Bruce Springsteen looked into the camera Sunday night and told the people watching at home to “put the chicken fingers down and turn the television all the way up!”
Springsteen then threw himself into his four-song set, a highly anticipated series of songs that had Las Vegas oddsmakers taking bets on which tunes he’d select. He opened with “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” and worked in one of his trademark across-the-stage knee slides.
The move wasn’t without risk: He slid into one of the on-stage cameras, and seemed to be winded when he transitioned into “Born to Run.”
Next up was his newest piece, “Working on a Dream,” which was backed by a choir. He then closed out with a playful version of “Glory Days” that fittingly altered the lyrics to fit the occasion: Springsteen’s old high school buddy was “a big football player” instead of “baseball,” and threw a “Hail Mary” instead of a “speed ball.”
He and guitarist Steven Van Zandt then toyed with the crowd as the show came to an end, looking at their watches as the clock wound down. Worried they were about to hit “penalty time,” (a referee even raced out and threw a yellow flag), they closed it out right on time.
“I’m going to Disneyland!” the 59-year-old rocker shouted at the end.
Springsteen is riding a new wave of exposure and popularity, playing for President Barack Obama in Washington before the inauguration, releasing his 24th album this week and winning a Golden Globe award for his song from the Mickey Rourke movie “The Wrestler.”
In 1988, Chubby Checker was the first popular musician to perform at halftime, and Michael Jackson raised the bar in 1993. His sister Janet provided the show’s most infamous moment with 2004’s “wardrobe malfunction.”
The show was directed by Don Mischer, who has directed opening and closing ceremonies for two Olympic Games, as well as last month’s inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial.