However when Brady — who seeks his seventh ring in a surefire Corridor of Fame profession — trots off the sphere at halftime, he’ll cede middle stage to a person calling the photographs for a twelfth Tremendous Bowl in a row, and whose choices will likely be mentioned, debated, and maybe even danced alongside to.
By no means thoughts the motion on the sphere on the NFL’s showcase recreation, for a lot of, this weekend is all about The Weeknd. And the person serving to to carry the pop megastar’s Tremendous Bowl LV halftime present to life is a British TV director named Hamish Hamilton.
Since 2010’s The Who-headlined spectacle, the now 54-year-old, award-winning Hamilton has been concerned in showcasing musicians so well-known we all know them by a single title — Madonna! Beyoncé! Gaga! — or bands which have soundtracked a era, reminiscent of Coldplay, Maroon 5 and the Black Eyes Peas.
International curiosity within the halftime present is nothing new, although 2021 does mark the 30-year anniversary of the NFL altering course from conventional marching bands to up to date music acts — and what a change it was.
Tremendous Bowl XXV — additionally held in Tampa — kicked off with a chic rendition of the Star Spangled Banner from none aside from Whitney Houston.
Halftime was billed as “A Small World Salute to 25 Years of the Particular Bowl” that includes New Children on the Block, although occasions of the day would intervene.
Operation Desert Storm resulted within the present being tape-delayed till after the sport with a Gulf Conflict information report proven as an alternative.
It was a watershed second and the league by no means seemed again, reserving family names reminiscent of Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and Boyz II Males within the 1990’s.
All these performances have been seminal moments earlier than Hamilton took the reins in 2010.
From Blackpool to the Tremendous Bowl
For Hamilton, raised within the north of England within the Seventies, the very notion of the Tremendous Bowl, not to mention the halftime present, was actually as international an idea as he might ponder, together with his paying extra consideration to English, reasonably than American, soccer.
“I grew up in Blackpool,” Hamilton tells CNN Sport in a uncommon interview. “These are the times earlier than the web and cell phones and world sharing of media. My solely data of sport actually was my native soccer workforce Blackpool, and lots of miles away within the huge metropolis, Liverpool, who on the time have been dominating European soccer.”
Hamilton attracted consideration from America after directing quite a few BRIT Awards — the UK equal of the Grammys — and whereas he has the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics and the Oscars on his resume, helming the Tremendous Bowl halftime present is, properly, the Tremendous Bowl of his profession in relation to the cultural zeitgeist.
“We at all times seemed throughout the Atlantic to this undiscovered land of alternative and excellence,” he says. “Now, for me to be creating these huge reveals on the very epicenter of American tradition fills me with huge pleasure.”
The logistics concerned in mounting the halftime present are arguably as tough as attempting to win the Tremendous Bowl itself
Many months, involving many individuals — halftime can also be being co-executive produced by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s Roc Nation — go into the planning, and the tune, if you’ll, stays the identical: flip a soccer subject right into a live performance venue and again in below half-hour.
Hamilton acknowledges that every headliner is totally different in relation to the time they spend collaborating, however “they’ve a imaginative and prescient, and our position is to carry that imaginative and prescient to life. On the finish of the day, the mission is to create 12 minutes of leisure midway via this soccer recreation in February.”
Hamilton is acutely conscious how a lot this gig means to the musicians — “a career-defining second and an enormous a part of their inventive legacy” — in opposition to the backdrop of a number of challenges.
“You have to push a stage out in seven, eight minutes, put all of it up, construct it, and take it down,” Hamilton says. “In a world that is fracturing, it is an ideal lesson in what folks can construct below large stress once they work collectively and place belief in one another … It is extraordinary.
“It is an adrenaline rush curler coaster and truthfully, you spend 12 minutes focusing, simply attempting to maintain the prepare on the monitor, and ship what everyone desires you to ship.”
Delivering this yr’s present goes to be a monumental activity, with the coronavirus pandemic looming massive over proceedings, regardless of the vaccine rollout throughout the nation.
The 25,000 followers in attendance are required to put on face coverings always and are receiving PPE kits, a Tremendous Bowl branded face masks, hand sanitizer, and wipes from the NFL on arrival.
The affect on the halftime present will likely be appreciable. That is, in spite of everything, an occasion which entails a large number of performers on stage and the place social distancing is the very antithesis of what tends to be a extremely coordinated and packed affair.
Hamilton refuses to offer something away, although does admit that “it has put a really totally different set of parameters across the manufacturing. [But] we’ve risen to the problem in the identical approach we rise to the problem yearly, so I assume all I might say to everyone is, ‘Tune in and make your individual judgment.'”
However The Weeknd (actual title Abel Tesfaye) did affirm that “we constructed the stage within the stadium,” whereas government producer Jesse Collins informed Leisure Tonight, “We’ll use the stadium to current the present in a approach that it is by no means been introduced earlier than.”
The acts are savvy sufficient to reportedly carry out and not using a price from the league — as a result of the extreme curiosity generated via showing pays for itself — although the NFL does supposedly provide a price range.
And whereas Hamilton is not keen to disclose particulars, The Weeknd’s supervisor, Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, informed Billboard journal that his star consumer put up $7 million of his personal cash to “make this halftime present be what he envisioned.”
“I do not assume I come up with the money for ” he jokes when it’s put to him that it’s not too late to include the utilization of a helicopter, which is what his favourite halftime performer ever — Diana Ross — did to conclude her present in 1996.
When Hamilton speaks about his halftime present reminiscences, the sporting parallels with the perimeters contesting the Tremendous Bowl emerge. Reflecting on the numerous main acts he has labored with, his observations about Coldplay’s frontman evoke a workforce participant, reasonably than particular person expertise who does not need to share the ball, or reasonably stage.
“Chris Martin is probably the most beneficiant of artists,” Hamilton says about his fellow Brits Coldplay headlining Tremendous Bowl 50 in 2016. “So he rings up his mate Beyonce, he rings up his mate Bruno Mars, and he actually persuades them.
“They have been each a bit reticent firstly and he is like, ‘Come on guys!’ And so Beyonce turns up with 100 dancers, and Bruno turns up together with his entourage. And what an ideal present it was … That got here collectively fairly final minute, in a dance studio behind a laundromat. If folks knew what was occurring on this tiny little dance studio, they’d be shocked.”
However if you happen to can take the boy out of Blackpool, you’ll be able to’t fairly take Blackpool out of the boy. Hamilton casts his eye again towards his native Britain and poses the query about whether or not English soccer would ever take a leaf out of the NFL’s guide and add an additional layer of leisure to proceedings.
“I used to be a soccer fan as a child, I used to look at the FA Cup, and that was the large factor within the calendar,” he says concerning the closest comparability to the Tremendous Bowl in England.
“It might be nice if the FA determined to do a halftime present and a pregame in the identical approach because the NFL. The NFL have been sensible, they’re very supportive of halftime, they usually actually make investments financially, creatively and logistically in creating this centerpiece at halftime.
“It is the wedding of sport and music and leisure and it actually, actually works. I do not assume there’s a greater instance of it on this planet.”