Concert Reviews

Culture Club: A Few Thoughts on Madonna's Halftime Performance

If I had to explain Madonna's Super Bowl performance in one word that isn't followed by question marks and exclamation points, it would be synergy. She was in a commercial before the event, and her new song, "Give Me All Your Luvin'" was featured afterwards. OK, fine, the Super Bowl is commerce, and Madonna has a new album coming out.

But props to her for using that budget to go fucking Broadway with it, BECAUSE SHE CAN. The whole Roman soldier-themed show was pulled together by Madge's longtime creative director Jamie King, and it had the slick feel of something orchestrated, literally, from the ground up. Madonna appeared as a sort of alien gladiator queen to the strains of "Vogue," complete with her own army, and though I haven't really been excited about Madonna in a while, I got excited. As a kid growing up in the '80s and '90s, the image of her making out with Jesus in the "Like a Prayer" video is burned in my Catholic-schooled memory much like those (synergy alert!) Vogue magazine covers were burned in the stage.

Then she segued into "Music," with a special appearance by LMFAO. C'mon, people. Why do they get to keep being relevant? (Synergy alert: They are Berry Gordy's son and grandson, and that is apparently why!) I felt like that was the one misstep of the show. Even the dude dancing on that tightrope was more exciting than seeing those two ridiculous Fraggles bobble-heading around the stage. Where is the trap door? Stop making me sad about music, LMFAO.

Her new single from MDNA features Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., who appaeared as cheerleaders on her left and right. Quite appropriate. M.I.A. took that time to give everyone the middle finger. Cool! I guess that was to be ... expected? I mean, the Super Bowl entertainment brain trust knows who she is, right? Still, an awesome trinity of ladies. The only thing that would have made it better is if M.I.A. started waving a gun around.

"Open Your Heart" and "Like a Prayer" with Cee-Lo were OK, but I was really hoping Grace Jones popped out of his sternum, Alien-style.

I noticed after the performance on various social media outlets that (straight) men made fun of her, and women loved it. Sounds about right. That's always been Madonna's divide, but it's nice to know she can still cleave a crowd like that, and throw a middle finger to her haters, who still feel the need to comment on her looks and age even though she's apparently not relevant anymore. Well, commenting on her doesn't make her less relevant.

I thought it was one of the better halftime performances I've seen in the past decade, though I really wanted to see LMFAO shot into space forever, via two cannons attached to Madonna's bra. Maybe on her upcoming tour? Maybe Richard Branson can be involved? Let's make it happen. (Synergy!)

Oh, Mixmaster has a few more thoughts on the ads and non-football highlights here.