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Just as it began to rain, the halftime performance opened with a handful of children holding hands and singing the hook of “Billionaire,” Mars’ breakout song with Travis McCoy. Mars then emerged slamming on a drum set, wearing a gold blazer that matched those of his band members.
The musician first picked up his mic to belt out “Locked Out of Heaven” as his Hooligans band members bounced around the stage with their instruments, as they do on his recently extended Moonshine Jungle tour. The Unorthodox Jukebox Grammy winner then launched into golden-lit “Treasure,” followed by “Runaway Baby” blended with Barrett Strong‘s 1960 hit “Money (That’s What I Want)” and featuring Mars’ signature tight choreography.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers then jumped off the drum set — clearly not minding the cold temperatures at the outdoor stadium, since they were shirtless, and sporting comic-printed tights under their shorts — and kicked off with a “Give It Away” performance that got everybody onstage jumping a foot high.
Just before Mars closed the halftime show with “Just the Way You Are,” a reel of videos showed shout-outs from members of the the U.S. armed forces dedicating the song to their loved ones, followed by an impressive display of fireworks.
In a press conference ahead of the Super Bowl, Mars prefaced that he’d stay true to his usual laid-back big-band aesthetic.
“No matter where I perform, it’s my job to uplift the people — whether I’m performing at a graduation party, wedding, bar mitzvah, Grammys, Super Bowl, I’m gonna give it all I got,” he told reporters at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater in New York City on Jan. 30. of the halftime gig, noting that his favorite halftime acts to date include Beyonce, Prince, Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen. “I don’t trapeze and all that stuff. I hope to get people dancing and get people smiling. if you ever come to my shows, it’s just us up there with these songs and our instruments. I hope that’s enough.”
Mars also explained how he chose his co-performers. “The first band I thought of was the Red Hot Chili Peppers — I’ve been a fan of theirs for such a long time, I admire their career,” he recalled when the NFL presented him with the opportunity. “They’re a soulful band — and not just musically, but as people. I sat down with Flea, and he’s so passionate about music. Even to this day, doing it for so long, he’s still so passionate about creating music and performing. I want to surround myself with guys like that forever, and it’s an honor to share the stage with them. They’re one of my personal favorite bands of all time.”
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