Well that was a genius Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show.
Brought on to help celebrate the 50th edition of the big game, Coldplay may have initially seemed like an odd choice for such a piece of Americana entertainment, but the British band proved once and for all that they are, indeed, so universally well-liked (and ragged on because haters are gon’ hate) because they are quite simply that good. There isn’t an arena, nay, a stadium on the planet that those Chris Martin-fronted Brits cannot rock, and Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on the day it would have the most eyes on it ever, was not going to be the exception. Just like it won’t be in September when Coldplay rolls back into town on its “A Head Full of Dreams Tour.”
What Coldplay & Co. – including the National Football League and the band’s special guests, Bruno Mars (with Mark Ronson) and Beyoncé, not to mention Lady GaGa early on – delivered yesterday was a master lesson in brand rebranding. Marketing at its very bestest.
Coldplay are (now) fun! And the world’s harbinger-of-a-very-special-message band (more on that later).
Bruno Mars is your next King of Pop – unless President of Pop Justin Timberlake decides he still wants the title, in which case I give JT six months to make a new move. I would live happy seeing those two challenge each other for life, btw.
Beyoncé’s the new and improved Madonna, near-flawless art as matter of fact (because when you Yoncé, you don’t need to peacock like Kanye), while the NFL is an American institution dead-set on showing that it cares by allowing its acts du year to move many conversations forward (again, more on that later).
Oh, and Lady GaGa is now Céline Dion.
Headliners Martin, lead guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, and drummer Will Champion acknowledged the bull before ’em and took it by the horns, alright, sticking to their Coldplay guns by staying true to themselves and singing the songs that made them Coldplay in the first place. They reminded everyone, albeit momentarily, of the reasons why their music is so effective, and they did so by simultaneously displaying a lot of generosity toward their peers and their audience.
See, Coldplay is often mocked by the tug-at-your-heartstrings-ness and Gwyneth-ness of “Fix You,” a song believed to have been written for Martin’s now ex-wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, in the wake of her father’s death early into his relationship with the actress-turned-GOOPer, and by the, I dunno, earnestness of their true-introduction-to-world-domination single “Yellow,” a ditty that’s almost 16 years old. On paper, the Coldplays have no right being as big as they are, but, much like Adele, they connect with folks in ways folks sometimes folks don’t even want to accept, much less own, and their shows are pretty f---in’ magical. They make fans outta non-fans.
It’s really hard to resist Coldplay, and it’s comical to see people try.
“Viva La Vida,” a massive-hit anthem performed during the Halftime Show, is the encapsulation of Coldplay, a band who has expertly combined Olympics-quality pageantry with beautiful, effective songwriting forever. “Viva La Vida” is an honest offering, and much derided. And yet, it was a spectacular way in which to kick off things yesterday, especially because, as Martin put it, “We’re in this together. Let’s go!”
That included the game’s eventual winners, the Broncos, as well as the Panthers, the thousands gathered at Levi’s Stadium, those millions of us watching at home...and Beyoncé and Bruno Mars.
Both previous halftime headliners came back to the Super Bowl turf as special guests and helped the NFL and Coldplay celebrate the annual tradition’s past, present, and future. Mars went first, capping a winning year by serving an electric performance of his and Mark Ronson’s huge, Grammy-nominated “Uptown Funk.” His charismatic, unreal dance moves were the thing dreams are made of, and prove that he has a right to the throne the late Michael Jackson once occupied.
And then there was Queen B.
As she showed us once before, Beyoncé is the real deal. An artist and a badass bitch through and through. An amazing example of womanhood, blackhood, and feminism, all wrapped up into a vessel-like artiste that has learned from the best (M) and will progressively continue to set the bar higher and move the conversations we need to be having forward through the sheer power of art. Through her own sheer power. She gives what we need while giving what we want, all the while letting her message speak for itself and for herself (because we may crave Beyoncé, but we don’t need or get to have all of Beyoncé, ergo the rare public appearances and via-email-only interviews).
That she performed her then-surprise new single “Formation (Dirty),” a song barely 24 hours old, should come as zero a surprise. Gf didn’t to just play. She can to slay (pardon the clichéd use of her latest chanson de guerre). Beyoncé is a disciplined student of the School of Queen of Pop Madonna; her savvy is incredible, so, of course, she would trot out “Formation (Dirty).” The world already knew it; it was beyond-familiar with its commentaries on identity and current sociopolitical matters. Also not a surprise? That she would announce a new tour immediately following the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show.
Do not insult or, worse, discount Beyoncé’s intelligence ever again, world. And remember, she doesn’t want to be Queen of Pop. Bitch she’s Beyoncé!
Which brings me back to Coldplay.
Everything came back full circle for the band after it gracefully relinquished the spotlight to two other acts because those guys knew people would love it. And those guys, they’re not going to withhold from their fans. Their move to share was smart, and it proved that you can be a person who enjoys many things. You can love many things. You can believe in love. Which means you can believe...in peace.
Yes, even peace got a rebrand (thanks, #BelieveInLove!).
Coldplay was brought on, by the NFL, to help celebrate the 50th edition of its big football game. They shared the spotlight with two true individuals who each had something important to say (they, too, are the face of America...they like to have unapologetic fun and form meaningful opinions on the state of the nation – deal with it because it’s a good thing, and it’s a very good and American thing that it’s happening; and you could say that Coldplay, Brits that they are making their way stateside, represented the face of immigration).
Everybody won (alright, maybe, not the Panthers).
Update: Since the show celebrated past performers with two big returns and some clips, what gives? Why was Madonna not shown on TV?
I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with anything other than she probably was shown at the stadium, just not on the televised show. Some cutaway more than likely cut away from her and others.
Oh. What. Do you think it has something to do with the beef M supposedly has with...Gwyneth Paltrow? That G.P. put the kibosh on showing M, telling her consciously uncoupled ex and her BFF Beyoncé to diss the Queen?
It would not be on brand.