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Feb. 8, 2005

It's a touchdown for McCartney

by Grace Harter, Page Editor
For those not so sports-inclined, the Super Bowl is about two things: the halftime show and the creative advertisements. This year, thank goodness, was a great deal less controversial than the embarrassment that was Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson's halftime show last year. Former Beatle Paul McCartney was wisely chosen as this year's halftime show entertainment-- a good choice, considering his legend enables him to carry the halftime show by himself and he manages to put on a good show without resorting to blatant sexuality and lewdness.

McCartney, in the simplest terms, is a family-friendly entertainer. He appeals to the middle-aged generation who remember him from his Beatle glory days as well as those neo-Beatlemaniac teenagers who suddenly started sweeping the nation after the Beatles' 40th anniversary last year.

For the show, McCartney shrewdly chose four of his biggest hits ("Drive My Car," "Get Back," "Live and Let Die" and "Hey Jude”). He performed them all in the middle of a cross-like stage that displayed video footage during the songs. Unfortunately, the footage for "Drive My Car" made the performance look like a car commercial, but McCartney played it off well, grooving as much as his 62-year-old body and FCC regulations would allow.

"Live and Let Die" and "Hey Jude" were the most spectacular songs of the night, each with crowd participation and a series of neat effects. "Live and Let Die" employed fireworks and flashing lights during its loud and famous riff, a good choice because the song doesn't stand very well on its own. In every performance of "Live and Let Die," there has almost always been a fantastic firework show or some sort of display to offset the lame lyrics of the song.
McCartney plays at the Super Bowl.
McCartney plays at the Super Bowl.

Finally, McCartney ended his 12-minute performance with the old crowd-pleaser "Hey Jude." Mindful of its sentimental value and popularity, McCartney turned the song over to the crowd later on in the number and listened excitedly as the audience sang each and every lyric back to him correctly. "NA NA NA" was spelled out in red, white and blue in the stadium crowd, not as a taunt to either team but as a tribute to the song's chorus. For a song by a British rocker, ”Hey Jude” came off surprisingly American and patriotic.

While Paul McCartney was tame and fun, the ads didn't fare so well. None stood out save a creative few. It isn't quite clear if this says something about the companies or the FCC; either most advertising firms found themselves lost after realizing they'd have to clean up their ads or the FCC cracked down so much that it squeezed the life out of otherwise fun ads. It's probably a little bit of both.

Anheuser-Busch aired the most ads of the night, including some clever ones for Bud Light involving sky-divers and a fun one for Heineken featuring Brad Pitt chased by thousands of paparazzi. FedEx and Kinko's had one of the best ads of the night featuring Burt Reynolds and a dancing bear, two ingredients essential for a good Super Bowl ad, we are told (the actual product is unnecessary).

Other ads fell flat, such as a creepy ad from Go featuring a girl busting out of her top and a so-weird-it-might-be-good ad by Emerald Nuts which included a father telling his daughter that if he shared his snack, the Easter Bunny would get "whacked."

It was a good night for Patriot fans but not so spectacular for Eagles fans and non-sport centric people. In past years, the Super Bowl has been filled to the brim with clever ads, but it's sadly not the case anymore. While Paul McCartney may have provided a respite in the middle of dull ads and confusing plays, it was quite brief. Perhaps the Super Bowl should have quarter shows next year.

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  • meh on February 9, 2005 at 10:28 AM
    the game, the show, and the sommercials were all less than average this year. pretty boring.
  • Nick Falgout (View Email) on February 9, 2005 at 7:25 PM
    Yeah, I'm gonna have to go ahead and kind of...disagree, with you there. Mhm. Yeah.

    It's sad when idols fall so far as McCartney allowed himself to by agreeing to this. Yawn, sigh, etc.

  • !!! on February 9, 2005 at 9:39 PM
    Actually, Paul was amazing. Grace, you win.
  • The Edge on February 9, 2005 at 9:45 PM
    The greatest Superbowl halftime show was, and will always be, U2. Just have them perform at the half ever year I say.
  • . on February 14, 2005 at 11:25 PM
    you guys are morons, the beatles were the greatest badn ever and the halftime show, although not THAT great, was much better than some janet jackson crap or U2, whose extremely overrated. their new album sucks.
  • blazerette on February 28, 2005 at 1:00 PM
    U2 has never been good. all their songs sound the same. NOTHING compares to the Beatles. and Paul Mccartney's performance was awesome! way better then any body elses performance in years.
  • Noo on March 9, 2005 at 9:23 PM
    I turned the TV off when they started showing the halftime show. The Beatles are ok...but McCartney by himself isn't so great.
  • Jackie (View Email) on December 20, 2006 at 12:22 AM
    U2's perfomance is probably one of the most touching, hearfelt, and emotional in the history of the superbowl. Just watch it before you judge
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