Guest Post: In My Dreams (Super Bowl Halftime Shows That Could Have Been)

It is our pleasure to feature a piece by Giovanny Caquias, whose Yankee fandom I usually excuse in light of his sharp wit, vast music knowledge, and okay he actually lives in New York. Giovanny writes about all things music for Culture Blues, a site I would highly reccomend losing yourself in for a while.


I hate you, Jay-Z.

I hate you, Jay-Z.

As the football-loving world focuses its attention on the exquisitely splendid city that is New Orleans, and the gambling-loving world tries to determine which Harbaugh brother will get the most air-time during the upcoming Super Bowl, I find myself feeling somewhat empty. Don’t get me wrong; I adore the brutal and enthralling game which some call “football”, and others call “handegg”, but ever since I learned the man who coaches the team I follow is the proud bearer of a tattoo depicting his wife wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey, I’ve lost some of my passion for the gridiron. Take it from me, you should thank your deity, or your liquor bottle, that you didn’t end up a Jets fan.

Once I realized I had no real dog in the upcoming Super Bowl fight (though I’d really hate to see what Ray Lewis will do if he actually wins this game), I needed to figure out a way to keep myself interested in the game. Well, a reason other than the several grand I bet on Randy Moss doing something asinine before kick off (my time is running out!). Then, while writing about Beyonce’s lyp-synching inauguration fiasco last week (for a different web portal) it all hit me… the halftime show!!!

I enjoy Beyonce on a multitude of levels. 1) I admire how hard she has worked to achieve what she has, 2) She has actually released several songs which I consider to be downright catchy and, in some cases, even quite good, and 3) I really like to look at her, too… a great deal. Suddenly I found I had a renewed interest in America’s best showcase for commercials, and a part of me even began to pray for some kind of glorious wardrobe malfunction (which, just so we’re clear, isn’t going to happen, thanks to the 5-second delay instated after the whole Janet Jackson debacle). But in the end there was only so much time I could spend engaged in such absurdity, and my mind began to wander. I started imagining other possibilities for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show (not that we really need any), and suddenly, I found myself inspired.

With great gusto I called the illustrious Ben Van Iten… and he didn’t answer his cell. I sent him a few emails, and there was no reply. I then resorted to the only option I could think of, and started calling bars and liquor stores in Wisconsin. Needless to say I found him. I pitched Ben an idea wherein I’d come up with a list of artists who could have been reasonable halftime show alternatives for Beyonce, with the intent of keeping it humorous and pithy. His response was something unintelligible and heartbroken about Aaron Rodgers, which I took that as a yes.

So without further ado, allow me to present a not-too-serious, while still deadly severe, list of alternate halftime options for Super Bowl XLVII, along with brief descriptions of how I envision the events playing out.


20) Lil ‘B: This would never happen, but imagine that massive global television audience being held captive by the mumblings of the Based God himself. If we were truly fortunate, Lil’B would ensure there was a cameo by Keke (his recently adopted Based Cat), the first feline to ever “drop” a rap track.
Setlist: Any four of Lil’B’s two thousand (and counting) songs.


19) PSY: I have absolutely no interest in hearing Gangnam Style EVER again, and neither should you. I would, however, very much enjoy watching the drunk idiots at my Super Bowl party fall and injure themselves as they attempted to perform the moronic accompanying dance.
Setlist: One long medley of various Gangnam Style remixes.

18) Iron Maiden: Now we’re getting serious! The theatricality would be unrivaled, and spoken about for years to come. A Godzilla-sized Eddie, dressed in a mildly-Satanic football uniform, stalks around the Superdome and grabs cheerleaders in a menacing fashion before eating them, then spitting out fire. Tiny Metal-God Bruce Dickinson wails like a banshee and runs around the enormous stage for twenty minutes, as Steve Harris does that annoying “pretending his bass is a gun” thing, all the while Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, and Janick Gers melt the faces off of millions. All of that awesome would take up permanent residence on my DVR.
Setlist: Run To The Hills, The Clairvoyant, Number Of The Beast, Fear of The Dark

