Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bruno Mars Cut In Line

NOT Bruno Mars
In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl I made it clear on Twitter and to anyone else who would listen that I was NOT excited about the choice of Bruno Mars as the halftime performer at the big event. At the conclusion of his performance, I still felt the same way, and tweeted the following: 
That was the best halftime show in history. 
Even counting the Black-Eyed Peas.
I received a bit of scolding from some online friends for my attitude, and was referred to as a "hater" at one point. So let me try and explain why in my opinion Bruno Mars never had a chance.

I should explain right from the start that almost none of my misgivings about Bruno stemmed from his music. Nor was it simply an "old fart" reaction to a younger act. The ideas expressed in this post come from myself AND my 18 year old son Will, who purchased the most recent Bruno Mars album, Unorthodox Jukebox, in its entirety on I-Tunes when it first came out. He loves it, and I think several of the songs are tremendous. Most of our frustrations do not come from the music, or even from his performance- although there were a few things that stood out to us. In the weeks preceding the Super Bowl the big questions about halftime were "Why Bruno Mars?" and even "Who is Bruno Mars?" They came out onto a stage that shouted PREPARE! One of my Twitter followers suggested that perhaps Scar from The Lion King was about to open the show- but no such luck. They added singing children (brilliant touch) and the tribute to the solders (Heartstrings!) to help grab the audience, but obviously felt like they still needed more. So to help build the hype the Red Hot Chili Peppers were invited to be part of the show (because, as you know, they have a huge following- in 1993). It seemed like a very odd match. And it was. First of all, was there anyone in the world who knows anything about the Chili Peppers who couldn't "give away" what song they would play? And the mash-up of the Peppers on stage, with Bruno's guys in gold tuxedos, doing the pogo thing and yelling "JUMP!" for a full 30 seconds was incredibly awkward. It was at that point that I found myself wishing that Flea would strip down to his trademark sock and we would have the ultimate in wardrobe malfunctions! But alas, they kept singing. Bruno performed well. The fireworks were wonderful. He sang a couple of my favorite Bruno songs, although part of the issue here is that at this point in his career there just are not that many hits to choose from. But nothing could change my attitude, even as much of the rest of Twitter and Facebook celebrated his greatness in the midst of an awful game.

So what is my problem, you ask?  Bruno cut in line. Ever since the lunch room in elementary school, through festival seating concerts as a teen and right on up to all my days at Disney World, I hate when people break in line to gain an advantage they don't deserve. We have reached a point where playing the Super Bowl halftime show should be earned! Not with a few hits or one great album, but by paying dues and sustaining success over a number of years. I joked a lot on Twitter about the game being in NY/NJ and yet somehow we didn't get Bon JoviSpringsteen or Billy Joel- because they are among my favorites. I also tweeted after the U2 commercial during the game that U2 could play every year and that would be just fine with me. But I'm not just talking about Paul McCartney, Aerosmith, The Who, Prince, the late Michael JacksonTom Petty and other classic artists who have owned that stage over the years. This is not about my personal tastes. It's about earning the right to perform with 100 million people watching. Beyonce performed last year, and she had earned the right, even if she wouldn't have been my choice. The Peas (2 years ago) and Bruno had not. So who's on my list?  JT would be an obvious choice, but I assume the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction has him banned for life. Artists like Coldplay, Maroon 5, The Killers, Train, P!nk and Foo Fighters (who were in NY on Saturday night at a Super Bowl event, as was Fall Out Boy) have earned it. I am not a fan of Jay-Z, but he's earned it. And as most of you know country music is not my thing, but there are a number of country artists (Kenny Chesney, Kelly Clarkson & Zac Brown leap to mind) who have been around for many years, still do great new music, and deserve a shot at that huge stage. If Jimmy Buffett were asked to perform the Parrotheads would outbid the football fans for tickets. To be honest...and this hurts to admit...I cannot think of anyone who would absolutely kill a Super Bowl halftime show better than Garth Brooks. These are artists who have toiled for years to build their craft and make names for themselves as performers. It's not just about Bruno. I love bands like Imagine Dragons, One Republic, Mumford & Sons and Fun. Will is a huge fan of Paramore and Taking Back Sunday. But none of them have earned it either. Playing halftime at the Super Bowl should be like a lifetime achievement award. It's bigger than being asked to play the Grammys, the AMAs and the VMAs all in the same year. They are saying 111.5 million people watched this past Sunday. That is more people than will likely see Bruno in an entire lifetime of doing tours. It's one of the biggest honors in music. And it's not his fault...but Bruno cut in line.

