NY POST - When Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers take the field at MetLife Stadium on Sunday for the hotly anticipated Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show, organizers urge the crowd to stay in their seats and use their heads — literally.
“We are essentially creating the largest ever LED screen in the stadium,” said Ricky Kirshner, whose New York-based company Touchdown Entertainment tackles the halftime bonanza from staging, lighting, sound production and also televising.
“Everyone will get a wool hat with a built in LED screen in their warming package under their seat cushion. We’re asking for audience participation. People, please don’t leave your seat.”
The technologically advanced fashion will result in 800,000 pixels, turning the stadium into one of the biggest LED screens ever made.
“It will take up the entire stadium. It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this. If you were to look at the Grammys where there’s a backdrop, this extends that backdrop to the entire stadium,” said Kirshner, whose company has produced the last seven Super Bowl halftime spectaculars.
The concert’s logistics, which have been in gestation since September, have very little room for error.
From the time the Seahawks and Broncos hit the locker room, Kirshner’s crew has eight minutes to set up for an action-packed 12-minute musical extravaganza. After the last note is played, there’s seven minutes on the clock to dismantle the stage and get the field ready for the third quarter.
The concert — including performers, volunteers and crews — will require about 3,000 people to carry out.
With an open air stadium, Kirshner said there are many tweaks that need to be made as opposed to putting on a show of this proportion in a dome.
“There aren’t the rigging points. But on the positive side, we can produce a much more exciting pyrotechnic show,” he said, adding that every stadium has its challenges.
“No one builds a stadium for us to do a halftime show. It’s very annoying. It would be much easier if they would ask us what we need,” he joked.
Though the cold weather and storm potential has been a source of panic for the fans and a constant story line for the media, Kirshner isn’t logging into the Weather Channel every five minutes.
After all, his first was Super Bowl XLI in Miami, where Prince performed in the pouring rain.
“Everyone said, ‘It has never rained at a Super Bowl, don’t worry about it.’ And then of course it poured that day. I don’t believe in watching the forecast anymore. We do many outdoor events. It always seems that if you watch the weather report you will drive yourself crazy, so you just have to do your show and be prepared,” said Kirshner, who promised the same show rain or shine.
Along with the Meadowlands’ blistering cold and whipping winds, the show will also feature local talent.
Producers have enlisted some lucky New Jersey school marching bands from South Brunswick High School, Nutley, Bergenfield, Morris Knolls and Roxbury.
“They won’t be used as traditional marching bands,” Kirshner said. “They are part of the light show. Our team that works with marching bands works with the Olympics and they’re used to recruiting those kids. It’s a whole operation just dealing with 500 marching bands kids. You have to feed them, bus them, move them, get them into rehearsals.”
Kirshner, who was raised in New Jersey and lives in Manhattan, said it’s great to be on his home turf, but he concedes there’s not much time for fun and games, regardless of the location.
“I think we’re so focused on what we do. It’s not glamorous,” Kirshner said. “We never get out to the parties, so it’s not like we experience the Super Bowl feeling all week.”
Beyond the bones of the show, Kirshner, who spent last week in Los Angeles rehearsing, is mostly mum, dropping one hint. “It’s probably more rock music than we’ve had in the past.”