After the Janet Jackson incident that—well—everyone knows about at this point, there was a streak of quality Super Bowl Halftime acts. Starting with Paul McCartney in 2005, Super Bowl Halftime shows have gone on to feature such respectable artists as The Who, Tom Petty, and Prince.
But, in recent years, Super Bowl Halftime shows have devolved back into the cesspool of flavor of the week pop artists—featuring artists like Bruno Mars, who will be playing the upcoming Super Bowl in New Jersey, and a cameo appearance by LMFAO during Madonna’s performance.
This begs the question; who are some acts that would return the Super Bowl half time show to its late 2000’s sense of quality?
The following 10 acts are artists who put on excellent half time shows:
11. Spinal Tap
Their performance would be borderline ludicrous, if they were able to find the entrance to the stage. However, the whole “joke band” label would be somewhat difficult for them to overcome—considering how seriously the NFL takes itself.
10. Pearl Jam
Quickly becoming the living fossil from the grunge era, Pearl Jam is renowned as a premier live act with great stage presence. By the off chance that the Super Bowl is ever played at Qwest Field, a half time show by Pearl Jam would be most fitting.
Somewhat outside of the mainstream? Yes.
Would it take a seemingly Herculean effort to set up Neil Peart’s mammoth drum set for a relatively brief performance? Yes.
But, Rush’s performances are always grandiose and memorable—both traits that the NFL always tries to incorporate into its events.
8. The Dropkick Murphys
The Super Bowl in New Jersey establishes a precedent for a “cold weather Super Bowl”. Hence, if Gillette Stadium does end up hosting a Super Bowl in the future, then the Dropkick Murphys—a band that epitomizes what it means to be from Boston—would be an ideal candidate to play the Halftime show.
After all, their theme “Shipping up to Boston” is played at more than just sporting events associated with the aforementioned town.
7. The Police
Yes, this one is slightly cheating due to the fact that Sting has made previous appearances in the Super Bowl Halftime show. Moreover, the classic hit “Message In a Bottle” was played at the same show. However, this was done by Sting, who was backed up the popular nineties band No Doubt.
The band did a reunion tour during the mid-2000’s, and a group’s reunion isn’t unheard of at Super Bowl half time shows—just ask Destiny’s Child.
6. Eric Clapton
Clapton is one of the most iconic rock musicians of the twentieth century and one-third of the legendary band, Cream.
He hasn’t been as prominent in recent years, but phenomenal guitar playing and his great showmanship would be excellent for the Super Bowl. There aren’t many musicians left from the classic rock era, but Clapton is one of the few who attracts youth and adults alike.
5. Led Zeppelin
They performed at a reunion show—minus the late John Bonham—and they are the band that bridged the gap between the blues-inspired bands of the 60’s and the heavy metal bands of the 80’s.
Most importantly, the on-stage chemistry that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have—even in their later years—is still special.
4. Chris Cornell
Soundgarden is back together, but their generally heavy inclination would repel many viewers. But, Chris Cornell’s solo material would be very befitting of the Super Bowl halftime performance—especially if his band could cover some Audioslave tunes.
3. Elvis Costello
His song “Pump it up” essentially pervades professional sporting events. And, his infectious energy mixed with his longevity would be enjoyed by football fans of all ages—a sprawling demographic that current pop artists may be unable to reach.
His controversial edge has since subsided, and with his more advanced age has come a more “mainstream friendly” dynamic.
Like his now-famous performance he did with Elton John, he would have to censor out many of his profanity-laden songs. And, there would be a limit as to what songs he would be able to perform—there is no likelihood that he would be allowed to perform “The Real Slim Shady”.
But, his popularity and his modern-day relevance would bring a sense of excitement to the Super Bowl Halftime show.
1. Van Halen
With infectious energy and awe-inspiring guitar pyrotechnics, Van Halen would rock the Halftime show like few others would be able. Moreover, they already have experience playing in arena-style venues.
The combination of Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth would create one of the most memorable performances to date.