10 Super Performances at the Super Bowl

photo courtesy of unsplash, photographer @chadkirchoff

Start the countdown. The Super Bowl LIII is on its way. Over 100 million people will tune in to watch this sacred event. But let’s face it. Some of us are only there for the Halftime Show. 

Each year since 1991 (the birth year of the Halftime Show, and celebrity star power on stage), the shows have gotten bigger and bigger!

The Super Bowl has seen rappers, rock stars, pop stars, and even a few country stars.

These performances have gone down in history, but some are just a little more loved and shockingly grand!

To celebrate the 53rd Super Bowl, set to take place Sunday, February 3rd 2019, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and look at the most memorable performances of the past. The Halftime shows of legend …

Diana Ross

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“Ladies and gentleman, the one and only, Diana Ross! ”

The year was 1996, it was the 30th anniversary of Super Bowl, and it was a smash hit! The former Supreme gave us a dazzling show. She had hoards of dancers; a perfectly choreographed gospel choir and a series of fabulous wardrobe changes, featuring a massive gold flowing robe. This American icon stole the stage in sequins and sparkles. She had us all on our feet with a medley of hits including: “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “Baby Love,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” By the time the show was coming to a close, Ross had released colourful displays of balloons, fireworks and smoke for good measure. And how do you end a show like this? Why, with a helicopter of course.

The Rolling Stones

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In 2006 they rocked the stage. No wild and wacky extravagant stunts were needs to make this show a hit. Just put Mick Jagger and his boys on stage, and you’ve got a smash hit. An explosion of energy and excitement. Rock ‘N’ Roll at its best. There may have been only three songs, but we did get to see Jagger gyrate on stage – no one has the moves like Jagger.

Shania, Sting & Stefani  

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Oh those early 2000s… the shows they gave us…

In 2003, our very own Canadian Queen Shania Twain took to the stage, going “Up! Up! Up!” on a metal lift. She owned the show in a sexy black leather cape, miniskirt, bedazzled bra and glittering crystal accessories. Following her performance, Gwen Stefani and Sting put on a duet, and the audience couldn’t get enough of them.

Boy Bands, Rock Bands and BritBrit Oh My!

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Talk about star power. In 2001 the Super Bowl stage looked like a celebrity outtake of Avengers: Infinity Wars. Rock stars, pop stars and boy bands; superstars of the world uniting, joining forces on the same stage for an epic night of music.

Aerosmith & NSYNC, dubbed Aero-SYNC but non-other than actor comedian Ben Stiller, put on a show we will remember forever. The energy on that stage was out of this world. And joining Aero-SYNC on stage, the marvellous Mary J. Blige, Nelly and Britney Spears (Justin Timberlake’s girlfriend at the time).

Strike a Pose

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From the mists of mythic legend, Madonna arose. In 2012, this gilded goddess transformed the Super Bowl stage and set a whole new standard for Halftime Shows.

It was Elaborate, exotic, and way over the top. The show began with Madonna’s grand entrance – a scene stolen from Mankiewicz’s 1963 film Cleopatra. The glittering costumes and larger than life props cast a spell on our ears, while Madonna’s exalted voice bewitched our ears. “Vogue” and “Like A Prayer” were just some of the hits to play on a stage alive with dazzling digital effects, and a new set of dancers for every song. LMAFO came to join the fun, and so did Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and CeeLo Green. What a show!

Queen B

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2013 was blessed by the one, the only, Queen B. Everyone remembers this show, because everyone watched this halftime show!

Her performance was lit – literally. Beyonce lit the stage up with a pyrotechnic show, florescent lights, a wild digital display, and real fire.

Bey brought it all to this Super Bowl Halftime Show. And she had some friends along for the ride. Destiny’s Child members, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams popped out of a cloud of smoke and joined Beyonce in some hits from the day.

It was the performance of the year.

Katy Perry

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The girl knows how to put on a show!

Riding in on a golden lion backed by flames, roaring like the proud strong woman she is. Katy Perry turned the Super Bowl stage into a mysterious and spellbinding virtual chess board trapped in a tornado, and she didn’t stop there.

She brought us the beach (and an unforgettable little shark). And as a final act of dazzling brilliance, she lit up the night sky with magic and fireworks – proving she can sing like no other even while flying on a shooting star.

Gaga Mania

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In 2017 Lady Gaga took over. She flew, twirled, spun and soared. The crowd went wild.

Gaga started things sweet and slow, with a performance of “This Land Is Your Land,” and then descended upon the stage. From the first note, she had us captivated. The Super Bowl disappeared and suddenly we were all in the middle of an extravagant, larger than life Gaga concert. Her greatest hits came rolling out on a stage of radiant lights and electric dancers.

As the show came to a close, she took to the piano and slowed things down with a new song, “Million Reasons,” while a pulsing sun of golden lanterns painted a beautiful picture around her. Then she pumped up the beat with “Bad Romance” and one final choreographed dance. It was simply incredible.

The King of Pop

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You just know this was a show of absolute excellence.

The voice, the moves, and the message.

In 1993 Michael Jackson delivered a performance of a lifetime.

The first 90 seconds of the show Jackson stood still as stone, and let the suspense build (a big move, considering a Halftime show is only 12 minutes long!). But once he turned his head and tapped his foot, the floodgates were open and waves of iconic dance moves swept the stage. “Billie Jean” and “Black or White” were some of the songs selected for the show, but if we had our way, there about be twenty more on the list.

Watching his final performance, “Heal the World” was like finding religion. Colours filled the stadium, as posters of children from across the world formed larger than life pictures in the stands. Thousands of kids came pouring out onto the field as a giant globe blew up on stage. For that moment football didn’t matter, we were all a part of something bigger, and filled with hope for a better tomorrow.

Prince

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In 40 years it never rained at a Super Bowl. Until Prince came to town.

2007 was a very good year for the Super Bowl Halftime Show because of that man. He played like the star he was and turned the bad weather into a special effect – like he ordered it in for the show.

Prince playing great songs, that weren’t even his! But Prince of all people doesn’t need to self promote, the man was a legend. He was there to give people the show of their lives and to entertain. And did he ever.

Of course, given the rain and fame of the hit, even Prince could not leave without playing … you guessed it, “Purple Rain” (in the middle of a rain storm). Even Mother Nature was at the command of this regal legend.

 

U2… Above the List

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When you talk about Super Bowl Halftime Shows, this cannot be excluded. After the tragedy of 9/11 the game was cancelled, but the following year after the attack that shook the world, U2 put on a performance beyond words.

 

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