Anybody worried about how Bruno Mars would do on one of the world’s largest stages had obviously never seen the young star perform live. That changed Sunday when tens of millions got their first chance to see why he’s one of the more exciting live acts of his generation.
The 28-year-old Roosevelt High alum took his high-powered live show to Super Bowl halftime, creating what felt like an intimate show in the arena in East Rutherford, N.J., and supersizing it in what has become a defining moment for those who preceded him on the list of halftime performers in the big game.
The Grammy Award-winning singer eliminated any doubters from the second he appeared on screen in a skinny tie and gold jacket almost as dazzling as his smile. He played a deep-groove drum solo while rolling across the field on a raised, motorized platform, then joined his smoking-hot live band for a series of energetically executed hits that were clearly not lip-synced. He then seamlessly integrated the Red Hot Chili Peppers into his set.
"There were a lot of doubters and my man delivered," Fox commentator Howie Long said after the performance.
Hard to disagree. There were no flubs, no negative moments that will live on at the water cooler this morning. And while you can argue about the entertainment value of watching shirtless Chili Peppers gambol about the stage, the 50-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famers managed to match Mars’ energy in a brief appearance that was no less memorable.
Mars trades in shared memories, taking the best of acts that have come before like the infectiousness of Sting and The Police, or the groove of James Brown, and updating them with lyrics and sounds that capture the freshness of the moment. He opened by displaying the beauty of his high tenor with the sing-a-long-inviting "Locked Out of Heaven" and "Treasure" before transitioning to "Runaway Baby."
Chris Talbott, Associated Press