WASHINGTON – Was the Super Bowl halftime show one of the most-watched air guitar performances of all time?
The Red Hot Chili Peppers joined Bruno Mars onstage for the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show Sunday night for a high-energy performance that Nielsen said an estimated 115.3 million people watched. That made it the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show ever, eclipsing Madonna’s performance two years ago.
After the halftime show, pictures and comments began to circulate noting that Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist, Flea, and guitarist, Josh Klinghoffer, didn’t appear to have their instruments plugged in.
— 1310 Ticket Radio (@TicketRadio) February 3, 2014
— JOE BONAMASSA (@JBONAMASSA) February 3, 2014
That guitar is plugged into NOTHING
— Vernon Reid (@vurnt22) February 3, 2014
USA TODAY posted older pictures of the band playing with cords running from the instrument’s output jack — something the instruments lacked during the half time show.
The band has not yet issued a statement following the accusations, but the musicians may have feared cold weather’s impact on the sound. In 2009, renowned musicians Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman didn’t play live at President Barack Obama’s inauguration because the weather was too cold for the instruments to stay in tune, according to USA TODAY.
Critics, however, are tipping their hats to Mars, who appeared to be singing throughout his performance.