Most of the recent Super Bowl halftime shows have been headlined by solo artists, but Coldplay has now joined the ranks of superstar bands (including the Rolling Stones and the Who) that have been chosen to headline the Super Bowl halftime show. Beyoncé has been announced as Coldplay’s special guest during the performance. (And expect at least one other “surprise” guest.*)
Super Bowl L takes place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Feb. 7, 2016, when the Carolina Panthers take on the Denver Broncos. On Feb. 4, 2016, Coldplay — lead singer Chris Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion — held a press conference at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco to talk about the show and drop hints about the band’s Super Bowl performance. Here is what Coldplay said.
Chris, where will your children Apple and Moses be watching this Super Bowl? Do they understand how big this event is?
Chris Martin: I hope they’ll watch. What else is on that day? It’s hard to get tickets. Funnily enough, my son designed my shoes. I asked him a few months ago, “Can you make me some Super Bowl shoes?” And he made me two pairs. One is for this [press conference] and one is for the Super Bowl. So yes, they’ve been lovely about the whole thing.
What was your inspiration for your design on for this Super Bowl halftime show?
Will Champion: One of our favorite places to play in the world is a place called the Glastonbury Festival, which is a big music festival that happens in England. And it’s full of color and pageantry, and it’s an amazing spiritual home of music in England. And we wanted to bring that vibe to the Super Bowl halftime show. We can’t compete when it comes to amazing dance routines, so we have to do what comes naturally to us, which is to try and provide a bit of fun and a great atmosphere for people to come and be together and be communal and enjoy the general experience.
What’s your favorite Coldplay song?
Martin: They’re all amazing.
Guy Berryman: “Uptown Funk.”
Martin: “Uptown Funk” is probably our favorite Coldplay song this week.
Do you feel any pressure for this Super Bowl performance? And if so, how do you deal with it?
Martin: That’s a great question. The answer, of course, is yes. I think the four of us as musicians feel more pressure at some like this, at this press conference. So, in a way, this is a great warm-up. Now, something like this seems a lot easier.
How we handle the pressure. One thing is we spoke to each other about what we’d like to communicate in the halftime show. And we decided we wanted to make it about togetherness and acceptance and the things we really believe in. And then, we called the right guests. So we know we have great people joining us.
Who are the guests?
Martin: Well, most of them have been leaked by Pepsi, I think. Not that Pepsi bottle ever leaks.
Which team are you rooting for to win?
Martin: I think they’re all amazing. Anyone who can withstand that amount of pressure and physical endurance is great in our books.
How do you fit 16 years of music into just 12 minutes?
Martin: We decided to play all our No. 1s, and then work out how to fill the other 10 minutes.
Jonny Buckland: We just had an argument for a very long time about which songs we wanted to play, and which songs we thought anyone hadn’t heard before. There’s a lot of people really haven’t heard us before.
What was the conversation like when you invited Beyoncé to perform with you for this Super Bowl halftime performance?
Martin: Because it’s Super Bowl L, and [executives] from the NFL, and said, “We’d love for you to do the halftime one year.” And they came to us this year, and they said, “It being the 50th year, could you possibly include the past, the present and the future?” And to look to the future, we asked these kids from YOLA, the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.
And the way we’re sort of honoring the past is asking people whose [Super Bowl] halftime shows we really loved. And Beyoncé was right up there, as most people would agree. And we thought asking her would be appropriate.
And the other person who’s coming out with us: the same reason. They’ve been great teachers to us and have been great pearls of wisdom. It’s been fun to make one giant band together.
How did you get this Super Bowl gig? Did you campaign for it?
Martin: We started in Iowa three years ago. We had a small bus, and at that point, not many investors. We had at that point barely enough to afford one can of Pepsi. Pepsi stepped in. They were very sweet.
They gave us a bigger bus, and we got some stickers: “Coldplay for 2016.” And then we got there and worked our little butts off. And lo and behold, the voters of America said, “All right.”
But what was that moment like when you found out that you were playing at the Super Bowl halftime show?
