Beyonce was in great form during her halftime performance at the 2013 Super Bowl, but that only proves the point that this kind of stage is better suited for the large arena-filling sounds of rock music.
Again, this is not Beyonce's fault. She was at her best while singing and dancing her way through, "Love on Top," "Crazy in Love," "End of Time," "Baby Boy," "Bootylicious," "Independent Women," "Single Ladies" and "Halo."
The performance also included a cameo by the rest of Destiny's Child on "Bootylicious" and "Independent Women."
All of the songs were well performed, and it certainly appeared like Beyonce was doing most of the vocal work live. The choreography and special effects were also mind blowing in that they could be set up so quickly.
However, therein lies the problem. This kind of performance needs those aspects to try and captivate an audience in a huge building and on a giant stage like Super Bowl.
Let's be honest, a performance like this is more of a fashion show than a concert. It's more about perfecting the look than the product of the music. The songs themselves, while catchy and fun, are not powerful.
That makes it better music for a dance club than it does as the centerpiece of entertainment for countless eyes.
This show was just something pleasing to look at as it joined the overwhelming flood of things abusing sex appeal to hold our attention. Well, after the two weeks of that abuse, it all becomes commonplace and boring.
Put a talented band on the stage with ample amplification and their instruments of choice, and they will do what they do best: bring the house down.
Why the Super Bowl Deserves Better
The Super Bowl is surrounded by extravagance. We have two weeks of buildup that are hyped to a media-propelled frenzy. We have back stories, media day, montages and hyperbole flooding our senses. Those two weeks are all about the spectacle.
Then game day hits, and it is finally time to put all of the showy dramatics to bed for the performance of the actual game. This is all about the product on the field, and that is the reason the entire two weeks matters in the first place.
That's one of the beautiful and pure aspects of sports: It doesn't matter how it looks—only the results matter.
The halftime show should follow suit. While the added special effects and choreography are a nice touch, the heart of the Super Bowl halftime show should be about the music just like the Super Bowl is ultimately about the game. Rock music is the perfect vehicle for this.
The dramatics and emotion inherent in rock music are fitting for the intense gridiron action.
The interplay of the musicians to form one dynamic sound is not all that different than talented football players working as a team.
A great rock band (or Prince—seriously, he was a one-man wrecking crew in his halftime gig) can bring the spectacle, but ultimately it is the performance of the music that is the star of a live show. That is what separates the great bands from the good ones, and that is what we need at the Super Bowl.
U2's unforgettable halftime show just months after 9/11 is a perfect example.
This band does not shy away from spectacle, but ultimately all that matters is the music.
This was an emotionally-charged time for reasons far greater than the Super Bowl, but it all highlights that big music with soul and power can move huge crowds of people.
This takes the moment from something pleasing to the eye, to an interactive and emotionally-fulfilling experience. This is the kind of experience the Super Bowl deserves.
So spare me the Hollywood fashion flash. I get enough of that in the two weeks leading up to the game. I want a little more substance on my Super Sunday.