Bruce At The Super Bowl: Game On

JacksonBrowne(31).JPGBruuuuce! And we don't mean Isaac. (Gerald Martineau/TWP)

The NFL and NBC confirmed on Sunday what had been long rumored on the Backstreets: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will be the next Super Bowl halftime show headliners.

Glory days, indeed.

The high-profile performance by the one of the great live acts of all time will take place on Sunday, Feb. 1, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

So what should we expect?

Based on recent history, Springsteen et al will probably perform four songs, unless they're feeling lazy or in a medley kind of mood (which they won't be). Most likely, they'll spotlight some of the more familiar songs in the deep Springsteen catalogue.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed four songs at the most recent Super Bowl, sticking solely to the hits: "American Girl," "I Won't Back Down," "Free Fallin'" and "Runnin' Down a Dream."

In 2007, Prince played some of his own hits as well as some covers, some of which got the mash-up/medley treatment. (The little purple polyglot's amazing set included "Let's Go Crazy," "Purple Rain," bits of "All Along the Watchtower" and "Proud Mary" and a full cover of the Foo Fighters song, "Best of You.")

In collecting the easiest paycheck ever in 2006, the Rolling Stones sandwiched "Rough Justice" (from their most recent album, "A Bigger Bang") between two stalwarts: "Start Me Up" and "Satisfaction."

And the year before, Paul McCartney performed "Drive My Car," "Get Back," "Live And Let Die" and "Hey Jude."

What do you think Springsteen and the ESB should play, and how should the songs be sequenced?

Keep in mind that there should be a strong familiarity factor to the set, given the enormity immensity of the audience. So, you know, opening with "The Promise" might not make sense, even if that is a great song.

Malitz and I were emailing about this last night and came up with our own set lists.

He likes this foursome:

1. "Rosalita"
Perfect upbeat opener, those few thousand superfluous dancers sure to be on the field can easily choreograph something to this.

2. "Glory Days"
It's the Yankees victory song (retired until 2009, suckers!), so it's already sports/stadium tested and approved.

3. "The Rising"
There's nothing more American than the Super Bowl, and this has become the most beloved "yeah, America!" song of recent years.

4. "Born to Run"
Even in the new pass-happy NFL, you still need a good ground game to win it all.

In the interest of not repeating Malitz (I hate it when I agree with him), I'll skip "Rosalita" and "The Rising," both of which I'd actually been considering, and go with the following four songs, instead. Might not be dynamic enough, as the set would start fast and furious and pretty much stay there, save for the first part of "Thunder Road." But it's a short set, and these guys can clearly handle it. (Even Clarence!) So, too, can the audience.

1. "Badlands"
An old warhorse, this is an appropriate theme for these tough times; the soaring sound and marching beat would get the set started on a high note.

2. "Thunder Road"
This might have been a better pick back when Ron Dayne was a rookie, doing the "Thunder and Lightning" thing with Tiki Barber. But still: It is perhaps Springsteen's greatest song (the list of qualified candidates is staggeringly long), and it's just terrific live.

3. "No Surrender"
Everybody loves a good underdog anthem - especially a lifelong San Francisco 49ers fan circa 2008. "I'm ready to grow young again." Me, too, Bruce. Me. Too.

4. "Born to Run"
No matter how many times you hear this one, it tends to sound explosive and electrifying in concert. It's one of the most galvanizing songs in the Springsteen catalogue, because, really, we're all dreamers and restless romantics, aren't we?

So what are your picks? Post 'em in the comments section.

By J. Freedom du Lac |  September 29, 2008; 7:55 AM ET Girls In Their Summer Clothes , Sports , Springsteen
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I see the following in this order:
Radio Nowhere (still trying to squeeze a few more sales of Magic)
The Promised Land
Born To Run

Posted by: Dave Lifton | September 29, 2008 8:59 AM

Is it 4 songs or 15 minutes? Cause if he puts Rosie in there, then he'll really only be able to play two songs.

My guess:

The Rising
Prove it All Night
Born to Run

Posted by: DCMarathoner | September 29, 2008 9:15 AM

Or all football related titles:

Drive All Night
Cover Me
Glory Days,
etc, etc.

Posted by: Brucefan | September 29, 2008 9:16 AM

Glory Days? Wow, only if they really want to depress the crowd should any of the mactually listen to the lyrics. Actually, just about all of his really big stuff is kinda depressing. Also, since they get maybe 10 minutes they might have time for 2 songs if they push it or play nothing but cuts off of Magic.

