NFL PUNTS ON COLDPLAY

We may never know who got cold feet about the booking of Coldplay as the halftime act for the 50th edition of the Super Bowl, but Chris Martin & Co. had a quick four and out in Sunday’s presentation dominated by Beyonce’s new single, Bruno Mars’ Grammy-nominated record and images of past Super Bowl performers.

Coldplay got in four songs—”Viva La Vida,” “Paradise,” “Adventure of a Lifetime” and “Fix You”—on a set filled with brightly colored psychedelic designs and an army of violinists decked out in Pepsi blue and red. Like many a Coldplay concert that thrives on smooth segues to crete a buoyant vibe, those five minutes were clearly arcing toward something bigger and punchier; “Uptown Funk!” served that role, stealing the show with a rack probably every person in the stands at Levi’s Stadium knows better than any Coldplay song.

Mars got to stretch “Funk” to nearly its full running time, immediately giving the feeling Coldplay got short shrift. Shift from the stage to midfield and suddenly we have Beyonce, lined up with dancers and drummers, launching into “Formation,” the track she dropped a day earlier. Eventually a mashup of “Uptown Funk!” and “Formation” unfolded and by the time Martin made his way back to the stage, he was relegated to singing snippets of songs by Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Prince. Then we saw images of the past—Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Springsteen, James Brown—and as if to be even more poignant, producers save the departed acts for last. Rousing as the finale was, there was an overriding impression that the producers believe they don’t make ‘em like they used to.

A 14 minute show and Coldplay, the headliners promoted five times during the pre-game and the game itself, got a little more than one-third of that stage time. They deserved better.

But the Super Bowl is never just a shot at getting your music fed to 100 million people in one shot. Beyonce announced pre-sales start Feb. 16 for her next tour; Coldplay started selling tickets to their summer tour on 2/5; and CBS has new Bruno Mars footage to promote next week’s Grammys.

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