NFL 2016 Super Bowl 50: Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars marshal love in half-time show

Coldplay's anthemic love, Bruno Mars's strutty funk and Beyonce's authoritative all-lady power took the 2016 Super Bowl's half-time show to a celebration of love, history and togetherness.

As a mosh pit of excited young people pawed Coldplay's frontman Chris Martin, an estimated 190 million American viewers watched the British band begin with Yellow.

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With Beyonce and Bruno Mars, the British band melded history, love, kaleidoscopic violins and tie-dying your clothes in a tribute to togetherness and past Super Bowl performers including Jackson, Diana Ross, Katy Perry, Whitney Houston, Bruce Springsteen and James Brown.

Beyonce's black jacket and gold cross-your-heart belt adornments were a clear nod to Jackson, whose epic 1993 half-time performance changed the style and nature of the between-game NFL show forever.

Her testimony came a day after Paltrow appeared at Super Bowl 50, cheering on Coldplay and her friend, Beyonce Knowles, ...
Her testimony came a day after Paltrow appeared at Super Bowl 50, cheering on Coldplay and her friend, Beyonce Knowles, during their halftime performance.. Photo: Christopher Polk
Beyonc?, Coldplay singer Chris Martin, and Bruno Mars perform during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Beyonce, Coldplay singer Chris Martin, and Bruno Mars perform during half-time of the NFL Super Bowl 50 Photo: Charlie Riedel

On a flower-shaped stage, Coldplay, their instruments adorned with flowers and rainbow colours, and their name written in Hindi on the drum kit, wheeled through Yellow, Paradise and Viva La Vida interspersed with a whisper of Purple Rain.


"Wherever you are, we're in this together," said Martin to camera. "Let's go."

Mars and backing band performed Uptown Funk alongside Mark Ronson on turntables in an overexcited melee of snappy moves.

But it was Beyonce who won (if this is a competition) with a thunderous lady ensemble performance. She managed to sing, dance and run for her song Formation in high-heeled boots on a grassy field surrounded by fire, fireworks and smoke. No big deal.

The owner of the greatest lady thighs in the known universe trumped the Super Bowl half-time show with serene sovereignty, hair-whipping neck manoeuvres, and stompin' lyrics including:

"I see it, I want it/ I stunt, yeah, yellow bone it/ I dream it, I work hard/ I grind 'til I own it/ I twirl on them haters/ Albino alligators."

She even completed a nifty falling-over save by jumping backwards to stay on her feet during a fast-moving ensemble routine.

Martin's shoes were designed by his son, Mars and his cohorts wore shiny black all-weather pant suits and we should all wear zip-up leather one-pieces, a la Beyonce, to work tomorrow.

Martin gripped the hand of Gustavo Dudamel, conductor of the Local Youth Orchestra, in jubilation. A huge rainbow flag decorated the stadium. And everyone came together

But that is the exciting live and precarious nature of the Super Bowl half-time show. There were no dancing sharks, no platforms lifting people up into the air above a shower of sparks. And no Elvis impersonators performing a magic show of ladies levitating or being unnaturally twisted inside boxes in 3-D (see Super Bowl 23 in 1989).

It was warmth and fun and joy and lots of hugging.

It was respectful reflection of past half-time shows with footage including the late Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson performing at the Super Bowl.

Never have so many people – pop stars, gigantic flowers, young people in blue and red tracksuits – jumped together for love and American football.

Coldplay: love. Mars: funk. Beyonce: power.