Jungleland. It would take the entire show.

What they'll probably play.
-10th Avenue Freeze Out
-Cover Me or Radio Nowhere
-The Rising or Thunder Road
-Born to Run, Badlans or Girls In Their Summer Clothes if they want to send the show out more softly.

They could also ensure that they never do a big event again with Born in the USA......

Posted by: EricS | September 29, 2008 9:25 AM

In no particular order:

-Radio Nowhere
-The Rising
-Born to Run (no way does he not play that one)
-either Glory Days or Dancing in the Dark

Posted by: TG | September 29, 2008 10:56 AM

Screw the little midget Bruce, He does not represent the real "MEN" of this country!

Keep this tard away from America's man game football!!

HE really sucks!!!!

Posted by: Bill | September 29, 2008 11:10 AM

I'd like to see Rosalita done but I doubt it b/c of time

Born to Run will be in there

I'd put in Born in the USA

Gloy Days works

Maybe Dancing in the Dark

Posted by: Jacoby | September 29, 2008 11:40 AM

And I bet the commentor "Bill" is a real man. lol

::thinks for a moment about who is a 'tard' Bruce or Bill... wonders who can express his opinions in complete or poetic sentences and who types in all CAPS on a Wash Post blog comment section... hmmm...::

Mary's Place
Thunder Road
The Rising

Posted by: Jack | September 29, 2008 11:42 AM

I thought he died

Posted by: LastAmerican | September 29, 2008 11:50 AM

Born in the USA
Glory Days
Dancing in the Dark
Chimes of Freedom

Posted by: Chuck | September 29, 2008 11:51 AM

Radio Nowhere
The Rising
Dancing in the Dark

Although I would like to see Badlands, Promised Land, the Rising, BTR

Posted by: Regina | September 29, 2008 11:53 AM

After witnessing a bunch of Bruce's/E St's live shows, I'd say it goes this way:
- 10th Ave Freezeout
- Radio Nowhere
- The Rising
- Born to Run

plus ... ENCORE!!!! ... American Land (complete with Karaoke lyrics as was done on the last tour when this tune closed the shows)

Posted by: FreeFlorida08 | September 29, 2008 11:54 AM

Poney Boy (From Human Touch)
Meeting Across the River (From Born to Run)
Johnny 99 (From Nebraska)
When Your Alone (Tunnel of Love)

There, that out to fire up the crowd!

Posted by: Mark In Atlanta | September 29, 2008 11:58 AM

Oh, I have some good ones! How about;

Jessie's Girl
Don't Talk to Strangers
Love is Alright Tonight
Bob Til You Drop

That would be awsome! Wait...we are talkin about Rick Springfield.....Right??

Posted by: Douglas Lupe" | September 29, 2008 12:07 PM

How about entertainment that everybody could enjoy,like maybe : THE BLUE MAN GROUP !I do not see a large part of the younger or older fans enjoying oldies with interest.Or maybe the NFL wants mid level entertainment during halftime,so most of the fans will go to the vendors and purchase more over priced beer and snacks!

Posted by: Brian | September 29, 2008 12:18 PM

No comments as to Candy's Room as an opening cannot get much more dramatic than that in terms of a sound explosion within the arena that would be based on dynamics...the high to low volume would be an awesome effect and would in my estimation over shadow the game in many respects it is a tour de force of sound.

Badlands...what a direct statement for today in terms of the world we live in.

The Promised Land...we all need songs that inspire us.

Born to Run...will this song put Bruce on the map for many along with his back to back Time and Newsweek covers...the biggest sporting event of the year will have within itself a challenge to top an artist with such depth...the crowd will more than likly request him to play all night if the game is boring...still with those great commercials of course!!!

Posted by: Ron | September 29, 2008 12:22 PM

Promised Land
Born to Run
Raise Your Hand or Detroit Medley

Posted by: Swamps of Joisey | September 29, 2008 12:22 PM

isn't it so clear that he is going to play Blinded by the Light

Posted by: chris f | September 29, 2008 12:24 PM

Great news!
Now I'll have time to fix a snack plate during halftime and use the can.

Posted by: Thozmaniac | September 29, 2008 12:27 PM

(1) The Rising
(2) Glory Days, or Dancing In The Dark
(3) Born To Run
(4) Land of Hope & Dreams

Posted by: Scott in Chicago | September 29, 2008 12:28 PM

no one thinks he'll be playing Youngstown??

