For those who just rocked
Although it was announced last November, The Whoâ€™s performance during the Super Bowl halftime show was still a shock.
Not only was the 360 degree light-up stage and laser show one of the grandest in Super Bowl history but the remaining members of one of rockâ€™s greatest acts managed to pull off playing songs that under other circumstances might seem more sad than epic.
With one country-themed exception, 1990s Super Bowl halftime shows were either Disney-sponsored pop acts (1991â€™s New Kids on the Block and 1995â€™s Miami Sound Machine) or soulful singers of yore (1998â€™s The Temptations and 1999â€™s Chaka Khan).
In the last decade, however, the halftime show producers have acknowledged the football eventâ€™s mostly-older, white audience and opted for more classic rock acts such as U2, The Rolling Stones and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
The Who fit this post-millennial bill, but instead of Mick Jagger prancing around on a tongue-shaped stage or Bruce Springsteen hyping us into â€śputting the chicken fingers down,â€ť Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend played it cool and let their impressive medley trigger the surrounding visual display.
To the chagrin of epileptic football fans, The Whoâ€™s set was accompanied by green and blue lasers that shot from the rafters like a Jennifer Lopez â€śWaiting For Tonightâ€ť music video and the circular stage pulsated with white, red and blue neon like a Who-themed Simon.
So what if itâ€™s weird to watch old guys belt out youth-tinged tunes like â€śTeenage Wastelandâ€ť and â€śPinball Wizard.â€ť Where previous halftime performances relied on flamboyant visual displays and full-frontal â€śwardrobe malfunctionsâ€ť for entertainment, the Tommy-ending set and palpable-after-all-these-years chemistry between Daltrey and Townshend helped make this yearâ€™s halftime show a scandal-free comeback worth actually listening to.