Super Bowl Music Review

Posted on February 7, 2011 by Jeff

Hi there.  This is my review of last night’s super bowl broadcast.  This will be part defense of Christina Aguilerra, part bashing of sound man, part Black Eye Peas ‘what the wha??”.  This will not have anything to do with football or television commercials.

Except to say that the Packers looked great.  I like that team.  All those injuries and still win the big one?  They look great for several years to come.  And also, are we still laughing at commercials featuring guys getting hit in the groin with a beer/pepsi can?  People get paid to think that up?

Let’s begin with the National Anthem.  I was pleased when I heard that Christina Aguilerra would sing the anthem.  I think she’s a tremendous singer when she simply sings.  And let’s begin there.  She actually SANG the anthem.  I bet it’s been at least 10 years since we’ve heard someone actually sing the anthem live at the Super Bowl.  All the great super bowl anthem performances you’re remembering were pre recorded and lip-synced.  It’s not an easy song to sing, and it’s not easy singing in a football stadium.  You are at the whim of the sound guy and it’s not like you can listen to the speakers in the stadium to make sure you’re singing it right cause there’s a very LONG delay from when you sing it to when you hear it through the speakers.

I thought she sang it well.  She didn’t over do it.  There was not Orchestra and cool modern arrangement of the Anthem.  She just sang it.   She did mess up a line of the song, which is unfortunate cause it’s not like people don’t know the words to this song.  If I mess up a line during a song at church, I can make up a new one and then give the tech booth a dirty look that says “why’d you guys put the wrong words up there??”  But that’s tough on the Star Spangled Banner.  I actually didn’t notice that she messed up a line.  (Insert Canadian Joke Here….) But being Canadian has enabled me to hear my country’s anthem botched on several occasions.  I thought Ms Aguilerra sounded great.

Half Time Show.  I was also pleased to hear that the Black Eye Peas would be performing the half time show.  It’s not because I’m a fan of the Peas.  I was glad that somebody finally decided to stop the ‘old washed up rocker’ streak that we’d been on since Janet Jackson and her malfunction.  I guess after Janet, if you want to a guarantee that the singer will keep their clothes on, Paul McCartney and Tom Petty are pretty safe bets.  But it was nice to see that indeed the Super Folks were willing to risk appealing to the younger generation again.

Here’s the deal with the half time show at the Super Bowl.  It seems as though the performers have about 12 minutes to wow everyone in the world.  So the tendency is to pack said 12 minutes with 60 second snippets of 12 of their biggest hits.  “This is our big break, we gotta get as many songs in there as we can!!!!”  This is annoying to me.  Do you remember when U2 was the half time show in 2002?  They did 3 songs, one of which was very short.  They didn’t try to prove anything, they just awesomed.  And thus they are the best half time show ever.  Even better than when Glass Tiger did half time at the ’87 Grey Cup.  The ‘Peas’ would’ve been better served in my opinion to just do 2-3 of their hits rather than 8 sound bytes.  Plus, would it have killed them to have a band on stage with them?  Even if it was a phony air band, a few musicians would help get rid of the Karaoke feel.

Here’s my biggest beef with the half time show:  The Sound Man.  When it started, there was no band, just 4 Peas singing/ rapping.  4 microphones.  That’s it.  And of those 4 microphones, 1 was on.  You could hear one of the Peas.  Only during Fergie’s vocal solo about a minute in did some guy in some sound truck somewhere say to himself “hey…. Maybe I should turn on all the mics.”  Same thing when Slash arose from the stage playing the beginning of Sweet Child O Mine.  It looked like he was playing great.  But there’s no musical proof cause you couldn’t hear him.

Slash to his friends later that night:  “Hey dudes, didn’t I just totally rock the Super Bowl?”

Slash’s Friends (nervously looking for a cigarette):  “Umm…. We couldn’t hear anything you played”

Slash (under his breath):  “Curses to you Mr. Soundman in the truck somewhere”

End Scene.