I haven’t watched a Super Bowl in 10 years. It’s been even longer since I saw a Super Bowl halftime show. And yet, after hearing and reading about the profundity of Rihanna’s halftime concert last month, I found myself watching it on YouTube. And again. And again.
No one would call me a Rihanna fan — I just don’t know her music. About half the songs of her setlist evoked this reaction from me: “oh, this is one of her songs?” Prior to this performance, I had never looked up one of her songs or pressed play on something in her catalog on Spotify.
So now I’m humming some of the hooks from her hits throughout the day. I even woke up last night with one bouncing in my head. Her Super Bowl show performance was incredible — the interwebs go on and on about that: iconic, fiercely low-key, exuding self-possessed confidence … she’s getting that kind of acclaim. And I keep going back to it. It’s a great show.
And, there’s one moment that stands out to me above all the rest. She’s surrounded by dancers the entire time. Hundreds of them. Then there’s a shift to a piece where a band is waiting for her on one of the platforms on the forever-long stage. She’s just a few seconds into the transition of the new song; there’s a steady but building intro. She walks up to a very tall man holding a bass guitar, and she gives him a fist-bump – the only greeting she offers someone else in her performance. For just a moment, the camera follows her with the bass player in the background. It’s clear from the soft fist-bump that these two know each other. It’s a warm moment that flashes by, and then, in background, this giant man, a rockstar in his own right, dressed in tailored clothes for a Super Bowl performance – so in other words, is in this moment of time, one of the coolest cats on the planet – nerdily sings along (sans microphone) with Rihanna.
I’ve watched this video half a dozen times just to catch this moment. I love it. 13 minutes of ultra-precision and choreography, and a momentous moment of human connection.