U2 at the Superbowl

I love the Superbowl. I watch it every year, both for the game and for the commercials. As a Seattle Seahawks fan, I’ve had little interest in the outcome of the game most years, but I will be screaming loudly come game time this year, as I was last year. My memories of most games fade into nothingness so many times, and it takes something special to remind me of a game.

Of course I refer to the Superbowl in January 2002. The halftime show - normally pretty lame - was special because U2 were appearing. I can’t tell you who the two teams were that year, but I can tell you it was in New Orleans. The show is too short of course, getting 15 minutes or less each year, so that you only get a taste of the band that is appearing. They presumably play their greatest hits, or most well-known songs. In 2002 U2 played Beautiful Day, the hit song from their currently-touring album, then MLK and Streets.

Why MLK? Well, if you hadn’t guessed from the date, it was just a few months after 9/11, and this was the band’s tribute to that moment. I’ve talked before about them paying tribute during One and Walk On, and how emotional that was. Apparently they decided to use MLK as that emotion point in the Superbowl, with the banner raising in the background reflecting names of victims. A powerful moment once again, although I must admit that it did not bring the emotion that I had experienced in the arena during the Elevation tour.

I wonder to this day if the families of victims knew if that was happening in concert, or if it was going to happen at the Superbowl. I hope so, because I can’t imagine how shocking it would be to see without prior warning. I am even bothered by it a little now, as I read some of the names and wonder that question. 

I was surprised in watching the video on YouTube to see the banner collapse at the end. I had totally forgotten that had happened, and looking back now it looks to me like one of the twin towers collapsing. I don’t know if that was accidental or intentional, I hope it was an accident because if it was done on purpose then it was in bad taste (of course now I google it and the suggestion is that it was on purpose, and the purpose was for the names to shine across the crowd and the roof, like in the concerts. Hmm, still not sure about it).

U2 returned to New Orleans after Katrina of course, to do the show to reopen the Superdome, along with Green Day. I’ll cover that later in the year, but that performance was perhaps even better than the Superbowl itself. I want to say that it was somehow much more emotional, but that idea might detract from 9/11. Can I say that I’d already had that experience in the U2 concerts before the Superbowl, so it didn’t have as much impact as the new performance with Green Day did?

And one final thing I have to say today: Go Hawks!

My rating for U2 at the Superbowl: 8 / 10