How many Licks does it take to get to the center of the Super Bowl? It would appear that the magic number is Forty-three. Formed in July 1962, the Rolling Stones finally put in a performance as the Half Time act at Super Bowl XL on Sunday, February 5, 2006.

     The Stones delivered three raucous musical workouts for their brief stint at Half Time for SB40 held at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. 2005's SB39 featuring Paul McCartney was a tremendous highlight. Macca performed four numbers for his international Half Time moment.

Half Time Attraction

     Now well underway into their fifth decade as a vital rock'n roll band that continues to command a global audience, the Rolling Stones were arguably a bigger draw than the contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks. Because of public demand, the Stones and the NLF produced a line of special Tee shirts commemorating Super Bowl XL emblazoned with the Stones' infamous insignia.

     Singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards & Ronnie Wood, and drummer Charlie Watts were supported on stage by keyboardist Chuck Levell and bassist Darryl Jones. No other live stage act could top the Stones for a power-pumped performance at this milestone football game for Super Bowl XL.

     The Rolling Stones played at both PNC Park in September at Pittsburgh and the KeyArena in October at Seattle during the 2005 leg of their Bigger Bang North American Tour. During his pre-game NFL interview, Jagger would not make a prediction for a winning football team, but he conceded that bookmakers had picked Pittsburgh to be victorious.

The Super Bowl gets Licked

     Introduced with a brief video, the Rolling Stones immediately launched into a resounding rendition of "Start Me Up". The Stones were strutting atop a huge tongue in the shape of the band's infamous iconic logo. The stage itself was both impressive and beautiful. The Tongue portion was a red curtain that revealed a pool of lucky Stones fans underneath in an envious position to enjoy a 12 minute romp.

     Super Bowl XL was hit hard by Hurricane Stones as the crowd went wild in ecstasy as the British rockers whipped the audience into a fervid frenzy. Promoting their new album, A Bigger Bang, the Stones jammed on the hard-hitting "Rough Justice".

     Jagger quipped with a smirk, "Here's one we could've done at Super Bowl I. Everything comes to one who waits". With that, the British Invasion veterans performed their classic rock anthem "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". The energy and intensity exhibited by this band was utterly unbelievable. Voted one of the best rock classics of the last century, the Stones sounded vibrant as ever in 2006 on a hit single recorded 41 years ago.

Censorship & Controversy

     The hilarious irony of SB40 is the fact that ABC beamed the Stones in performance with a five-second delay in order to censor the lyrics in two of the three songs sung by Jagger. One word in "Start Me Up" and another word in "Rough Justice" were both quietly edited out of the live broadcast. Question: Will the downloads of these tracks be edited too?

     In 1965, The Ed Sullivan Show censored the Rolling Stones appearance on the CBS television program by editing a line sung during "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". This same song sung live at SB40, however, was NOT censored by ABC in February 2006.

     With Super Bowl XL in Detroit, media cry babies began whining that the legacy of Motown was being usurped by a distinctly British institution, the Rolling Stones. To spotlight Motown, Stevie Wonder performed as the opening act joined by guests that sang a medley of Motown tunes. Even New Orleans musicians were recognized during the National Anthem.

     The Pittsburgh Steelers triumphed over the Seattle Seahawks, defeating them 21 to 10 in the final score of Super Bowl XL. The 2006 sporting event received an undeniable boost from presenting the Rolling Stones as Half Time entertainment. Congratulations are in order for the Stones as they achieved a new career high in their decades long history identified as the World's Greatest Rock'n Roll Band.

Super Bowl XL setlist: Start Me Up * Rough Justice * (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

RockonTour   Issue #53
Concert Fan - the Single Source for the Concertphile © 2006 RockonTour
                  the Single Source for the Concertphile

Censors temper the tongue of Sir Mick
The Stones lick Super Bowl 40 before a world wide audience

by Timothy Tilghman