I have to admit that as ridiculous as it was to ignore home-grown Motor City talent, and as byzantine as all the logistics must have been to get the Rolling Stones and their massive trademark red tongue stage onto the field and ready to go for a three-song cup of coffee at the Super Bowl halftime show last night, the set itself sounded great and if you didn’t look too close these guys still look and smell like ROCK STARS.
Jagger struts the stage like it’s the 20th century; Keith, Ronnie, and Charlie are all still lean and mean; and the rocking blend of medium-old (“Start Me Up,” ’81), new (“Rough Justice,” from last year’s Bigger Bang, featuring some hot slide from Ronnie), and really flipping old (“Satisfaction,” ’65) generated some genuine excitement.
Jagger playfully acknowledged the venerability of “Satisfaction,” introducing it with, “Here’s one we could have done at Super Bowl I.”
Best of all, the Stones, at post-60, are STILL dangerous to the morals of the nation. ABC, using the five-second delay necessitated by Janet Jackson’s Nipplegate fiasco at the halftime show two years ago, censored out not one, but two words from the three-song presentation.
In “Start Me Up,” the sound went dead when Jagger sang last word in the line, “You make a grown man cry/You, you make a dead man cum”; and then again there was momentary silence in the land when Jagger sang the last word of this bit from “Rough Justice”: “One time you were my baby chicken/Now you’ve grown into a fox/And once upon a time I was your little rooster/
Am I just one of your cocks?”
Check out what the fans on saying about the performance on the Stones’ site, from the ebullient — “Will it every be topped? Has any other show been better? What a hot 12 minutes! The Stones almost stole the show. The stage was so cool and the performance got to a boil in no time. Almost forgot there was a super bowl in progress! Perfect set list…it had to end with Satisfaction!” — to the less so — I’M A DIEHARD FAN AND START ME UP WAS OK, ROUGH JUSTICE WAS VERY GOOD, BUT SATISFACTION SUCKED.”
So the “safe,” broad-based entertainment the NFL sought to soothe the masses with turned out to have some bite after all. Somewhere Brian Jones is cackling, although an National Football League spokesman said today that the Stones had agreed to the censorship in advance, which involved simply lowering Jagger’s mike for the two vilified syllables.
At least he still sang them, saying no to self-censorship.