FanDuel - WFBC

February 02, 2009

Review of Springsteen's Super Bowl Halftime Show: Greg Mitchell's take: "they done good." Should politics be interjected into the halftime show, or should it be just about the music?

posted by scuubie to football at 12:00 PM - 43 comments

... really?

posted by jerseygirl at 01:20 PM on February 02

It's hard for medleys not to suck, but I thought the Springsteen show was terrible. His delivery of the songs was all over the map, his onstage antics were as corny as Taylor Hicks -- particularly the part where he slid his crotch into the camera -- and the ending bit with the ref was cheesy.

Other than that, though, bitchin' show.

posted by rcade at 01:49 PM on February 02

I watched it thinking that Springsteen was parodying the whole thing with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

But I missed the politics in the music. I think the politics have been involved in the whole damn show. Soldiers, flying of the war planes, etc.

Although, I was glad to hear Dan Rooney give Obama a shoutout :)

posted by scully at 02:09 PM on February 02

He had 12 minutes (which he noted), and it's not the kind of show where he could have slipped in a slower number. Most of his more overt political songs are on the slow side. If he'd wanted to, the set list could have looked like:

41 Shots (American Skin)
Devils and Dust
The Ghost of Tom Joad, and:
Mansion on the Hill

That would have cheered everyone up.

posted by owlhouse at 04:40 PM on February 02

I watched it thinking that Springsteen was parodying the whole thing with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

That's what I was hoping, and actually thought, because if not, much like rcade, I thought it was almost comically bad. The cheesiness, the changing of the lyrics. "He could throw that hail mary pass". Oh god.

Here's another review:

Let's be honest: The performance was wedding band cheesy. I know what else can you expect from the Super Bowl? but I have to admit being a bit surprised. I mean, Prince's halftime show soared. U2's halftime show rocked. Tom Petty stayed true to himself and his music in his halftime show.

And this was well, I expected all sorts of goofy Super Bowl mayhem. But for whatever reason, I did not expect them to shoot off fireworks in rhythm with the guitar licks in "Born to Run," while video screens behind Springsteen flashed "Born To Run!" on it. I knew he was going to edit the songs, but I did not expect him to cut the key verse out of Born to Run and two-thirds of "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out." I did not expect a full choir for "Working on a Dream" which never seemed like a full choir song. I did not know he was going to play around with the lyrics of "Glory Days" to make it Super Bowl friendly.* I did not expect him to have that referee come out and throw that flag to penalize him on time. I did not expect him to shout, "I'm going to Disneyland" at the end.

I not saying these things troubled me (they did not, or at least did not trouble me much) I'm just saying that I expected cheese, and got cheesier, we expected Springsteen to play for laughs and we got Springsteen and the E-Street Band playing the Max Figgenbaum Bar Mitzvah.


But the thing is, he liked the halftime show. Which leads me to my other opinion, that hardcore Springsteen fans would have liked anything he did. It was risk free for Bruce, so he just had fun. I hope.

posted by justgary at 06:07 PM on February 02

Should politics be interjected into the halftime show, or should it be just about the music?

I don't like it when politics is interjected into any musical performance. However, I only consider this to be the case when the artist goes outside of the musical performance to give his or her two-cents worth as though anyone really cares what they have to say. I don't really consider a good song to be interjecting politics as long as it is a good song. If the song takes one side or the other in politics, so be it. It doesn't keep me from enjoying the song just because I disagree with the politics expressed.

Besides, a lot of people cannot figure out the politics in a song anyway unless you beat them over the head. I bet 75 percent of the people that listen to "Born in the USA" think it is a patriotic or pro-America song.

posted by graymatters at 07:01 PM on February 02

I turned to my friends during the Little Steven/Bruce back and forth section and said "two million people just blinked and asked their friends 'Why is that Sopranos guy singing with Bruce?'"

posted by Joey Michaels at 07:12 PM on February 02

I wish he would have played that awesome "Our Country" song.

posted by holden at 07:15 PM on February 02

Besides, a lot of people cannot figure out the politics in a song anyway unless you beat them over the head. I bet 75 percent of the people that listen to "Born in the USA" think it is a patriotic or pro-America song.

Those are the same people that ask for "Every Breath You Take" as the first dance at their weddings.

I'm not a big Boss man, but I thought it was fun. I think he was just goofing for the sake of goofing, and why the hell not? We're getting huge exposure, big money and we're all getting laid after the show -- let's go tear this up!

posted by wfrazerjr at 07:33 PM on February 02

It was a lot of fun. How could you not know he was going to play Glory Days and change the lyrics to a football player? That song is a sports anthem and Bruce regognized that. You knew he would play a new tune and it was nice that he also played his biggest hit in Born To Run. It was clean family friendly entertainment. Where was the politics?

posted by JohnEBGood at 07:47 PM on February 02

The cheesiness, the changing of the lyrics. "He could throw that hail mary pass". Oh god.

