Queen Bey excites with her politically charged single “Formation,’ but the sunlit performance never really comes together
Coldplay’s Super Bowl 50 Half Time performance came off without a hitch on Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif. — but while the band recruited superstar cameos from Beyonce and Bruno Mars, temperatures didn’t exactly spike through the three-part set.
Borrowing the rich, flowery aesthetic from Coldplay’s latest album, “A Head Full of Dreams,” Levi’s Stadium was decked out in a bouquet of colorful banners waved by ticket holders and fans on the field. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin began his set on bended knee, singing a few bars from the band’s early hit “Yellow.”
The group then broke out into the crowd-pleasing “Viva La Vida” but followed with the more recent, sleepy “Paradise.” A pivot was in order and came thanks to producer Mark Ronson, who appeared in a gold-spackled DJ booth to play hype man for Mars and his dancers.
The ubiquitous “Uptown Funk,” naturally, showed off Mars’ skills and upped the energy for Beyonce’s big entrance — the definitive mic drop moment. The singer rocked her signature black unitard, fishnets and gold-plated rounds of ammunition across her chest (a nod to Michael Jackson’s iconic 1993 halftime show).
The Queen was drummed right into “Formation,” the politically-charged single that she surprised fans with one day before the Super Bowl.
In a quick power-walk from the 40-yard-line to the main stage, she and Mars battled in a “Formation”/”Uptown Funk” mashup with a sprinkling of her first solo hit “Crazy in Love.”
Martin then took to the piano for a sweet ballad while footage from the past 49 years of halftime shows played. This was a nice nod to the history of the spectacle, but one that arguably has no place within one of the performances itself. Why didn’t CBS sweep in on the easy opportunity to air a special on 50 years of halftime shows ahead of Sunday’s big game?
Another factor working against the powerful trio was location — the California venue meant the halftime performance aired during the day, giving none of the added drama a night-time performance has offered recent halftime headliners like Katy Perry, Madonna and Mars’ and Beyonce’s own solo runs at the gig.
In the end, it’s always a pleasure — and an outright event — to see Mrs. Carter do her thing. Mars is a showman dripping with swagger and easy with his smiles. Martin & Co. are dedicated rockers who still pack stadiums and elevate their own act. Perhaps the whole event just needed some night magic.
The Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Half Time Show was produced by Ricky Kirshner, who will next serve as executive producer of the Democratic National Convention this July in Philadelphia.
Coldplay’s latest album “A Head Full of Dreams” was released in December. The band kicks off a world tour this March in South America. And Beyonce just announced her own 40-date stadium tour for this summer.