Monday, February 2, 2009

A brief commentary on the Springsteen Halftime Show

Halftime shows are always a bit of a crapshoot. It seems to me that these productions have become higher calibre in recent years. I certainly don't claim to be a Super Bowl nut. For me, no Steelers = no sale. But in those off years, I often at least watch the halftime show, for good or ill.

I was pretty confident that the E Street Band would pull it off. They've long had a reputation as one of the best live shows out there, and Springsteen's catalog has a number of strong songs that would suit the occasion. In fact, I found this set a little more difficult to predict than the Stones' show a few years back (during ANOTHER Steelers win, I might add!). In the end, Bruce chose a set of three crowd pleasing anthems and the requisite "new song" - all executed bombastically well.

Last week, as Pete at IckMusic noted, Springsteen announced another slew of tour dates. DC and Pittsburgh were both on the list. I thought about it briefly. I saw the E Street reunion tour in 2000 and the Seeger Sessions tour a couple years ago. Both were excellent. Anyhow, within 5 minutes of the halftime set, my sister and I were exchanging text messages saying "we should totally get tickets" (which went on sale this morning). When a halftime show is good enough to convince you to buy (reasonably priced, I might add) tickets to a rock show, the band has done their job.

I had the pleasure of watching the game in a movie theater/bar in Pittsburgh. The vibe was already intense, with the liquor flowing and the Steelers taking a 10 point lead by the end of the first half. Throw Springsteen on the stage, and we partied as if we were on the field, singing, dancing, jumping around, and general camaraderie. It reminded me of when I saw Stop Making Sense in a theater a few years ago in the sense that as much as was possible, it felt like that theater captured the concert environment during Springsteen's performance.

All in all, I was pleased. More pleased about the Steelers' win, but that goes without saying. And we were able to score tickets this morning, so come May 19, we'll be rocking out once again.

Take home point: the best halftime show in recent memory, save for Prince two years ago.


Pen Pen said...

I think venues are 50% of the experience! I love to see shows in SMALL venues, and I love to see movies in the middle of the day when I'm the only one there and I can throw popcorn and yell at the characters.

Gonzo said...

Agreed - the best shows I've seen have been in clubs and theatres - and generally more affordable, too!

Thanks for stopping by!