I suppose it's better than "throw that speedball by you." which is the original lyric.

Speedball? Play baseball much Bruce?

I was a HUGE Bruce fan in the 70's and early 80's but have long since OD'ed on his shtick. Last night was no exception. Talk about a guy whose time has come and gone.

posted by cjets at 07:54 PM on February 02

I thought it was excellent, high-energy entertainment, but if you're not a Springsteen fan, you wouldn't particularly care for his actions onstage. But that's pretty much what you get for a great deal of Springsteen's actual concert experience. He plays music, he entertains, he gets the crowd involved, etc. Who cares what was behind the music or the appearance or whatever. It was fun, and much better than what the Super Bowl usually trots out in the name of entertainment.

posted by dyams at 08:03 PM on February 02

Hey, so, was Paul Schaffer playing with the E-Street band? Because there were at least three guys there that looked like they might be Paul Schaffer and at least two were playing keyboards.

posted by Joey Michaels at 08:08 PM on February 02

Talk about a guy whose time has come and gone.

I have to disagree with you cjets. I thought at the time, and I still think, that 'The Rising' CD is the most sane response I have ever heard to the events of September 11. Listen to it together with the whole of 'Devils and Dust' and I think he's got it cold.

posted by owlhouse at 09:06 PM on February 02

I thought at the time, and I still think, that 'The Rising' CD is the most sane response I have ever heard to the events of September 11.

Sorry Owlhouse, we really will have to agree to disagree. I thought The Rising was at best tone deaf and at worst exploitative. (and I lean heavily towards the worst).

And I say this as a native New Yorker who lost close friends in 9/11.

posted by cjets at 09:16 PM on February 02

Let me try and put this another way because I realize that this is a very touchy subject.

Imagine that you went to a close friends' funeral (or several close friend's funerals) and then sometime after the funeral, fading rock star makes an album about it to resurrect his career. That's how I feel about Springsteen and The Rising.

posted by cjets at 09:25 PM on February 02

How could you not know he was going to play Glory Days and change the lyrics to a football player? That song is a sports anthem and Bruce regognized that.

There's 4 verses, only the first one has to do with sports. That's a weak sports anthem you got there.

posted by justgary at 09:41 PM on February 02

Longtime Boss fanatic, longtime SpoFi member. The show was fun for me, I would have preferred The Rising to Glory Days, but in terms of the material I will refer you to his press conference Thursday at which Bruce pointed out one big reason for him doing the gig was that he had a new record on sale. Which, by the way, was #1 on the sales chart this week so he seems to have achieved that goal.

posted by billsaysthis at 09:45 PM on February 02

I thought it was excellent, high-energy entertainment, but if you're not a Springsteen fan, you wouldn't particularly care for his actions onstage.

Really? Fireworks? Fake refs?

I'll plead ignorance, since I've never been to a springsteen concert, but I've been to jimmy buffet concerts with less cheese. And fwiw, reading around it's springsteen fans that seem to be doing the most cringing, though most are also forgiving.

posted by justgary at 09:45 PM on February 02

I was intrigued at the show right away. Bruce threw his guitar (and the roadie nearly got whacked on the head and dropped it), then Bruce did a knee drop and a Michael Jackson tippy-toe thing. Watching him take those next few steps seemed very painful. And the crotch-slide into the camera probably resulted in some mean scope-eye for the cameraman. Not very entertaining musically for me, but the gaffes just kept on coming.

posted by BoKnows at 09:52 PM on February 02

I'll plead ignorance, since I've never been to a springsteen concert, but I've been to jimmy buffet concerts with less cheese.

I should add that I know springsteen is known for high energy, fun shows. I just didn't know they're gimmicky (if that's a true representation of one of his shows).

posted by justgary at 09:56 PM on February 02

I realize that this is a very touchy subject

I agree, cjets, and I understand what you are saying. It's just that as far as artists' responses to those events went, I found Springsteen's focus on stories of human courage, on the search for some meaning to it all, and warnings about recklessly seeking vengeance hit the right note. Other poets, writers and musicians were struck speechless or had nothing to offer.

posted by owlhouse at 09:57 PM on February 02

I agree, cjets, and I understand what you are saying.

Same here, Owlhouse. I have many close friends who feel the same way as you. Like I said, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

*quietly slips pin back into grenade*

posted by cjets at 10:04 PM on February 02

Relax people. Maybe next year you'll all get your wish and you'll get Justin Timberfake and Beyonce-Z. Get Snoop and my boy Lil Wayne an' dat shit'll be tight!

posted by dyams at 11:06 PM on February 02

Maybe next year you'll all get your wish and you'll get Justin Timberfake and Beyonce-Z. Get Snoop and my boy Lil Wayne an' dat shit'll be tight!

