Thoughts on Tom Petty and the Super Bowl Half Time

Well another Super Bowl has come and gone here in the United States. This year, (for a change maybe) the game was actually really exciting and there were even some decent commercials to keep everything engaged as well. The halftime show was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and I thought they put on a good show as well, although maybe a different show than we're used to seeing for this event.

The Super Bowl and Super Bowl Sunday are basically unofficial holidays here in the US. The entire country practically stops to watch the game, the commercials and the halftime show. A lot of different bands have taken the half time stage... Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith... and the energy level is always really high with pyrotechnics massive stage setups and enough flash to keep everyone's energy up. I think that's why I was a little surprised when I first heard that Tom Petty would be going the show this year. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Tom Petty fan and would be thrilled to see him and his band play live in just about every setting. They are a bit more of a straight up rock and roll band than an arena rock outfit though, and so I didn't see them really delivering the spectacle that people expect from the halftime show. Bands like The Stones and Aerosmith put on those massive kinds of shows every night and pretty much every show Sir Paul does is larger than life, but I just couldn't picture Petty in that kind of setting.

When the halftime show actually did come on, initially I had the same reaction that I think most people had, and was the one I anticipated before hand... the band just didn't have enough energy for the show and in turn the halftime show was a bit disappointing. I went back and watched the footage again though and my opinions have changed a little. The performance itself was actually quite good, the band sounded tight and was having fun with it, and you can't go wrong in terms of song choices going with Tom Petty's hits. Instead, I think it was just that the band was not really in the right context, their performance seeming more lack luster than it really was because of the hype, and atmosphere that we've come to expect from a Super Bowl halftime. So, don't go judging Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers... they rocked if you ask me, just in a different way than other artists have.

In a way, I actually like this more stripped down half time performance than some of the overblown extravaganzas that have happened in the past. That's not a knock against any of the bands that played those kinds of shows before, it's just a personal preference. I hope that this trend continues next year as I like straight rock shows. Yeah the pyrotechnics and the artist collaborations are all great etc, but a band on stage playing great music... that's really all you need.

Anyways, just a few thoughts on this year's Super Bowl halftime show. Who knows who it'll be next year, although I can think of a band or two I'd like to see... and a few who I'd rather not... only time will tell.

Oh... and congratulations to the New York Giants from the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll on being the ultimate spoilers and upsetting the New England Patriots perfect season. Always great to see an exciting game with a surprising outcome like that.


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