The superstar kicked off the show with a reworked version of Toni Basil's 1981 hit "Mickey," which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1982. Dressed in a black and magenta cheerleader outfit -- but way edgier, with a rhinestone crop-top and what appeared to be a leather skirt embellished with multiple zippers -- Cyrus performed the tune, tweaking it to replace "Mickey" with her own name, and set the stage for an energetic show with the upbeat song.
"White Wedding" With Billy Idol
Miley began performing "Night Crawling" off her latest album, 2020's Plastic Hearts, when none other than Billy Idol -- the platinum-haired rocker who is featured on the song -- came out on stage to join her for their song. After performing their tune, the duo transitioned into Idol's 1983 hit "White Wedding."
"Not bad for the first concert of 2021!" Cyrus said afterward.
Miley Does NIN
The 28-year-old shared a short clip of herself performing the 1989 Nine Inch Nails classic "Head Like a Hole" on Feb. 2, but threw fans off the Super Bowl trail when she hashtagged it #AshleyOGoneWild. The singer, who had performed a cheerful revision of Trent Reznor's song called "On a Roll" as pop singer Ashley O for Netflix's Black Mirror in 2019, instead stuck to the tune's dark industrial feel -- and original lyrics -- for this concert.
Throughout the set, Cyrus thanked the health care workers who were in attendance and watching at home. "All of us have a purpose," she said at one point. " My purpose is to sing on stage ... but my purpose can never be achieved without you -- you are essential."
The "Edge"-y Mashup
"Covers have always been a big part of my set, taking these songs and making them my own," Cyrus said at one point, introducing the next song, which she noted was "blessed by Stevie Nicks herself." What followed was a medley of Cyrus' own "Midnight Sky" seamlessly combined with Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen" to create "Edge of Midnight."
The Godmother of Punk Takes the Stage
"Everybody, an introduction is insulting," Cyrus said as none other than Joan Jett appeared in a sequined hoodie, equally sparkly pants, and a blood-red guitar. The two performed "Bad Karma," one of Cyrus' Plastic Hearts songs that features Jett, and the latter's "Bad Reputation" and "I Hate Myself for Loving You."
"Any time anybody comes to my shows and says, 'What's wrong with her?' The explanation is she listened to a lot of Joan Jett," Cyrus explained of herself in the midst of their three songs together.
Miley Shouts Out Girl Power
"You know, if it wasn't for Joan Jett, without her, I don't think that I would be me," Cyrus shared. "She was always breaking barriers and stigma and anything that divided her from the dudes. And when folks think of football weekend, they don't think of strong women, but after this, I think they will."
She then dedicated the following cover, Bikini Kill's "Rebel Girl," to all the "rebel girls who don't take no for an answer." The Grammy-nominated performer had hinted that the song would be part of her set in a video she shared on Feb. 3. In it, Cyrus runs on a treadmill while belting out the lyrics -- without missing a beat!
The Emotional Encore
The performer celebrated her more pop-oriented past with some of her biggest hits to close out her show. She started with 2009's "Party in the U.S.A.," during which she had some fun and faked out viewers. "Give it up for my last guest, Jay-Z!" she yelled. "Just kidding!"
She continued on with "Wrecking Ball," becoming so emotional at one point that she stumbled on the chorus. "Singing that song, 'Wrecking Ball,' about feeling completely broken -- I'm shattered," Cyrus shared after the song. "Everyone's suffering is different. ... I like to think I have a pretty high tolerance. I wear a lot of glitter and I wear a lot of armor, but I also wear my heart on my sleeve, but it gets broken a lot."
The singer then went on to cue up the final song of the concert, "The Climb." "As much as I need to say these lyrics to you, maybe I need to say them to me," she said. "Without each other, we have nothing at all. ... This song is about never giving in and never giving up."
After the encore, Cyrus once again thanked health care workers: "Thank you for bringing music back together. My deepest gratitude to you all."