By Scott Malone
NEW YORK (Reuters) – An early rehearsal for the Super Bowl halftime show at the outdoor stadium held some weather-related surprises for two-time Grammy Award winning singer Bruno Mars.
“The microphone turns into a popsicle!” Mars said on Thursday at a press conference along with opera great Renee Fleming, who will sing the National Anthem before Sunday night’s game.
“I’m grabbing the mic and it’s frozen,” the Hawaii-born Mars told reporters, sporting his trademark bouffant. “There’s stuff like that that we’re taking into consideration. And getting some heaters.”
The singer said he was surprised to be tapped by the National Football League as the featured halftime performer, following in the footsteps of superstars like Beyonce, Prince, Bruce Springsteen and The Who.
“I haven’t been able to take it in – not yet,” Mars said. “But I will.”
Mars offered no details of what fans will see or hear when he takes the stage accompanied by alternate rockers the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Fleming has no musical concerns, she said, about delivering “The Star-Spangled Banner” the challenging 200-year-old anthem that requires singers to have a wide range.
The world-renowned soprano with four Grammy Awards and a National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama, is more concerned about something else: tuning out the distractions in a high-tech stadium filled with 80,000 fans waiting for the Seattle Seahawks-Denver Broncos matchup – with another 160 million, by NFL estimates, expected to watch on television.
“I work in a world that is completely no tech, zero amplification and all live acoustic music, and I expect to be really distracted by the amount of sound coming from the system, from the size of the stadium, from the audience and also the visual from the jumbotron,” Fleming said.
In past years, the Super Bowl has featured pop singers such as Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys and Billy Joel to deliver the anthem.
Fleming said she had never expected to get the call: “If you’d asked me six months ago if I’d be doing this, I’d have laughed and said, ‘That’s ridiculous,’ and changed the subject.”
(Additional reporting by Eric Kelsey in Los Angeles; editing by Gunna Dickson)