Champion: We were staggered, to be honest. It is such a huge event. There’s nothing bigger for a band, so we were blown away.
So immediately, we started thinking, “Right, we need to get to work, because there’s an awful lot of stuff to do.” It was a mixture of being completely blown away and putting that work hat on of “We’ve got to get to work.”
How do you make your Super Bowl different or memorable?
Martin: More memorable? That’s not fair to everyone else. Everyone who does this show knows it’s the biggest honor, it’s the biggest privilege, so they put their life and soul into it.
We’ve watched all of the other halftime shows many times, and most of them are fantastic. So I wouldn’t want to put any of them down. I think we’re going to try and celebrate those other years, and hopefully make the show as memorable as some of our favorites.
If you had to choose your favorite quarterback between Peyton Manning and Cam Newton, who would it be?
Buckland: I think we’re absolutely split down the middle between those of us who know absolutely nothing about football and those of us who know almost absolutely nothing about football
Martin: I think if LeBron James has a good game, things are going to be absolutely fine.
Will you play “Hymn for the Weekend”?
Martin: We’re not playing that song that you just mentioned, because it only just came out. I don’t think it would be quite right. But, of course, we love Beyoncé’s music. She’s one of our all-time favorites. She’s one of the greatest performers I ever witnessed.
What is your go-to Beyoncé song?
Champion: It’s got to be “Single Ladies.” It’s a big hit in my house.
Do you do the “Single Ladies” dance?
Champion: Of course. We all do.
Martin: Who doesn’t?
Can we see you do a little of that dance right now?
Champion: It costs too much.
Where did you get the idea to name your latest album “A Head Full of Dreams”?
Martin: When we got that title, I thought, “Maybe this will be the album where we play the Super Bowl, because it comes from remembering when we were kids, setting a dream, somewhere to get to.” This, of course, applies to all the players and maybe lots of people in this room, maybe wondering if you can ever get somewhere. You can look at the world and be a bit despondent.
You can also look and see that people are always coming up with great stuff. And people are coming up with great new solutions all the time and great new ideas and medicines. So the title, to us, sort of captures that feeling of hope and optimism about the future. And that’s what we’re trying to celebrate in this halftime show. And the game itself celebrates people’s dreams, doesn’t it?
Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2015 had a memorable moment with one of her backup dancers dressed as a shark. What do you think your “left shark” moment will be?
Martin: I think when we bring our sharks out, we’ve trained them so well this year — all of our sharks. We’ve got left shark, middle shark, front shark, back shark, two right sharks, and the reserve shark in case one of the first sharks has a problem.
In which case, a Pepsi logo will be flashed on screen. Everything will be shut down for two minutes while we replace whatever shark has messed up. There’s a delay on the timing so no viewer will have any shark-based trauma. And that’s how we’re hoping to get around that thing.
It’s a pretty difficult question to answer. You’re asking which part of our show will f*ck up terribly. First of all, I have to say this: I’ve seen “left shark” moments many times. He did great. It seems to be a lot of fuss over nothing. I thought he was wonderful — or she or whoever was in it. I don’t know is the answer. Speak to us next week.
One of this year’s Super Bowl quarterbacks is a huge Coldplay fan and named “Clocks” and his favorite Coldplay song. Which quarterback do you think it was?
Champion: Joe Montana.
The answer is Cam Newton. Will this affect who you’ll be rooting for on the big day?
Champion: This changes things significantly.
Martin: Yeah. We’re going with the Panthers.
Champion: And they have a Scottish kicker as well. Guy, our bass player, is Scottish as well. So we feel a certain affinity with the Scots, I think. So we’ll go with the Panthers.
Martin: It’s the Denver Panthers we’re definitely rooting for, OK? So put that in your paper.
How does it make you feel that Beyoncé calls her love song with Jay-Z “Yellow”?
Martin: That makes me feel great, but I don’t want to know the details.
*Feb. 5, 2016 update: Bruno Mars has confirmed that he will be a guest performer during Coldplay’s Super Bowl halftime show.
For more info: Super Bowl website