Another year, another Halftime show. With the latest Superbowl mid-game extravaganza just a few hours away, it’s the aptest of occasions to reflect on the undeniable blueprint of what a Halftime performance should be. As such, Michael Jackson‘s 1993 showing is this week’s From The Vault pick.
Hot on the promotional trail for his ‘Dangerous’ album, the late, great superstar was offered the slot following the lackluster ratings generated by his predecessors.
Already crowned the King, the genesis of modern Pop seized the moment to reaffirm why he was (and still is) the bar and the benchmark.
After making an explosive entrance (on a toaster….naturally), the stage titan stood still for 90 scintillating seconds before bursting into ‘Dangerous’ smash ‘Jam.’ Rousing renditions of classics ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Black Or White’ quickly followed.
Famed for his philanthropical and humanitarian work, Jackson closed the set with a hymn-like sing-along to ‘We Are The World’ and ‘Heal The World’ – with a choir of comprised of over three thousand.
Like most things Jackson touched, this showing forever changed the scope of live performance and arguably the entertainment industry at large. Indeed, following the 1993 ratings touchdown, the Superbowl Halftime has become the definitive destination for high-octane showings by music’s biggest names.
What’s more, between interest in the big game and the buzz about Halftime, the Bowl has become a mecca of sorts for advertisers who plunge millions into commercials which run during the show. Put simply, the event has morphed from a sports phenomenon into a global, Pop cultural experience. Something Michael Jackson was instrumental in.
[Side note: Even the chronology of the setlist (cannonball opening into a mellower, ballad flavored end) has been adopted by almost every Halftime headliner that has followed – including Madonna]
With Beyonce and Bruno Mars set to return to rock the stage with Coldplay tonight, it’ll be interesting to see which way Mike’s influence will be used this time around.
Long live the King Of Pop!