Red Hot Chili Peppers Didn’t Plug In Their Guitars At The Super Bowl

Did the Red Hot Chili Peppers play live during the Super Bowl? How could men in their 50s do jumps so high and not get out of breath? Why am I so in love with Bruno Mars? These are the questions I asked myself during the halftime performance at this year’s Super Bowl.

Bruno Mars completely wow-ed me as always. Is there anything the guy can’t do? He can play drums, he has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard and he did some kind of dance that my brother pointed out “wasn’t even a moon walk – it was better and more difficult than a moon walk. How is that even real?!”

Speaking of things that aren’t real, USA Today pointed out this little fact that totally shocked me: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who busted into Bruno Mars’ performance like some kind of too-cool, punk-rock biker gang of dads and shredded were perhaps…not shredding at all. If you look closely, their guitars aren’t plugged in at all. 

Now, the Super Bowl halftime performance is some massively choreographed, impeccably planned, huge moment that millions of people watch solely for the fact that they want to be blown away. People are almost always disappointed even if the performance is fantastic (like boo-hoo that Destiny’s Child reunion wasn’t long enough and Madonna looks old). Most people don’t expect for the performers to be playing 100% live (though I should point out that Bruno Mars amazed me because he didn’t miss a note and was singing his heart out). Everyone knows the scrutiny vocalists undergo when they sing along to a backing track (or lip-sync) but is it the same for other performers? Does it matter if the Red Hot Chili Peppers were singing along to a backing track while they played air guitar? Have they, with their extended catalogue of Billboard-certified hits, not proven themselves enough?

In my opinion, if a performer is doing crazy dancing or acrobatics (see Pink’s Grammy performance) who cares if they’re lip-syncing or playing air guitar? In an event as high stakes as the Super Bowl, it doesn’t bother me either. I’d be so nervous that I don’t know what I’d do! What does bother me is how they didn’t bother to make it look real. Maybe it was a Nirvana-esque statement about the modern day music industry or maybe some stage director is getting fired for messing up as we speak or maybe they had to for whatever reason, but I guess we’ll never know.

What do you think? Is it ever okay to fake playing an instrument in a live performance?