It wasn’t until Super Bowl XXV, which brings deep, deep pain for other reasons than the halftime performer, that the Super Bowl really started to bring in pop-icons to perform at the event. For most of the game’s existence until that point, the halftime show was performed by college marching bands. Super Bowl XXV, which featured the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants, brought in pop sensations New Kids on the Block for the halftime entertainment. Talk about yawn. At least that game lived up to the hype, albeit in heartbreaking fashion for yours truly.
While some true pop icons (Michael Jackson, Prince) have graced the stage, for far too many Super Bowls, the performers have been inadequate with music that plainly doesn’t resonate with the average football fan. Guys that play football don’t listen to Gloria Estefan or Jessica Simpson. Guys that played football grow up to be a large base of the people that watch football. Yeah, yeah, this isn’t true in every case. But for simplicity’s sake, a large portion of football’s most loyal base, grew up with rock music in their locker rooms. Not all, but a lot. A lot of that music can never be played at a family-friendly event like the Super Bowl, so sorry fellas we will probably never see a Limp Bizkit or Korn performance at the game. Likewise for those who listened to mostly rap in the locker room. But, what if there were rock bands that would make sense and would be tame enough for the whole family to enjoy? With the next three Super Bowl locations set, this is what the halftime entertainment committee or whoever they are should do to appease their loyal fans that listen to rock music. While the bands have to be interested as well and all of that jazz (who’s going to turn down the Super Bowl though), these are scenarios that make sense for the next three Super Bowls.
Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Atlanta has hosted two recent Super Bowls; the second of back to back blowouts of the Buffalo Bills by the Dallas Cowboys and the epic game played between the St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans that came down to the last play of the game. While the Bills/Cowboys game featured an all-star lineup of country musicians at the time, it was largely a forgettable performance, because you likely have no recollection of a halftime show featuring Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt and The Judds. The Rams/Titans game was a better game and a more pop-friendly event featuring Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, and Toni Braxton. Atlanta and America, you deserve better. So for next year’s Super Bowl in your city, imagine having Metallica!
Why Metallica? Why not? That’s a better question. This is quite possibly the absolute most overdue selection to play the Super Bowl. This band probably has more “all-time” locker room play time than any other. They are currently the biggest rock band in the world and have been since AC/DC started to slow down. With AC/DC’s future uncertain as well with Brian Johnson being out of the band and Malcolm Young’s recent passing, Metallica is the pick. Unless Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd were to reunite, Metallica is at the very top of the mountain until they decide to call it quits. They are still making new and relevant music and every single person that has played football in the last 30 years has likely heard their music in the locker room or during pregame at some point. They are likely the only heavy metal band that could pull this off. While their hardcore fans would want a halftime set-list of thrash gold, a more realistic and media appeasing set-list would be more palatable for those that are scared of heavy metal music. Imagine all of the fire and lasers of a full Metallica show condensed into this four-song set for the Super Bowl:
1. Whiskey in the Jar
2. Enter Sandman
3. Moth Into Flame
4. Seek and Destroy
Super Bowl 54 in Miami, Florida.
Miami has also hosted numerous modern-day Super Bowls. Let’s see, during the San Francisco 49ers’ blowout of the San Diego Chargers, they gave us Patti Labelle and Tony Bennett. No kidding. Then while the Denver Broncos were blowing out the Atlanta Falcons, we were treated to Gloria Estefan (again) and Stevie Wonder, which was probably decent but how much Gloria Estefan can they expect us to take? While Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts were taking it to the Chicago Bears, Miami gave us a pretty cool set from Prince. Their most recent Super Bowl was their best, however. In 2010, the New Orleans Saints were pulling away from the Indianapolis Colts for their first Super Bowl victory, and we were treated to a fantastic show from The Who. Now THAT is an iconic rock band if there ever was one. So, in two years when Miami gets to host again, who should they pencil in for the event? Why not stadium rock icons Journey?
Even with millennials, Journey remains one of the most popular bands in the world. They are still touring today and still sound great live, albeit with a “new” singer, Arnel Pineda. With Journey just recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, wouldn’t the Super Bowl Halftime Show be the perfect moment for them to reunite for the night with the vocalist of their heyday, Steve Perry? He and Arnel could trade off vocals and the band could finally move forward without fans having to wonder “what if” anymore. This is a win-win. You find someone that is in a bad mood while listening to Journey and what you’ve really found is a liar. Imagine this halftime set:
1. Anyway You Want It
2. Wheel In The Sky
4. Don’t Stop Believin’
Super Bowl 55 in Inglewood, California. (Los Angeles)
The Los Angeles area hasn’t hosted a Super Bowl since 1987. It featured George Burns, Mickey Rooney, and the Grambling State and USC marching bands. That act must have put the Denver Broncos to sleep because they were outscored in the third quarter 17-0 by the New York Giants who wound up turning a halftime deficit into a blow out win. Considering that it’s been so long since LA hosted the Super Bowl and it will be in a brand new venue, they’ll need a marquee act for sure. This one is such a no-brainer, though, that failure to book this act would be a travesty! Los Angeles last had the Super Bowl in 1987, the same year that Guns N’ Roses exploded onto the scene with their debut album Appetite for Destruction.
It has to be GNR, right? There is no other band that came out of the Los Angeles hard rock movement that better epitomizes that city than Guns N’ Roses. They were the definition of living in excess. They had infighting and turmoil. They broke up. They said never again on numerous occasions. They reunited anyway after more than a decade apart and they’re now selling out football stadiums around the country and headlining some of the biggest festivals in the world. Coupled with the fact that guitarist Slash has appeared at multiple Super Bowls now as a guest musician and they absolutely need to play the halftime show to their hometown crowd. This is a no-brainer, as long as somebody remembers to set Axl Rose’s alarm clock. Imagine this:
1. Welcome to the Jungle
2. Paradise City
4. Sweet Child O’ Mine
Then in a move that only they could pull off, they just keep playing. They also get through “November Rain” and “You Could Be Mine” before being forcibly removed halfway through “I Used to Love Her”. Once the field is finally cleared, the Buffalo Bills will continue on to their third consecutive Super Bowl victory fresh off of three consecutive rockin’ halftime performances. Right?