Coldplay Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show with Beyonce, Bruno Mars: Review Roundup, Photos, Video, Set-List

February 8, 2016

Coldplay’s Super Bowl 50 halftime show featuring Beyonce and Bruno Mars was just as epic as we might have imagined from such superstars. See video video highlights, photos, the full set-list and find out what the music critics have to say of this iteration of the annual mini-concert that more than a hundred million people watched live.

Beyonce, Coldplay, Bruno Mars

Yes, this time around, the NFL dispensed with the Roman numerals. This was Super Bowl 50, celebrating a half century of NFL championship games, and the halftime show, similarly paying tribute to performers of the past with a video montage of such greats as Michael Jackson, James Brown, Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band among others.

But before that tributary nod, we had a huge spectacle of a halftime show — in the best sense of the word. Coldplay is known for their intensely colorful — indeed full-blown Technicolor — staging and out there in full daylight in Santa Clara, California at Levi’s Stadium that was very much evident.

It was the CBS network that broadcast the now infamous 2004 Super Bowl half-time, that finally, it seems, a dozen years later — after the Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson spectacle that gave us a new phrase “wardrobe malfunction” — we collectively have recovered from. After so many years of “safe” performers we now are back with the cutting edge of pop music.

And fitting that bill entirely, the hugely popular multi-Grammy winning British band Coldplay whose frontman, Chris Martin as the former husband of Gwenyth Paltrow has become a celebrity apart from the band’s staggering success. The band has its fans and its detractors, and as such, there was much buzz over their appearance. Critics in their reviews reflected some of this polarizing effect; it seems one just can’t be indifferent about Coldplay.

Beyonce, a headliner a few years ago, of course, needs no introduction although she nearly broke the Internet the day before, releasing her ‘Formation’ music video and reminding us why she’s known as Queen Bey. She also announced her ‘Formation World Tour’ right after the performance; one could see her upstaging appearance at half-time as promo for a tour which, likely, will sell out in record time.

And Bruno Mars, also a recent headliner is back as a bigger star than ever with infectious ‘Uptown Funk,’ his collaboration with Mark Ronson that’s brought about a resurgence of interest in 1970s and early 1980s style funk. And he brought that out in full force.

Here’s the complete set-list:

“Viva la Vida” – Coldplay
“Paradise” – Coldplay
“Adventure of a Lifetime” – Coldplay
Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
“Formation” – Beyoncé
“Fix You” – Coldplay
“Up & Up” – Coldplay

As for the music critics, they were sharply divided some gave Coldplay and his superstar guests, Beyonce and Bruno Mars favorable reviews for the most part, and others quite the opposite for reasons outlined above. Check out a roundup of what they’re saying.

“…. Coldplay launched the show with “Viva La Vida” off the group’s 2008 offering Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends as stadium-goers executed “Stunt 1″ by creating a wash of blue, orange and yellow around the venue that looked like a horizon against a blue sky. They commanded the S.B. stage with “Paradise” and their latest single “Adventure of a Lifetime.” Swaggy trumpet and violin players also joined Martin’s on-stage entourage, as rows of dancers with flower-shaped umbrellas danced around Coldplay’s kaleidoscopic stage, an extension of the cover of their seventh studio effort A Head Full of Dreams. …..” — Billboard

“…Perhaps it was inevitable, in an era of “Full House” reboots, nostalgia for the early Obama Era, and highly publicized reunions of bands not five years disbanded, that we would get a Super Bowl Halftime Show Tribute to Recent Super Bowl Halftime Shows. That’s certainly the easiest way to sum up Super Bowl 50’s hyperactive slurry of musical half-thoughts, busily choreographed kitsch, irreconcilable tonal shifts and, periodically, brief snippets of quality music best experienced as a series of GIFs. Despite Coldplay’s status as the nominal headliners, a mid-set invasion from Beyonce and Bruno Mars brought the only thing approximating heat, while a closing clip reel of recent halftime highlights — from Paul McCartney to Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson — only served to underscore the senselessness of the whole endeavor. …..” — Variety

“….Chris Martin and Coldplay launched with a medley beginning with “Viva a Vida” and “Yellow” — a stark contrast to the fireworks, explosions and volume that typically identifies the Super Bowl shows as they’ve grown in technical proficiency while decreasing in human scale over the years……” — Deadline

“…..Beyoncé effortlessly stole the Super Bowl half-time show right from under Coldplay’s noses with a guest slot that affirmed her brilliance as a performer. On Saturday, the day before, she had suddenly released her new song Formation. The video, a powerful and politically charged affirmation of black female pride set in New Orleans, could hardly have been more diametrically opposed to Coldplay’s soppy indie, and as soon as Beyoncé marched onto the football field, clad in skintight leather and Michael Jackson-style military gold sashes, with a posse of impeccably choreographed female dancers dressed like 70s Black Panthers, it was time for an early bath for Chris Martin’s band….” The Guardian

“….The 13-minute dynamite performance included rainbow violins, a zestily outfitted army of band geeks and a stage reminiscent of Coldplay’s psychedelic A Head Full of Dreams album art. Bruno and some buds rolled up with ’90s rap/R&B vibes (Ronson scratching on a turntable) to the now-immortal “Uptown Funk”; Bey turned up on the actual field itself with a couple dozen black-clad dancers to perform her brand new, one-day-old song “Formation…” Fuse TV

“…Coldplay’s Super Bowl 50 Half Time performance came off without a hitch on Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif. — but while the band recruited superstar cameos from Beyonce and Bruno Mars, temperatures didn’t exactly spike through the three-part set…..” The Wrap

“….Eventually [Chris Martin] shifted into “Up & Up,” a dopey song about reconciliation and uplift, and was joined by Beyoncé and Mr. Mars. They seemed to be stabilizing him. It wasn’t the first time. Earlier, during a transition, all three of them were singing a bit of “Uptown Funk” together. Beyoncé laid her left hand on Mr. Martin’s right shoulder as she and Mr. Mars outsang him — an act of love, of pity, of grace….” New York Times

“….Nor is it an exactly great sign when you start out with your big hit, Viva La Vida, and the crowd noise drowns you out. Martin is a personable and energetic performer, though an awful lot of that energy went into jumping. But he, and his song’s lyrics, just seemed overwhelmed by the stadium and the event. And when he joined Beyonce and Bruno Mars on Uptown Funk, it felt like the Super Bowl version of James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke.” ….” USA Today

The critics have had their say and now, so can you! Relive the exuberant Coldplay Super Bowl 50 halftime show with Beyonce and Bruno Mars in the replay video below!

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Pictures: PR Photos

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