Have you noticed how ever since Janet Jackson’s infamous Super Bowl halftime show wardrobe malfunction in 2004, the NFL powers that be have opted for burnt out rockers? Fearful of another prime-time, real-time show-and-tell, the league has brought us Sir Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty, Bruce and, now, the surviving members of The Who.
Don’t get me wrong. I love staying tuned to see what these dinosaurs still have left and, with the exception of Sir Paul’s gig (which I witnessed firsthand in frigid Jacksonville), have really enjoyed the shows.
But, knowing market demographics as well as I do, I wonder what’s going on. Is the average NFL fan an aging Baby Boomer whose idea of cutting-edge music some combination of ‘Live and Let Die,’ ‘Start Me Up,’ ‘1999,’ ‘Born in the U.S.A. or ‘Magic Bus’? My gut tells me the average fan’s age has to be decidedly younger and, dare I suggest it, skewing towards urban and country tunes. Yet, we continue to see senior citizen rockers playing dramatically shortened, sanitized version of 40-year-old classics.
And, that’s just fine by me. In fact, borrowing a phrase from The Who’s ‘My Generation’ classic, ‘….I hope I die before I get (real) old…’ and have to suffer through Snoop, Sizzla, Tim McGraw or Faith Hill performing at halftime. I think, instead, I’ll just f-f-f-fade away.
Thanks to Tom Powers for his assistance in researching this topic.
You’re right, Julie. Maybe it was Live and Let Die that soured my experience. Come to think of it, it was the ersatz Beatlemaniac-type high school students with their fake screams that ruined it for me.
Are we talking about the same Superbowl half-time show that Sir Macca performed in 2005? He would never perform “Silly Love Songs”! He opened with “Drive My Car,” then followed with “Get Back,” “Live & Let Die” (he keeps this song in his show for the production values) and ended with “Hey Jude.”
I knew that comment would pique your curiosity, Julie. First, the organizers rounded up a bunch of local high school kids, dressed them up in 1960s-era outfits and made them pretend to be Beatlemaniacs. That was so ersatz and annoying. Second, Sir Paul opened with ‘Live and let die’ and ‘Silly love songs,’ two of my least favorite McCartney songs ever. He did finish with two shortened versions of Beatles’ classics, but the whole experience was very disappointing to say the least.
Curious — What didn’t you like about Sir Paul’s halftime show?
Thanks Syd. I guess so. As Mick & Keith said, ‘I know it’s only rock and roll, but I like it.’ I guess the NFL likes it too.
These dinosaurs — and they are dinosaurs whose best years are decades behind them — seem to be heeding Neil Young: “it’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
Point taken, Julie. Still, it is interesting from a target demographic standpoint. Kind of reminds me of Cadillac’s old dilemma of manufacturing cars for a target audience that was slowly dying away.
I guess the NFL Half-Time show would rather depend on “dinosaur” musicians who demonstrate real talent — rather than those who use cheap theatrics, costumes, and backup dancers to mask the fact that they can’t sing.