Nah, prince will do.

posted by justgary at 11:18 PM on February 02

Prince was my favorite halftime show performer in recent memory. I am hoping for Morris Day and the mother fucking Time in 2010. Jerome, bring me my mirror!

posted by HATER 187 at 03:06 AM on February 03

Here's my idea for a great halftime show (though I want to stress I'm a dick).

1) Make it the same length as a normal halftime.

2) More game analysis by Costas and crew (or whomever) about the game.

Alternately, give John Madden a microphone and five different random words and ask him to construct a tortured metaphor from each of those words about five major plays in the first half.

Yeah, yeah, I just want to watch the football and even when I love the band, I resent having to watch them when I'm waiting for the second half to start.

posted by Joey Michaels at 05:04 AM on February 03

... if you're not a Springsteen fan, you wouldn't particularly care for his actions onstage. But that's pretty much what you get for a great deal of Springsteen's actual concert experience. He plays music, he entertains, he gets the crowd involved, etc.

Springsteen fans keep saying things like this. As a person who likes Springsteen from things like his Oscar-nominated songs and political activism but has never seen one of his shows, I didn't know that his on-stage persona included so much wacky cheerleader.

Time will tell, but I think he didn't do his rep any favors among casual fans. Getting the crowd involved when it's a real crowd is one thing, but Springsteen was working Sunday night with a fake one. I think I prefer the aloof approach Prince took in his halftime show, where he could've been playing in an empty stadium for all of his attention to the crowd.

In any case, I'm sure next year we'll get an act so bad that I'll pine for Springsteen. Perhaps the Jonas Brothers will reprise their excruciating set from the Cowboys' Thanksgiving game.

posted by rcade at 08:42 AM on February 03

I have three words for you, three words which will guarantee hilarity, fun and musicianship aplenty.

Barenaked. Ladies.

Okay, that's two, but I stand by my assessment.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:43 AM on February 03

Oh you Canadians!

posted by jerseygirl at 10:02 AM on February 03

Springsteen is weak. That was a terrible performance. It was a good opportunity to use the bathroom.

posted by Meathooks at 10:22 AM on February 03

From the sounds of it, I'm nearly glad I had to run to the store to pick up a sandwich during halftime.

posted by boredom_08 at 11:27 AM on February 03

I thought Bruce was fun, but I like cheesy. My 5-year old daughter loved it. Anyway, anything is better than that string of extremely old rockers, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and Tom Petty. Yuck. I'd take Hannah Montana before I'd want to see any of them. Okay, maybe not, but it would be close.

posted by bperk at 04:07 PM on February 03

Anyway, anything is better than that string of extremely old rockers, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, and Tom Petty. Yuck.

Tom Petty is younger than Springsteen.

posted by holden at 06:23 PM on February 03

I love Tom Petty, but he really does look like the walking dead these days.

Well, and always.

I his performance musically at the Superbowl, but it was fairly dull in terms of spectacle.

Prince was sort of the apex of Superbowl shows for me. Both musically and visually interesting.

And I still resented it and wanted the second half to start sooner. Heh.

posted by Joey Michaels at 06:26 PM on February 03

Bring back Up With People.

posted by goddam at 02:37 PM on February 04

Hooray for Everything, with their Salute to the Western Hemisphere?

posted by owlhouse at 04:23 PM on February 04

To clarify, I enjoyed the show, it was just different than I had suspected.

I did not expect to like prince, and thought it was damn good.

posted by justgary at 06:03 PM on February 04

Here he is thirty years ago, hamming it up a little. The Boss can do no wrong. Jump a little higher! What's not to love?

posted by Hugh Janus at 07:33 PM on February 04

Perhaps the Jonas Brothers will reprise their excruciating set from the Cowboys' Thanksgiving game.

For the love of God, why do you feel it's necessary to bring back tortured memories?!!? Please, I'm begging you...make this pain go away!

posted by BornIcon at 02:01 PM on February 05

Awww - Bruce wasn't cool? It looked like cheesy fun. Hardly the place or time to hit his softer, intellectual notes. I don't begrudge the show because it didn't placate some sense of awe.

What did eveyone think of his inauguration performance?

This Bruce fan remains the same.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:27 PM on February 05

Well said, Weedman. As for his inauguration performance, I thought it was excellent and appropriate. Bruce has always had a firm understanding of who he's playing for and what the specific occasion is. I think these last two performances (Super Bowl;Inauguration) were examples of that.

posted by dyams at 06:14 AM on February 06

Here he is thirty years ago, hamming it up a little.

Ya, that's what I thought I'd see. I mean, doesn't that clip point out what was different about this performance? All that was missing was a young actress he could have pulled on stage in a purely off the cuff move.

Bruce had fun. I agree there's no crime against that. I would say, however, that reading around the internet Springsteen fans are almost as bad as Pink Floyd fans in his defense. The Boss can do no wrong.

Anyway, here's his blog post about the experience.

posted by justgary at 06:20 PM on February 11

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