Springsteen At The Super Bowl: They're Not Booing, They're Yelling "Bruuuuce"!
Posted Sun Feb 1, 2009 7:00pm PST by Billy Altman in Stop The Presses!
Sure, the National Football League's choice of Bruce Springsteen as the entertainment for Super Bowl XLIII's halftime show was about as safe a move as betting that John Madden couldn't go through an entire broadcast without using the word "heck."broadcast. After all, when your biggest wardrobe malfunction worry is whether or not well-known follicly challenged Steve Van Zandt's do-rag might get dislodged, you're probably in good shape, right?
But as Super Bowl halftime gigs go, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's fresh-in-the-books four-song, 13-minute set easily ranks ahead of fellow post-Janet Jackson predecessors Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, and Tom Petty, and behind only Prince for overall customer satisfaction. And I'm not just saying this because any man with the guts to tell overweight America to "step away from the guacamole dip and put the chicken fingers down" is OK by me.
We all know the Boss isn't much of a football fan, but after whipping through opening number "Tenth Avenue Freezeout," Bruce and his band scored major bonus points for including "Born to Run," which, as any marching band fan knows, is easily the only rock anthem in history to feature an honest-to-goodness glockenspiel. And after the perfunctory plug for his just-released new CD Working on a Dream in the form of a brief, choir-aided rendition of the title track, Springsteen, flanked by right-hand man Van Zandt and backup vocalist wife Patti Scialfa, launched into a rip-roaring "Glory Days," complete with a lyric change that turned the hero of that classic from a "speedball"-throwing baseball pitcher to a "Hail Mary"–hurling quarterback.
Ably abetted by his ever-loyal E Streeters, augmented for this show by the horn section from The Conan O'Brien Show band led by Bruce's skins-thumper Max Weinberg (he of the best posture of any drummer in show business), the Boss may have seemed a bit winded here and there; after all, those high notes do get a little tougher to reach once you're a card-carrying AARP-er. But for a guy whose last gig was a command performance at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, not bad. Not bad at all. Springsteen At The Super Bowl: They're Not Booing, They're Yelling "Bruuuuce"! - Stop The Presses!