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Bruno Mars smashes Super Bowl set; Chili Peppers heat up show

Posted by Emily Wright  February 2, 2014 08:01 PM

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Bruno Mars smashed that Super Bowl XLVIII halftime set.

A group of kids kicked off the show and sang the opening verse to the Travie McCoy hit "Billionaire" (sung by Mars) before the lights came up on the man of the (quarter) hour.

Mars picked up the mellow pace set by his young openers by playing the drum line for "Locked Out of Heaven" while seated behind a mobile drum set. Then he took viewers (and audience members) down a road of his most memorable hits, including "Treasure"; he jammed with rock legends the Red Hot Chili Peppers to "Give It Away"; and wrapped the whole thing up with "Just the Way You Are." Oh, and oodles of fireworks over MetLife Stadium.

In other words, as a friend just put it, Bruno Mars gave us a better show in those few minutes than Peyton Manning did in the game's first half.


There was one thing missing, though: "Gorilla." Mars's latest, sex-laden single was noticeably absent from the lineup. We're guessing it might have had something to do with the sensual undertones, but if Beyonce can open her Grammy performance of "Drunk in Love" (which she performed with Jay Z at a pre-Super Bowl bash on Saturday), we think Mars could have gotten away with at least a piece of the chorus from his song. Check out the "Gorilla" lyrics, and let us know if you agree below.

Chili Pepper fans may have felt slighted since the group only performed one song, but everyone has to remember that the band was added as an addendum, and Mars let the group come out and do their thing. RHCP performed pretty much the entire song (in conjunction with Mars and his band, The Hooligans), started a raucous jump sesh, and maybe, most importantly, allowed Mars to catch his breath before closing out the show at midfield.

RHCP highlight No. 2: Anthony Kiedis and Flea, both 51, rocked the stage shirtless and looked good enough to make people restart their New Year's resolutions.

Here's a rundown of the set list for the 14-plus minute halftime show:

1. "Billionaire" (Mars is featured on the Travie McCoy original)
2. "Locked Out of Heaven" (complete with Mars drum solo)
3. "Treasure" (Mars proved he wasn't lip syncing with this uptempo track)
4. "Runaway Baby" (not his most well-known, but proved jam-worthy with some James Brown dance moves from Mars himself)
5. "Give It Away" (performed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, courtesy of a Mars intro)
6. "Just the Way You Are" (with a military spotlight showing service men and women who were sending messages to loved ones during the song's intro)

Was this year's halftime performance better than last year's Destiny's Child reunion? Let me know in the comments.

Emily Wright can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @missemilywright.

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Sarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

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Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.

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