The Who‘s Pete Townshend, in an exclusive interview with Billboard, has revealed that the band’s upcoming Super Bowl halftime performance will feature a “compact medley” of their signature classic-rock anthems.
“We’re kinda doing a mashup of stuff,” the guitarist tells Billboard. “A bit of ‘Baba O’Riley,’ a bit of ‘Pinball Wizard,’ a bit of the close of ‘Tommy,’ a bit of ‘Who Are You,’ and a bit of ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’ It works — it’s quite a saga. A lot of the stuff that we do has that kind of celebratory vibe about it — we’ve always tried to make music that allows the audience to go a bit wild if they want to. Hopefully it will hit the spot.”
The annual Super Bowl half time concert has become one of rock’s highest profile gigs, with U2, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Prince, the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney each taking the stage in recent years. The medley format is not unusual for artists with such a deep catalogue – Springsteen and Prince took a similar approach.
Speculation about the set, conceived this year by the band’s Roger Daltrey along with Pete’s brother Simon Townshend, executive producer Ricky Kirschner and new director Hamish Hamilton, is always of huge interest to fans, and last year online sportsbook Bodog took bets on the set’s opening number.
If the past is any indicator, The Who’s halftime hits medley will give the band a big sales boost. Last year, Bruce Springsteen used his appearance to mark the release of “Working On A Dream,” which hit stores the week before the big game. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 on the week culminating with Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1, 2009), and stayed at No. 2 the following week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Billboard’s full preview of the Who’s Super Bowl performance, plus extended interviews with Towshend and Daltrey, will appear in the Jan. 30 issue of Billboard, and on Billboard.com starting Friday (Jan. 29).
Super Bowl XLIV, between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, will be played Sunday, February 7 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.