Skip Bayliss said this morning on ESPN’s “First Take” that when Percy Harvin returned the second half kick-off for a touchdown, they should have brought Bruno Mars back out for the second half.
The pop star was certainly on his game more than Peyton Manning and the Broncos Sunday night.
A whole 90 minutes of Bruno Mars may have been problematic, as he’s a little short on material and it would require him to do “Gorilla,” lighting up the FCC hotline, but for those 12 minutes, we couldn’t have asked for more from the Grammy winner.
The opening drum solo was designed to win him instant cred, and it worked. From there, Bruno and his Hooligans launched into their James Brown-looking revue with “Locked Out of Heaven” (from the Sting playbook) and “Treasure” (very Kool and the Gang), during which he revealed, for the uninitiated, that he has the whole package, with the Motown/Stax vocals and the JB footwork, not to mention the songwriting.
I have to admit that I flip the station a lot when “Grenade” and “Just the Way You Are” come on, because they’re played out, and the vocals verge on whiny. But as a live performer, he’s a dynamo, as he displayed in his full set at the Consol Energy Center in July.
The fact that he dresses like the band, and pretty much stays in a line with them, tells you everything you need to know about his lack of ego. Just like the Seahawks, he seems to be a team player.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers were trotted out there for the 40-and 50-somethings, which is kind of a weird thought, generating a cool collision between the two bands on “Give it Away.” With the fireworks and lasers and topless Peppers, it had that all-hell-breaking-loose quality that the game sorely lacked.
It was a fun addition, but Bruno didn’t need the help. He’s been out on the road long enough that he could have filled that three minutes without letting the energy drop.
The reflexive response to Super Bowl halftime is to bash the singer for being too old, too pop, too crude, too whatever, and even though he sings and dances like a champ and draws from classic R&B influences, Bruno has not been immune. Facebook and talk radio are filled with critics today, including the PG’s own Ron Cook, who sounds like he would eliminate halftime altogether.
If James Brown, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke (combined!) came back to life and stepped out there in their prime, people would still be complaining. Like the Buffalo Bills, on the Super Bowl stage, the performers can’t win.
Bruno, however, got as close as you can get. Not U2, not Prince, but somewhere in the discussion of top 10 Super Bowl halftimes.
And here comes the plug. It was announced today that another leg of his “Moonshine Jungle Tour” begins in April. It’s not coming here, but you can catch him in Cleveland on June 28 and Buffalo on June 30. brunomars.com/moonshinejungletour.
If you haven’t seen him live, it’s more talent than spectacle and well worth the trip.