Two years ago, Prince revolutionized the Super Bowl halftime show with a blistering rock ‘n’ roll revue of Purple Rain songs and covers that brought the house down. Last year Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers brought more of a workman-like approach to the gig, playing their biggest hits with gumption if not gusto.
So what type of show would The Boss bring to the table?
Something in between, I reckon. There was little surprising about Springsteen’s 12 minute set: you got two of his biggest hits (“Born to Run” and “Glory Days”), your requisite new song (“Working on a Dream”) and an E-Street classic (“Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”). But somehow, it didn’t feel by-the-numbers either.
Those of us who are members of the E-Street cult are familiar with Springsteen’s absurd-but-awesome banter and over-the-top stage antics, but I suspect a lot of people at home were surprised that a 60-year-old man and his band still put that much heart and soul into their gigs. From the crowd interaction to the patented stage slide (crotch into camera, no less), the band felt like they were cramming the same amount of passion that they put into a three hour gig into those 12 precious minutes. Sure, they weren’t necessarily my personal favourite Springsteen songs (would have loved some “Badlands” myself), but for a party atmosphere, it was pretty much note perfect.
My biggest complaint? That 12 minutes was not enough Boss time. Then again, how much would be?
(Credit for the photo to AP Photo/Matt Slocum. More great press shots can be found in this gallery here.)
Watch: Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band halftime performance