One of my readers suggested that since I was so down on the Who during the Super Bowl that I should make a list of performers who could pull off a half-time performance at next year's Super Bowl.
Now, as I stated in my previous blog, it would be nice if the music industry would nurture a new band or singer who really had the staying power of the bands of old. But you look out at what has become a major success story in the past few decades and there isn't much that fits the bill for mass entertainment. Nearly everyone is a cult artist.
With that in mind, here's what I think could work. Keep in mind, just because I placed them on this list does NOT mean I like their music. It only means I think they have what it takes to potentially pull off something the whole family will be talking about. Will I like it? Probably not. But then what do I like these days?
Don't yell at me that most of them are so old. Everyone I'd really want has trouble selling out small clubs, never mind a football stadium. What is the sound of one hand clapping? Why, that's me at a show.
I'm leaving Bon Jovi and the Dave Matthews Band off the list because I don't want to send that vibe out into the universe.
10) David Bowie: Ever since his heart attack in 2004, Bowie's been quite low key, but perhaps the doctor could OK his return to the stage for this 12 minute performance, where he could put on quite a theatrical performance. Or he could just stand still. He has the catalog and he's played with so many people over the years, it isn't like he has to bring back a specific group. He can bring back ghosts.
Black Eyed Peas: Will.i.am had a promo spot where they featured his remix of the Who's "My Generation," so his name is in the rolodex and should the Super Bowl Entertainment Committee decide to go with an act that's not at least 50 years old, this is probably who we would get. I figure the choreography, the outfits and the light show could be pretty spectacular! As long as Fergie can keep her top on, everything should be fine. Since they don't represent any kind of "legacy," it ain't like we'll be worried if they lip-sync.
8) Pearl Jam and Soundgarden: It would be so like the Super Bowl Entertainment Committee to not allow just one of these groups to play. They'd cite the fact that Soundgarden lack "mainstream appeal," so their reunion would have to be reinforced by Pearl Jam. Matt Cameron would be the only person who doesn't have to leave his position for the entire 12 minutes. Look on the bright side, in another 20 years, whatever remains of Metallica will be allowed to play!
Van Halen With David Lee Roth: This one comes with conditions. David Lee Roth must be ambulatory. He must be able to do at least two decent leg kicks and he must annoy the hell out of Eddie on stage, so that Edward swears never again. Also, Michael Anthony must be included. I don't care how great Wolfgang Van Halen is. If he wasn't playing bass on the first six Van Halen albums--and he surely wasn't--then he doesn't play in the reunion. Tough love here. Or else. If they're a travesty, it would be an entertaining one.
6) The Eagles: Steely Dan would be a solid pick. But their quirky, evil ways might not translate to a huge hall, while the Eagles would gladly sit on stools and "entertain" us for 12 minutes. Their stage manner was once described as "loitering," but every single person on Earth knows their songs. "Hotel California" may make you feel like stabbing your ears out, but that's never stopped them before.
Peter Gabriel: Yes, Gabriel will have to play "Sledgehammer," "In Your Eyes" and "Solsbury Hill," but he'll do it with a budget-busting spectacular that will give the stage crew hernias. If he kicks Phil Collins' bald head that would be special and worth three points.
4) Pink Floyd: If people are willing to experience Laser Floyd where the band isn't even present, surely they'd be willing to accept David Gilmour and Nick Mason and an incredible light show. Pink Floyd adapted to stadiums back when everyone else was still figuring out how to play in huge concert halls. If Roger Waters attends, maybe he say something really bitter and dour and completely ruin the festive mood.
Fleetwood Mac: While there are those of you who will call for the Peter Green version of the band, the Super Bowl Entertainment Committee will demand it be the Lindsey Buckingham-Stevie Nicks version of the group. That was the version that sold a quintillion records and can still be seen in late night TV ads.
2) Up With People: They performed at the Superbowl in 1976, 1980, 1982 and 1986 and if you people don't start behaving yourselves, they'll bring them back in 2012, just in time for the end of the world. And if the world doesn't actually end, it will still feel like it.
Neil Young: Do we dare let this unpredictable Canadian on the stage? If we do, there's going to be a groundswell of support (what is that, by the way?) for Aldo Nova, Rush and Honeymoon Suite within minutes of the last ring of feedback, as Young finishes up 12 minutes of "Down By The River." Young's a better bet than Bob Dylan. Even Dylan's hardcore fans can't decide whether or not he was paying attention half the time.