17) Animal Collective: A treat for the current bearded, drug-addled, vanguard, Animal Collective’s stage design would be comprised of multicolored lights, projections of people eating fruit in slow-motion, tie-dyed representations of aquatic creatures, and some neon trees, all within what could best be described as a giant smiling mouth with teeth resembling candy. The band would come out in costumes, confusing the old people in your family and scaring the children, before delivering uninterrupted adventurous and truly modern psychedelic music, then leaving the stage without saying a word. Truly, truly magical.
Setlist: For Reverend Green, Peacebone, My Girls, Brothersport

16) Odd Future: Tyler, The Creator, brings out the sixty-four members of Odd Future (though it should be noted that Frank Ocean pretended to be sick), and proceeds to shock white America to its very core. Somewhere between the lyrics about raping your grandmother and the fistfight Hodgy Beats gets into with a CBS cameraman, grey haired squares would turn off their televisions all around this nation, and patiently wait for the halftime show to be over before returning to the game. Needless to say, many letters are then written to CBS by nearsighted old people who still insist on writing letters.
Setlist: Rello, Yonkers, Earl, Oldie (I would like to point out, however, that rampant censorship would make many of these songs indecipherable)

15) Nine Inch Nails: Although he’s been keeping busy making music for various forms of media, and dropping albums with his other band with (How To Destroy Angels), even Trent knows what his greatest sonic achievement is. Reznor would make sure to pull out all the stops for his “comeback” performance: ball-gagged dwarfs draped in animal skins would slither across the stage, used prosthetic limbs (which Trent collects) would give the decor a generally unnerving feel, and a desperate-for-attention Marilyn Manson would self-flagellate throughout the proceedings.
Setlist: Head Like A Hole, March Of The Pigs, We’re In this Together, a heavily edited version of Closer.

14) Jack White: A highly temperamental genius, Jack White would get into an argument with producers before taking the stage, and then proceed to deliver a very petulant set of garage-tinged gems for the viewing public. White would even cut his last song short in order to lambast the buffoonery of the production staff, and let the gathered audience know how stupid it is to watch grown millionaires play a child’s game. The boos would be deafening, but in the end, fans of White will still consider him messianic.
Setlist: Seven Nation Army, The Hardest Button To Button, Ball And Biscuit, Hotel Yorba

13) The Black Keys: To this day I still don’t know what all of you see in this band. For nearly the entirety of their mini-set I’d find myself sitting in my living room, watching my guests get excited by these dudes while I suffered through great confusion. Songs I’m familiar with would play, and perhaps my guests would even sing along at points. Once I was over my confusion I would check out my various social internet-things till the show was over.
Setlist: The four Black Keys songs which you love the most.

12) Katy Perry, Rihanna, Ke$ha: I like to think of this showcase as “Sluts United”. The songs would pretty much all be terrible, the stage design would be garish and gaudy, but the outfits would be unbelievable! This highly-inappropriate spectacle would break records for both thinly-veiled double entendres and FCC fines. The highlight of the ladies’ combined set would be the extended final breakdown, when they all fake hysterical-orgasms in harmony.
Setlist: I Kissed A Girl (And I Liked It), S&M, Your Love Is My Drug, Unison Orgasms

Chris Culliver is not down with this

Chris Culliver is not down with this

11) Frank Ocean: Just kidding, the NFL would never allow someone who identified themselves as gay, or even bi, to perform at their halftime show (I know what you’re thinking, but Michael Jackson was a VERY special case). It’s too bad though, because Ocean is a remarkable talent, and one of the industry’s fastest rising, brightest shining, stars.
Setlist: Thinkin Bout You, Sweet Life, Novacane, Pyramids

10) Flaming Lips: If you’ve never had a chance to see the Flaming Lips live, then you don’t know how obvious a choice this is (also, you need to see the Flaming Lips live immediately). A massive circular screen in the center of the stage would project the image of a negative-tinted woman, who would spread her legs and give birth to a clear white plastic orb containing singer Wayne Coyne. Coyne would make his way toward the audience in his orb, and be passed around the field of the Superdome, before returning to the stage and launching into a set of glorious music, all while shooting confetti out of cannons from a stage packed with people dressed up as characters from the Wizard Of Oz ( all of this actually happens at their shows). The only drawback to the Lips is that the start of the second half would have be delayed in order to pick up the mess.
Setlist: Fight Test, Race For The Prize, Yoshimi Battles Pink Robots Pt.1, Do You Realize??

9) Coldplay: I would leave the room, nay, the house(!) once the first half ended. People would try to tell me how Coldplay’s show went. I would neither care nor listen.
Setlist: Radiohead Rip-Off #25, Uninspired Alternative Song #54, That Song They Stole From That Williamsburg Band, The Scientist (even I enjoy that track)

8) Green Day: Billie Joe Armstrong would get permission to leave his rehab facility, and reunite with his bandmates to play a bunch of songs about getting wrecked, or possibly masturbating. This experience would cause Billy Joe to relapse an- you know what? Let’s leave Billie Joe in rehab, so he can receive the help he needs. I’m sure the NFL doesn’t want Armstrong’s well-being on its conscience… nor those of retired players (OH SNAP!).
Setlist: Welcome To Paradise, When I Come Around, Basket Case, Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)

7) Foo Fighters: The Foo Fighters would have been a pretty safe choice, and I suspect when their recent “hiatus” is over the band will shortly thereafter find itself playing a Super Bowl halftime show. I love and respect Dave Grohl, so I won’t mock him, and if hard pressed I can think of a few Foo Fighters songs which I remember enjoying once. So I suppose this is a solid enough suggestion… as long as Grohl leaves all the Sound City stuff at the door.
Setlist: This Is A Call, Monkey Wrench, Best Of You, Everlong

6) Lil Wayne: This particular made-up halftime extravaganza is among my favorites. The entire Cash Money crew would come out for this affair (The Super Bowl is in Nawlins, after all), and we at home would be treated to the legitimate talents of Weezy, the bountiful assets of Nicki Minaj, and the glorious visage of Drake. There would be a steady rain of syrup coming down through the entire performance, for reasons no one can understand there would be numerous cars driving around the stage and, to top it all off, Lil’ Wayne would stand on a piano towards the end and attempt to play the guitar.
Setlist: Lollipop, 6 Foot 7, H.Y.F.R, 3 Peat,

5) Pearl Jam: I’m not sure if you’re aware of this but a few years back (somewhere around 2005) Pearl Jam became America’s elder statesmen of Rock N’ Roll. Think about it for a second: Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and Aerosmith are quite far removed from their better days, while R.E.M has broken up and KISS doesn’t have the catalogue. Bearing all that in mind, Pearl Jam would be a perfect choice for a half-time show (I’m being totally serious here). Sure, their stage design would be minimal, and there would be very little pomp and ceremony, but the band would have more than enough great tunes to make people of my generation tear up as they remember the nostalgic spoils of our bygone era.
Setlist: Corduroy, Even Flow, Daughter, Alive

4) Arcade Fire: If we are to believe what the internet has to say, then indie music is, like, the most important thing in, like, the whole entire world. #hipsterdom! Well if that’s the case nothing could possibly be more cool than having the patron saints of indie bands playing the Super Bowl (it’s simple math really). Canada’s favorite American (Win Butler is actually from Texas) would lead his wife, brother, and thirty other bandmates through a set of songs that are actually much better than people give them credit for and, in doing so, convert millions of people into Arcade Fire fans. What unfortunately follows is an entire year of people being extremely late to the Arcade Fire party, and insisting on acting like they’re “with it”.
Setlist: Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), Keep The Car Running, Ready to Start, Rebellion (Lies)

"Hey CBS, I got some ideas!"

“Hey CBS, I got some ideas!”