How should we fix this next year? I would love to hear your thoughts on who should be next in line for this prestigious honor. In the meantime, Will and I have an easy solution. Invite Weird Al. Not only has he earned it through 30 amazing years in the business, but then you can hear any artist your heart desires. Just a thought...

One more thing...if they ever ask Nickleback then me and the NFL are done. For good. A man has to have standards...

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous2/05/2014

    Very interesting take on the subject. If I wrote such a post is would simply say "Bruno Mars sucks" and I would be done with it. Thank you for stirring the pot. - J.J.

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    1. Your post would have been much easier to write, for sure! And I love stirring pots...

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  2. Anonymous2/05/2014

    What about Green Day? They have the tenure and the star power to do the show.

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    1. Yes they do. Good call.

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  3. Great discussion. I think I have to disagree with you on how we choose people. I think Bruno Mars was a great choice and he convinced me of that of his performance. Where as I was excited to see The Who when they did it and was disappointed. Super Bowl is a different venue and I think some bands/performers translate well and others won't. I think it comes to a matter of opinion of who you would like to see up there.

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    1. It is indeed a matter of personal taste on who you want to see on that stage, Chris. I agree that Bruno performed well. My larger point is about who DESERVED to be there and was passed over. Thanks for weighing in!

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  4. Anonymous2/06/2014

    Everyone is talking about how Bruno Mars cut in line because he's only had 2 albums and it wasn't his turn just yet but in the past years you had performing like NSyn,Britney SpearzS,Nikki M.,MIA ,LMFAO, Cristina Aguilera, NKOTB seriously what when they preformed had 1 album maybe 2 and while you sit their and say that he wasn't experienced because he hasn't been in the business that long well what about those past performers I disagree with you and I say Bruno Mars did one hell of a job one of the best performance in years I loved it any everyone watching around me loved your just a hater if he was bad like you say then why is it that his performace has broke the record of viewer SMH and RHCP were only their because Bruno Mars invited.

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    1. 4 quick responses. I never said Bruno was first to break in line (see Black-Eyed Peas), only that he did. I said I like his music and thought he performed well- not sure how that earns me hater status. Not certain it's reasonable to give Bruno credit for the record TV ratings of the Super Bowl- the FOOTBALL teams may deserve some credit. And finally, congrats- that is the longest sentence I have ever seen. Thanks for stopping by and venting!

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    2. Anonymous2/07/2014

      I didn't say that Bruno was first to cut in line, I said everyone was saying he cut in line...Everyone in intittled to their own opinion and you asked to leave a comment!!!!

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  5. Anonymous2/07/2014

    People can say whatever they want about Bruno Mars he put on an awesome performance, plus he didn't have to show skin,twerk or us profanity..yet with that being the highest rating performances ever, but everyone is in titled to their own opinion. I enjoyed it because he's so talented and awesome and you could actually sit their with the family and watch it.He put on a very good show it had everyone dancing in my house with his variety of music didn't keep any bored. That was the worst Superbowl and the only thing about it was Bruno Mars.....

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    1. Is anyone actually READING the entire post? I am going to try this one more time...I did not bash Bruno or his performance. I simply said he hadn't earned the right to be there YET- along with many others. Agree or disagree with THAT point. So please, Bruno fans- quite defending him from someone who is not attacking him! Everyone is indeed "in titled" to their own opinion. And I do appreciate the comments.

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