About Super Bowl halftime shows

This is not an old-guy rant. Honestly. Well, maybe a little.

This is more the rant of a musician who’s played on stage and enjoys the live music scene as both a musician and an audience member.

So, we’ve just had Super Bowl 57 (it was holding) with Rihanna performing the halftime show on a stage that evoked memories of video games Super Smash Bros or Joust (remember that one?).

Rihanna about to square off against Bowser and Mario

I am really not familiar with her music catalogue. So, this is not so much about her style or lyrical content, although I guess “B____ better have my money” qualifies as family entertainment these days. Her pop-R&B-hip hop-electronic dance music style is not to my taste, so this is not about that either.

I’m aware that the halftime show at the Super Bowl is not intended for guys like me. It’s not even intended for football fans. It’s meant to draw a wide audience in so that Apple Music (this year’s sponsor) or Bridgestone Tires or Pepsi can move more product.

Therefore, I will resign myself to the fact that the artists selected moving forward (ever since The Who played the stage in 2010) will not be in my stack of records.

You want to know what my biggest beef with the halftime entertainment is?

It’s not live music.

Rihanna, gyrating around with her team of dancers on suspended trusses flying up and down (this actually was pretty cool), lip-synced her entire performance. So, it was not even karaoke. It was fake karaoke.

Not live music.

I’d honestly rather hear a great college marching band than see what passes for pop entertainment these days.

Maybe it isn’t supposed to be live. I’m aware that with many pop music acts, choreographed dance moves are part and parcel of the act. So much so, that often at concerts artists don’t actually sing. If you’ve ever heard a live feed of some of these singers from a show, it’s probably for the best that their mics are muted.

I know the producers want to eliminate all chance of mistakes and mic drop-outs and technical glitches, so they put everything in a can so that there are no surprises. But in doing so, the life of the event is sucked right out.

Tom Petty, joyfully playing his own guitar. The audience listening with hardly a cell phone in sight

To contrast this, go back to 2008. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, playing live instruments, singing their own songs. And if you go back to that show, you’ll hear something really special. The audience singing along.

2010. The Who, live drums, live guitars, Roger Daltry actually screaming, “Yeaaaaaaaaaah! Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!”

The Who, Roger actually singing, Pete actually playing

And if there’s a sonic glitch, a bit of feedback, a broken string…well, that’s rock-n-roll.

I guess my main beef is that this canned stuff they’re putting out disrespects the thousands of musicians who play live every week. High school bands, the cover band at the local bar, the musicians at church, that band that no one knows except their loyal fans.

I don’t want to sound all curmudgeonly and all, but…I know, it’s only rock-n-roll, but I like it…live!’

All I really need to know I learned from The Eagles

[with apologies to Robert Fulgham]

I’ve been on an Eagles kick lately, especially with the release of their Live from the Forum MMXVIII double album. Even with the loss of founder Glen Frey, they’ve come back strong, adding Glen’s son, Deacon Frey, and Vince Gill to the roster. There’s something that feels right hearing Deacon sing his late dad’s signature songs, Peaceful Easy Feeling or Take It Easy.

So without getting too preachy, I’ve been pulling some pieces of good advice and astute observations from the various lyrics of The Eagles’ catalogue. In the spirit of Robert Fulgham [All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten], here’s my take – All I really need to know I learned from The Eagles.

Sometimes there’s a part of me has to turn from here and go – Seven Bridges Road Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy – Take It Easy You got your demons and you got desires; well, I got a few of my own – One of These Nights It’s so hard to change, can’t seem to settle down – Take It To The Limit I know we can take it if our love is a strong one – The Long Run

You better let somebody love you – Desperado Life in the fast lane surely make you lose your mind – Life in the Fast Lane Everybody wants to touch somebody – Heartache Tonight What you get is not quite what you choose – How Long Ligthten up while you still can – Take it Easy This old world still looks the same – Tequila Sunrise Somewhere out on that horizon, far away from the neon sky, I know there must be something better – In the City

I found out a long time ago what a woman can do to your soul. Aw but she can’t take you any way you don’t already know how to go – Peaceful Easy Feeling Ain’t it funny how your new life didn’t change things? – Lyin’ Eyes Love will keep us alive – Love Will Keep Us Alive Until we learn to love one another, we will never reach the promised land – Hole in the World Wastin’ our time on cheap talk and wine left us so little to give – Best of My Love Son, you better get on one side or the other – On the Border We are all just prisoners here of our own device – Hotel California

Things in this life change very slowly – Sad Cafe You can see the stars and still not see the light – Already Gone And my time went so quickly – Ol’ 55 And maybe someday we will find that it wasn’t really wasted time – Wasted Time

I feel like this last group could almost stand as a paragraph on its own. Things change slowly, but life moves quickly. It’s certainly possible to get so accustomed to life that you miss seeing the light. The evidence for God is all around us. If you see it with eyes of faith, it’s not wasted time. Thank you, Eagles.

Songwriters: Don Henley, Glen Frey, Randy Meisner, Joe Walsh, Bernie Leadon, Don Felder, Stephen T. Young, Jackson Browne, Bob Seger, J.D. Souther, Barry R. De Vorzon, Jack Tempchin, Jim Capaldi, Paul Carrack, Peter Vale, Robert Arnold, Strandlund, Tom Waits