By Scott Malone
EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) – Accompanied by a light show that featured 80,000 fans with illuminated hats, pop star Bruno Mars rocked the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday with a selection of his hits including “Treasure” and “Runaway Baby.”
Dressed in a glittery, ’50s style jacket and narrow tie, the bouffant-topped singer danced across the stage as fire effects and fireworks lit up East Rutherford, New Jersey’s Met Life Stadium.
He was backed by alternative rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose lead singer Anthony Kiedis strutted out onto the stage shirtless and in shorts even as the temperature dropped to 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius), belting out the group’s 1991 hit “Give it Away.”
Mars later rolled on a round stage out to the center of the field to perform “Just the Way You Are,” which earned him the first of his two Grammy Awards, completing his performance.
The Hawaiian-born R&B singer follows performers from previous years who include Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen and Prince in singing at what is far and away the most-watched U.S. sporting event.
Mars, whose album “Unorthodox Jukebox” was named best pop vocal album at the 2014 Grammys, had joked that he prepared for the rigors of performing at the first outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl by securing his pompadour hairstyle with “three gallons of hair spray.”
Before the game, soprano Renee Fleming delivered a rousing performance of the U.S. national anthem, backed by a symphony orchestra singers from all four branches of the U.S. armed forces and fireworks.
A military color guard marched out while an enormous U.S. flag was unfurled over the field.
Fleming, with four Grammy Awards to her name, was the first opera star to sing the national anthem before the NFL championship, a task that normally falls to a pop singer.
(Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Eric Walsh)