While the NFL mulls candidates for its Super Bowl halftime extravaganza, one made so obvious that it has been overlooked until recently.
What better way to celebrate 50 years of the Super Bowl than with the Bay Area’s own Grateful Dead, who will celebrate the golden anniversary of their first performance next month?
That is, assuming the staid NFL would approve of a band that symbolizes — how do we put this politely? — a stoner culture. Roger Goodell … Casey Jones … nah.
Deadhead Douglas Machado likes the idea so much that the Ashley, Pa., resident recently started a petition on Change.org to have the band perform at the halftime show. It garnered more than 13,000 signatures in a matter of days.
“On so many levels, this would set the bar for a monumental and unforgettable Super Bowl halftime performance, not only for those in attendance, but for the entire world over,” Machado said. “The television audience alone, and thus the Nielsen ratings, would be unparalleled. … Between location and the 50th year, not to mention the well-established success and history behind the band, everything about this pairing simply makes sense. The Grateful Dead themselves have publicly posted that if they were approached to take part, they would be in to do so.”
Whether the Grateful Dead can connect with the younger set is open to debate, as the group has been Truckin’ for a long time now. Surviving founding members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann and Bob Weir are deep into their 60s, and Berkeley-bred Phil Lesh turned 75 last spring.
But if their recent 50th anniversary tour is any indication, the Grateful Dead can still bring it by most accounts. Their five Fare Thee Well gigs received highly favorable reviews, a sign that there’s still plenty of life in those old bones. Next is the Dead & Company tour, which will feature 37-year-young John Mayer in Jerry Garcia’s frontman role.
If nothing else, the Grateful Dead would have the benefit of the homefield advantage. The big game will be played at Levi’s Stadium, 45 miles from Haight-Ashbury, where they spawned a culture that lives to this day.