No wardrobe malfunctions during Super Bowl halftime; ex-Beatle McCartney puts on sedate show

Monday, February 7th 2005, 8:46 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ The NFL wanted a safe halftime show after last year's Janet Jackson fiasco, and Paul McCartney delivered.

When McCartney stripped off his jacket midway through his Super Bowl halftime performance, all he revealed was a long-sleeved red shirt. Nothing malfunctioned. And if he wore any nipple jewelry, he mercifully kept it to himself.

It was sweet nostalgia for those stunned by Jackson's MTV-produced show, if a bit off-putting for the kids: Each of McCartney's four songs was more than 30 years old.

Surely you recall last year's climax to a body-shaking, crotch-grabbing festival: Justin Timberlake yanking part of Jackson's top off to reveal her bare breast to some 90 million viewers.

McCartney's stage set _ a giant cross of video boards on the stadium floor with the singer at the center _ was visually arresting, although it made his opening song, ``Drive My Car,'' look like one of the broadcast's dozens of auto commercials.

McCartney's theatrical James Bond theme ``Live and Let Die'' was a perfect backdrop for a stadium fireworks show. The lights, placards and video images also made ``Hey Jude'' a sight to see, but it was odd to see the red, white and blue placards co-opt one of the original British musical invaders for an all-American event.

There wasn't any danger of a lip-synch controversy, either: you could tell it was the lived-in voice of a 62-year-old singing.

It was strange seeing the former Beatle, a bold and shocking performer for another generation, now presented as the sedate option. NFL censors were probably hoping the ``California grass'' reference in ``Get Back'' slipped by unnoticed, or figured people would think he was simply referring to a football field.

Another irony: the overwhelmingly safe and patriotic musical presentations before and during the game appearing on the usually envelope-pushing Fox network, while last season's shocker came on fogey-friendly CBS.

The closest thing to a wardrobe malfunction during all the performances were courtesy of country singer Gretchen Wilson's guitar player. His jeans had a strategically placed rip in the crotch.

Before the game, Alicia Keys oozed class and chops as she took a ``duet'' with the late singer Ray Charles on one of his signatures, ``America the Beautiful'' _ and made it work wonderfully. A picture of Charles singing appeared on the stadium scoreboard screens.

The pregame show was a mixture of old and new schools, with country, rap and soul. Wilson brought out white-bearded fiddle player Charlie Daniels, and the Black Eyed Peas had Earth, Wind & Fire along to sing ``Shining Star.''

Although with the NFL watching so closely, it's a wonder how Wilson's ``Here For the Party'' managed to slip through.

``Gonna have a little fun,'' she sang. ``Gonna get me some.''

One can almost hear the small voices in living rooms across the country: ``Daddy, what does 'get me some' mean?''

``Some chips, honey. Now pass the salsa and quiet down.''