3) Lady Gaga: Earlier in this countdown I stated Frank Ocean would never be allowed to perform at the Super Bowl because of how vocal he has been about his sexual orientation. Such a stipulation might’ve held true for Gaga too (who knows what she ultimately prefers), but as she is one of the biggest stars in the world the NFL might make a concession ($$$). That’s a good thing too, because Gaga’s pageant of lunacy would be incredible. America would be awed by the outfits, flummoxed by the androgynous ambiguity of the backup dancers, and possibly even titillated in ways it never expected. The whole affair even ends with Gaga giving birth to a robotic unicorn during the finale. Who doesn’t want to see that?
Setlist: Just Dance, Bad Romance, Born This Way, Poker Face

2) Skrillex: Did you know Roger Goodell was a huge fan of EDM? Well he’s not, but let’s imagine he is. After throwing a fit, and putting his foot down during the meetings meant to decide the Super Bowl’s entertainment, the Commissioner eventually got his way. It seems he’s an intensely hip rich-dude, and wants the NFL to showcase the world’s fastest-growing music genre. Goodell even makes sure to get his hands on the best ecstasy possible, breaks out his candy jewelry, ‘90s Dr. Seuss hat, and massive JNCOs, before heading to the foam party taking place in his luxury box. Skrillex would be far less interesting to watch, because all he would do is push some buttons and blow out your television’s sound system.
Setlist: My Name Is Skrillex, Scary Monsters And Sprites, First Of The Year, Bangarang

1) Kanye West: When I began this list I instantly knew who the number one choice was going to be. Let’s start with the man’s outfit – Kanye would wear a two-toned leather suit, half red and half purple in order to pay homage to the teams involved in the game. Instead of a dress shirt, West would be wearing a jersey underneath the jacket… his own jersey, for his own pretend football team (he’s the coach, G.M., quarterback, wide receiver, safety, and mascot). His shoes would be exact replicas of the sandals which Jesus preferred to wear, except Kanye’s are made of the broken dreams of those who doubted him. Finally the entire ensemble would be topped off by some choice accessories: a thick-as-rope gold chain forged from the grills of lesser emcees, a Kanye West signature scarf, and a crown of laurel leaves once worn by Julius Caesar.

After spending several hours in the mirror having people dress him, while others whisper things in his ear like “Remember, thou art greatness”, Kanye would be handed his single-use diamond-mic (they’re disposable to West) and step onto a stage decorated like Mt. Olympus (if Mt. Olympus was in space and rendered in platinum). There would be an entire orchestra (dressed up as historical “ballas”), ballet dancers (dressed up as historical “dime-pieces”), and a multitude of machines pumping out colorful and glittery smoke.

West would take a moment to admire the audience, while allowing the audience to admire him, before bringing the mic to his lips and delivering a spellbinding string of hits which tear the roof off the Superdome. It would be the greatest and most luxurious musical circus ever seen, and the craziest moment would be when West implores us – even those of us at watching from home – to look under our seats, where we find the Hermes scarves he left as gifts!
Setlist: Power, Touch The Sky, Gold Digger, Stronger,


Well, that’s it! I’d like to thank you all for indulging me in this absurdity, and taking a second away from speculating as to whether or not Ray Lewis poured deer urine on his torn tricep. I hope that all of you enjoy the game on Sunday, and even manage to dig Beyonce’s performance (and the not-at-all-secret Destiny’s Child reunion). Though, while you are nodding your head to Crazy In Love I hope you consider how awesome it would have been if there was a demon eating cheerleaders on the screen, or a woman giving birth to a robot unicorn, or a five hundred dollar scarf under your seat.


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3 responses to “Guest Post: In My Dreams (Super Bowl Halftime Shows That Could Have Been)

  1. This was a great read. The idea of an Iron Maiden or Flaming Lips Super Bowl halftime show had never occurred to me, but now that it has, its glorious image won’t leave my head.

  2. Brian

    Awesome job. The Kanye write-up had me laughing.

  3. Luke Johnson

    Good news: you’re off the hook with that Moss bet. He declared himself to be the best WR ever the other day, much to the confusion of Jerry Rice.