Because the Hawaiian native came out smoking, playing a bad-ass drum solo while wearing a gold lame suit and floating across MetLife Field in the intro to a hyped “Locked Out of Heaven” to kick off the festivities of what was already looking like a rout by the Seattle Seahawks. The multi-talented singer/songwriter opened his bid for Super Bowl supremacy just moments earlier with a children’s choir harmonizing on a pop gospel version of the chorus from “Billionaire,” the Travie McCoy hit Mars produced with his crew, the Smeezingtons.
In case you still wondered whether he had the cred to land the kind of gig reserved for Beyoncé , Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones, Mars seemed determined to prove he did. The singer jammed into the old school rollerboogie disco jam “Treasure,” complete with synchronized foot slides, before doubling the tempo for a rip through “Runaway Baby,” which included a riff on the Isley Brothers house party soul classic “Shout.”
With his broken-ankle James Brown footwork and splits, the Elvis Pompadour and the GIF-worthy swagger, Mars looked the part of a stadium-rocker. And, he seamlessly executed a difficult-to-imagine-before-it-happened hand-off to co-stars the Red Hot Chili Peppers when his sock hop version of their hit “Give It Away” morphed into the Californicators’ bass-plucking funk punk original.
Mars, 28, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with ageless, and always shirtless Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis, 51, as he let the SoCal legends swarm the stage for one of their biggest hits, fading into the the background momentarily. With both bands thrashing along to the tune’s elastic groove, Chili Peppers guitarist John Klinghoffer briefly grabbed the spotlight with his crazed, Jimi Hendrix-like guitar freak out to end the jam.
The two-headed musical machine thrashed into brief a chorus of “Jump” that had them all, yup, jumping in near unison before the Peppers vacated the stage to make way for a series of pre-taped long-distance dedications from deployed American troops. The hyped set ended on a somber note with the powerful ballad “Just the Way You Are,” which Mars crooned out amid a giant fireworks display over the stadium.