Monday, January 30, 2012

Springsteen Video of the Week - Super Bowl Halftime Show, 2009





The Super Bowl is this Sunday, so the Video of the Week should come as no surprise.  I remember watching this three years ago, and thinking the performance was about a 6 out of 10.  I thought that jamming Springsteen into a 12-minute window for Mainstream America didn't do the Boss justice.  However, perhaps I was too drunk or pissy at the time.  Re-watching it this week, and taking into account how much Springsteen accomplished in spite of the time limitation, I'd give the performance a strong 8 out of 10.  Here are some highlights:

1. The Introduction

As I've discussed on this site before, "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out" is the perfect introduction song.  The silhoutte of Clarence and Bruce back-to-back is beautiful.  And Bruce's speech in the beginning is amazing.  There are very few instances I can recall of the Super Bowl half-time performer addressing the audience - usually they just play their hits and leave.  With every second ticking down, he still finds time to be his loquacious self.  It's also important to remember that before the performance began, James Harrison ran back a touchdown that the referees had to review to make sure was good.  So, the beginning of the show was delayed.  You can just imagine Bruce just percolating with energy backstage, frantically pacing, not knowing when he'd be taking the stage.  His energy is clearly at a 10 in the opening.

2. Glory Days

The abbreviated "Born To Run" and "Working on a Dream" didn't really do it for me, although I can understand the reasoning behind the choices - the former to give the people what they want, the latter to sell the new album.  However, he brings it home with an excellent rendition of one of my lesser-loved songs.  I love Bruce's improvisation - as it confirms his lack of sports knowledge (a "speedball" is a replaced by "Hail Mary").  This version also gets tremendous contributions from Steven Van Zandt, the horn section from Conan O'Brien's band, and a random NFL referee. 

3. The Power Slide
funny gifs

Mesmerizing.

4. Clarence's Outfit

The man has style. 
Anyway, here's our (completely unbiased) Super Bowl predictions.  Enjoy the game this weekend, and for God's sake, put down the chicken fingers.

OB: Giants 27, Patriots 24
Rory: Giants 21, Patriots 17
Steve: Giants 28, Patriots 10