible singer with a strong, recognizable voice. Gaga knows plenty about staging and theatrics. And we are very likely to see numerous costume changes. You can only hazard to guess what those outfits will entail.

There have been many memorable Super Bowl Halftime shows. Some of the most remembered performances include The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, and Madonna. Who can forget the Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction debacle of 2004? This year, with Lady Gaga, we may have another performance that ranks on the all time top ten half time performance list.

So, despite the fact there will be a sporting competition involving the patriots and the Falcons and many will be tuned in to the Super Bowl for that action. There is a considerable amount of folks who will set down their pizza and wings just to see if Lady Gaga appears in a gown made of pineapples or such. And come Monday morning and into the future, we will remember that performance and barely recall the score or the outcome of the “Big Game.”

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