The problem with Super Bowl halftime shows is that they have to appeal to a wide base. Which, as in most cases, means nobody's angry or offended, but nobody's really that excited, either. We can all agree on Beyoncé, just as we can all agree on U2, and Bruce Springsteen, and Prince, and pretty much every previous halftime performer other than maybe the Black Eyed Peas.
The Super Bowl just doesn't do it the way the city does it at the 'Stick. At Candlestick Park there's some flavor and there's some bass. As the 49ers battled the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Championship game earlier this month, local hip-hop bumped through the air.
E-40, a Vallejo native, performed at halftime. His biggest song of 2012, "Function," blasted from the speakers during timeouts and changes of possession.
But the Candlestick musical experience went beyond the usual intermission show. During the regular season the 49ers kickoff unit got pumped to "Riot" by Georgia's 2Chainz, and the kickoff return squad took the field to "Slow Down" by Clyde Carson, who hails from Oakland. The special teams' players had selected those songs as anthems for the respective units.
"That's why we invited them to perform the songs live for those times in the [Green Bay] game," says 49ers spokesman Bob Lange. Before every 49ers kickoff, 2Chainz took the stage, on a platform in front of the stands. Before every 49ers kickoff return, Carson did the same. The live performances were the culmination of a tradition of playing local music over the over the sound system during games.
It's become a new playoff tradition for the team. Last year, when the Niners hosted the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs, Atlanta-native Future performed "Tony Montana," which had been the kickoff team's theme song all season.
This year, fans got their playoff-ticket-money's worth. The Niners kicked off eight times. And the defense gave up five total scores, meaning six kickoff returns.
The rappers weren't alone on the stage. Alongside the requisite cheerleaders was Sourdough Sam, the smiling miner with the turned-up hat and the gold bandana. Apparently, in preparation for the big game, he'd sharpened up his dance moves. Next to 2Chainz, he c-walked and did a baby freeze. Next to Clyde Carson, he dropped down into a get low, then hopped up and started giggin'.
Now that's Candlestick magic.