Being a Super Bowl halftime performer is tough work as is – to say nothing of the pressures that come with taking the stage during the Big Game’s 50th anniversary. So you can’t blame Coldplay for calling in some high-profile reinforcements on Sunday night.
Chris Martin and Co. got a big-time boost from special guests Beyoncé and Bruno Mars during their Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show, which was billed as a celebration of the past half-century of pop (and featured an in-performance retrospective of some of the acts that have taken the stage at the Super Bowl itself). And so Coldplay started things off with their first hit, “Yellow,” sung by Martin as he made his way to the midfield stage – a quick nod to the past before leaping forward.
That song segued into a soaring version of “Viva la Vida,” with the Super Bowl stage swirling in colors and Martin bounding back and forth. Backed by a string section and a whole lot of flowers, Coldplay did what they do best – deliver stadium-sized uplift, a fact Martin drove home by shouting “We’re in this together!” before the band dove headlong into “Paradise.”
That was followed by the new “Adventure of a Lifetime,” as fireworks hit and flowers bloomed on the field. Then, things took a decidedly funky turn, as Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars showed up to work through their hit “Uptown Funk,” Mars styling and profiling, thick gold chain bouncing rhythmically around his neck. And then, well…then it was Beyoncé time.
Queen Bey strutted right into “Formation,” the song she surprise released this weekend. Armed with a crowded backfield of dancers, she worked her way toward the stage, and though she didn’t have a bag to store her hot sauce in, there were plenty of flames on the field to heat things up. She engaged in a bit of a crew battle with Mars and his boys, trading chants (“Let’s get in formation!” “Fellas, let’s get this stadium shakin’!”) and it was so funky even Chris Martin joined in on the action – but it only lasted for a moment, and with a slap of the camera by Bey, things shifted once again.
Coldplay cooled things down with “Clocks,” as TV viewers were shown a montage of previous Super Bowl performers (Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston’s iconic national anthem), but then the show swung back into uplift mode, as the band were once again joined by Beyoncé and Mars to sing “We’re gonna get it together now!” in unison to the tune of “Fix You.”
Message delivered, the crowd inside Levi’s Stadium lifted up sign cards that spelled out “Believe in Love” to the world, and a giddy Martin thanked the crowd and embraced his fellow performers. Hey, when it comes to a show this big, sometimes you need a little help from your friends.