For the past few years, the Super Bowl has stuck with all-star rock talent for its halftime shows: Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Prince, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and now the Who, who brought a giant display of rock & roll might and pyrotechnics to the big game in Miami this evening.
Pete Townshend got things started by furiously strumming an acoustic guitar as Roger Daltrey grabbed the mike and began “Pinball Wizard” while pyro erupted from the center of the field, which was covered in a giant circular display of lights rather than filled with fans, as per tradition. After the first chorus, the arpeggio synth stutter of “Baba O’Riley” began as green lasers cut across the stadium and lights pulsed in lines from the stage outward through the stadium. Townshend ripped his pick down the neck of his guitar and peeled off a few of his signature windmills. The sound of the crowd singing along was audible as Townshend shouted out the chorus, “It’s only teenage wasteland.”
Daltrey got out his harmonica and blew until a stream of red sparks flew from the stage and the band segued into “Who Are You” as a giant projection of the lyrics surrounded the circular stage. Townshend windmilled at a furious pace as the track wrapped and blue lights bathed the stage, signaling a quick nod to “See Me, Feel Me” before the band tore into “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Fireworks shot into the air and the crowd enthusiastically shouted the song’s title on the chorus. The set ended with a barrage of fireworks and Townshend and Daltrey with their arms around each other.
Just before halftime, Will.i.am’s remixed version of “My Generation” aired over a commercial for mobile TV company Flo (the full-length track is available for download at Flo.tv and proceeds benefit Oxfam’s Haiti fund).