Posted by: BRUUCEEEE | September 29, 2008 12:47 PM

Bruce has a record of throwing curveballs at high-profile appearances with limited stage time. The Sept. 2, 1995 concert celebrating the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland was one of only a handful of times when he performed with the E Street Band between 1989 and 1998, and I'm pretty sure "Darkness on the Edge of Town" was the lone, unlikely Springsteen original he chose to perform in a short set otherwise devoted to backing up Jerry Lee Lewis.

When Bruce was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame himself in 1999 (Bono gave him an induction speech for the ages; The Boss returned the favor when U2 were inducted in 2005), he and the ESB played "The Promised Land," "Backstreets," "Tenth Ave. Freeze-Out," and, er, "In the Midnight Hour" with Wilson Pickett, who looked even younger at age 59 then than Bruce looks at 59 now.

Anyway, for the Super Bowl, my best guess is he'll do his shortest-ever versions of:

Tenth Ave. Freeze-Out
The Rising
The Promised Land (if Obama wins) or Darkness (if it's McCain)
Born to Run
American Land (snippet)

Posted by: Chris Klimek | September 29, 2008 1:21 PM

Who cares?

Posted by: Pete Brower | September 29, 2008 3:31 PM

"enormity" means something that's really bad ("outrageous or heinous character; atrociousness: the enormity of war crimes."), it does not mean "large".

Posted by: The Dictionary | September 29, 2008 3:56 PM

Livin' In The Future(Great Stadium Song)
Glory Days
The Rising
B to R

Posted by: Jeff | September 29, 2008 4:07 PM

In honor of our new President Barack Obama Bruce will play:

The Promised Land
Radio Nowhere
The Rising
Land of Hope and Dreams

Posted by: Joe | September 29, 2008 4:26 PM

How cool is this going to be! My favorites;

10th Ave Freezeout
Born to Run
Glory Days

and of course: Jersey Girl!!!

Posted by: jerzygrl | September 29, 2008 5:19 PM

@The Dictionary:

That's not entirely true.

This entry in notes that Random House Unabridged includes the following among the definitions of "enormity":

greatness of size, scope, extent, or influence; immensity: The enormity of such an act of generosity is staggering.

But, there's also this Usage Note:

Enormity has been in frequent and continuous use in the sense “immensity” since the 18th century: The enormity of the task was overwhelming. Some hold that enormousness is the correct word in that sense and that enormity can only mean “outrageousness” or “atrociousness”: The enormity of his offenses appalled the public. Enormity occurs regularly in edited writing with the meanings both of great size and of outrageous or horrifying character, behavior, etc. Many people, however, continue to regard enormity in the sense of great size as nonstandard.

American Heritage backs that up, noting:

Fifty-nine percent of the Usage Panel rejects the use of enormity as a synonym for immensity in the sentence At that point the engineers sat down to design an entirely new viaduct, apparently undaunted by the enormity of their task. This distinction between enormity and enormousness has not always existed historically, but nowadays many observe it. Writers who ignore the distinction, as in the enormity of the President's election victory or the enormity of her inheritance, may find that their words have cast unintended aspersions or evoked unexpected laughter.

So ... are you laughing with me, or at me?

Posted by: J. Freedom | September 29, 2008 5:50 PM

Born To Run
Glory Days
The Rising
Born In The USA

Posted by: Anonymous | September 30, 2008 9:14 AM

He won't play Rosie cause of time, although that would be awesome.

It will be:

Promised Land

Posted by: Spanish Johnny | September 30, 2008 10:09 AM

By new album, I mean the album they will release in 2009.

And anyone who is not excited for this is not american.

Especially when the Skins will be there.

Posted by: Spanish Johnny | September 30, 2008 10:10 AM

Pretty much in agreement with Spanish Johnny here...

Promised Land to open; rocker from the rumored new album; Born to Run; then Land of Hope and Dreams or American Land as the closer.

Posted by: nearnative | September 30, 2008 2:12 PM

It just seems so below Springsteen to play the biggest corporate schmooze-fest in the free world...Jagger and the Stones....that's expected...U2 as well...the whole thing with the phony cheering crowd at the stage...I dunno I think he diminishes himself doing this....he can't possibly need the cash...oh yeah since 75 and a football fan so that's not the point ...ah whatta gonna do??

Posted by: disturbed | September 30, 2008 8:38 PM

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