By Jim Harrington The Oakland Tribune
The rumors turned out to be true. Beyonce did, indeed, reunite Destiny’s Child during the 2013 “Super Bowl Halftime Show” in New Orleans on Sunday.
Mostly, however, the 31-year-old entertainer used the showcase to illustrate all the reasons why she left the band in the first place.
Beyonce shimmered with pure star power throughout the show, delivering the kind of charisma and stage presence that Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Madonna and other dance-pop icons only wish they could summon.
It all looked so easy for Beyonce, despite the fact that she was pretty much in constant motion throughout the show, dancing and singing with passion and style in front of a packed Superdome crowd and a TV audience of megamillions.
And, yes, she was definitely singing — live. There will be no lip-syncing controversy after this Super Bowl performance, like there was from Beyonce’s appearance at the Presidential Inauguration.
She opened the show with an abbreviated version of her great 2003 single “Crazy in Love,” moving quickly into a satisfying snippet of “End of Time” (from her fourth studio album, 2011’s “4”). Then Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland appeared in a flash and the Destiny’s Child reunion was on.
The trio reached into its back catalog for the smash “Independent Women Part I” and then veered into Beyonce’s solo songbook for the hit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” Then the brief reunion was over, as Beyonce closed the show with her own power ballad “Halo” (from 2008’s “I Am … Sasha Fierce”).
The lone disappointment of the show was that Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z, didn’t join the festivities for “Crazy in Love.” That would have indeed been “Crazy.”
Beyonce’s outing was just one of the musical highlights at the Super Bowl.
Before the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers even took the playing field, Alicia Keys performed a winning version of the national anthem.
The 14-time Grammy winner, who is scheduled to appear March 10 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, delivered a dramatically different version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It was the polar opposite of some of the high-flying vocal affairs of past Super Bowls, such as Whitney Houston’s memorable tutorial in vocal gymnastics before the 1991 game in Tampa.
Instead, Keys sat at the piano and crooned slowly at the start of the difficult number, handling the words with deliberate care. The rendition was sweet, soft and breathy, exuding a relaxed vibe that seemed nearly impossible for the occasion. Keys showed uncommon restraint at the start, eventually moving to a greater degree of passion as the song steadily built toward a powerful climax.
It was, without a doubt, one of the more memorable national anthems of recent years.
The pregame festivities also included a touching rendition of “America the Beautiful,” performed by Sandy Hook Elementary School students, with substantial help from Jennifer Hudson.