McCartney, Keys Rock Jacksonville

Nobody, but nobody was worried when Paul McCartney stripped off his jacket midway through his halftime performance at the Super Bowl.

All that was revealed was a long-sleeved red shirt. And if the rock legend wore any nipple jewelry, he mercifully kept it to himself.

As promised, there were no costume "malfunctions," in the style of last year's eye-popping act by Jason Timberlake and Janet Jackson.

NFL officials wanted a safe halftime show after last year's Janet Jackson fiasco, and they got it as McCartney delivered tried and true fan favorites: hits from the Beatles and Wings, sidelining his more recent work.

McCartney's stage set - a giant cross of video boards on the stadium floor with the singer at the center - was visually arresting, although it made his opening song, "Drive My Car," look like one of the broadcast's dozens of auto commercials.

McCartney's theatrical James Bond theme "Live and Let Die" was a perfect backdrop for a stadium fireworks show. The lights, placards and video images also made "Hey Jude" a sight to see.

Fans sang along to the chorus - loud enough for the words to resound throughout the stadium.

There wasn't any danger of a lip-synch controversy, either: you could tell it was the lived-in voice of a 62-year-old singing.

It was strange seeing the former Beatle, a bold and shocking performer for another generation, presented as the sedate option. NFL censors were probably hoping the "California grass" reference in "Get Back" slipped by unnoticed, or figured people would think he was simply referring to a football field.

The closest thing to a wardrobe malfunction during all the performances came courtesy of country singer Gretchen Wilson's guitar player. His jeans had a strategically placed rip in the crotch.

Before the game, Alicia Keys oozed both class and chops as she did a duet with a recording of the late singer Ray Charles on one of his signatures, "America the Beautiful" - and made it work wonderfully. A picture of Charles singing appeared on the stadium scoreboard screens.

Keys was accompanied by students from the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Charles' alma mater, who both sang and signed along.

The pre-game show was a mixture of old and new schools, with country, rap and soul. Gretchen Wilson brought out white-bearded fiddle player Charlie Daniels, and the Black Eyed Peas had Earth, Wind & Fire along to sing "Shining Star."

The Black Eyed Peas also restructured the song "Where Is The Love" to reflect a Super Bowl theme.

Although with the NFL watching so closely, it's a wonder how Wilson's "Here For the Party" managed to slip through.

"Gonna have a little fun," she sang. "Gonna get me some."

One can almost hear the small voices in living rooms across the country: "Daddy, what does 'get me some' mean?"

"Some chips, honey. Now pass the salsa and quiet down."

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