Fine Tuning - Weekly column highlighting music on TV (Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2005).
WOULD A BOWL BY ANY OTHER NAME BE LESS SUPER? Probably not. There is nothing like Super Bowl Sunday. And although I'd sign any petition attempting to move the big game to a Saturday (those Super Bowl Mondays can be tough), it's a day I look forward to all year long.
There's spectacle. There's competition. There are Roman numerals. There's days of vintage football footage featuring Harry Callas' unmistakable voiceover of such phrases as "the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field," "the gladiators proved mere mortals in defeat" and "in the face of adversity the underdogs triumphed to join the pantheon of gridiron gods." There's also the promise of food, beer, television advertising that's strangely not ignored and, of course, music?
Yep, there's music. You can't toss a party without music and this year's event has plenty before and during the game. Paul McCartney will perform at during halftime of the Fox broadcast, which more or less guarantees there will be no "wardrobe malfunctions" to speak of come Monday.
Before the game, you've got Alicia Keys will perform "America the Beautiful," accompanied by 150 members from the St. Augustine-based Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in a tribute to Ray Charles. Gretchen Wilson will sit in with the Charlie Daniels Band and the Black Eyed Peas will hook up with Earth, Wind & Fire. There will also be appearances by Kelly Clarkson, John Fogerty, Ludacris, the ubiquitous P. Diddy and fresh from presiding over Vince Neil's wedding, M.C. Hammer (really).
Before the before the game, you can catch even more pre-game-hype musical celebrations... On Sunday, a Fox Sports talk show moves to the big network as "Best Darn Super Bowl Road Show Period" puts Montgomery Gentry on with usual hosts Tom Arnold and John Salley, as well as guest commentator Michael Strahan (N.Y. Giants).
On Saturday, Fuse presents "Fusebowl With Jimmy Eat World," which puts the band inside a viewer's house to rev up for the big game, and CMT will present "Lynyrd Skynyrd's Super Bowl Saturday Night Special" with Charlie Daniels, 3 Doors Down, Jo Dee Messina and .38 Special's Donnie Van Zant.
As for the game itself, I am personally as excited as I can possibly be about the fact that the Philadelphia Eagles will be gunning for their first Super Bowl championship on Sunday. They've only attended the dance once, in 1980, and went home without the Lombardi trophy to keep them company through the spring and summer. They've got three other NFL championships, but none since 1960, all in the pre-Super Bowl era, so as my wife and friends tend to remind me, they don't count. Although it's hard, even for a longtime fan like me, to say, "This is our year," when facing the seemingly unbeatable New England Patriots, I'm holding out hope.
EVERYTHING ELSE: Super Bowl XXXIX rightly dominates the weekend, but in the days leading up to it, there are these other delights for the eyes and ears:
Monday: Doc Severinsen will remember his late boss, Johnny Carson, on a special edition of CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman."
Tuesday: through Thursday, VH1 will present its three-part series "Black In the 80s," which explores the milestone that the decade was for African-Americans in pop culture.
Wednesday: "American Idol" on Fox, of course, on Tuesday too, the auditions continue, and they're still funny!
Thursday: MTV Asia Aid on MTV2 will feature Sting, Alicia Keys, Good Charlotte, Kelly Clarkson, Hoobastank, Simple Plan, Jennifer Lopez, 50 Cent, Ricky Martin, Nelly, Green Day, Moby, Ronan Keating and a host of Asian talent performing live to raise funds for victims of the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
Friday: G. Love sits in with Gov't Mule on "Last Call With Carson Daly" (NBC).
Saturday: Keane guests on "Saturday Night Live" with host Paris Hilton, whose 15 minutes must be close to being over, no?
Sunday: OK, my old roommate was as anti-sports as anyone could get, therefore, he hated Super Bowl Sunday and the parties I used to throw in celebration of such (he enjoyed the parties, but not the intent). So for him I recommend something non-Super Bowl-related to watch on Super Bowl Sunday: MTV2's "Subterranean," with special guest Radio 4.