LVIII Forever


A football on stage with purple lights Description automatically generated

At last, the Super Bowl made it to Paradise.

There, a glittering being appeared, ethereal, ever-loving. She could sing like an Angel because she was one. But she didn’t, not at this halftime.

Like the three DraftKings of Biblical Time, she came from the Orient (Japan), though she had arrived, miraculously, from the West.

She flew not on her own invisible, immaterial wings, but on the aerospace-grade aluminum of her Dassault Falcon 7X private jet parked nearby at Harry Reid (that revered Profit of Government Pork) International Airport just across Dean Martin Drive which runs parallel to Frank Sinatra Drive before conjoining with Sammy Davis Jr Drive. These are the saints’ routes followed by earthbound pilgrims on their way to the Holy Site on the Super Bowl Sabbath.

Joyful and triumphant, images of the Angel were flashed across the altarpiece jumbotron and beamed to home icon screens and a million—or was it a billion?—wrists and palms and foreheads, like full-spectrum, synchronized stigmata. When the bearded gridiron Warriors of God who fought in Her name touched down to earth she leapt up towards heaven from her throne in the sky, shivering in ecstasy.

The Angel was all light inside the darkened temple, brilliant and black in the desert sun, just across the red sea of fans and the waters from from the Great Pyramid, the Strip (Las Vegas not Gaza) alight in neon, night and day.

Allegiant Stadium rises from the desert in unincorporated Paradise, contiguous to Las Vegas, the City of Sin. Paradise must be unincorporated, incorporeal.

The stadium’s address is 3333 Al Davis Way, named in honor of the Hall of Fame founding owner of the Raiders football team. Davis had long wanted to move his franchise in Vegas but, like Moses, did not make it with his people to the Promised Land. Godless rationalists likely see the address as a colossally coy nod to the arrival of an NFL team in the very gambling Gomorrah so long spurned by the league, since to embrace Vegas would be to soil the game’s putative sporting purity.

The address sent numerologists and mystic punters scurrying to their tomes and tally-boards. provides relevant insight: “The biblical meaning of 333 is a sign from God to tell you that the Angels are with you and they are guiding you, protecting you, and providing for your every need.” calculates that 3333 years have elapsed since the Ten Commandments were revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. Google Maps confirms that Allegiant Stadium is equidistant from Mount Sinai Apostolic Temple (Templo Apostólica Monte Sinai) located in a strip mall ten miles to the east of the stadium. Low-slung Mount Sinai Baptist Mission stands on a scrubby lot ten miles to the north. The verdant campus of Temple Sinai sprawls thirteen miles to the northwest. That makes a total of 33 miles!

Allegiant Stadium looms black in the bleached landscape. Its construction cost $1.9 billion. Pious taxpayers put $750 million of their won money in the public collection plate. The stadium’s tinted retractable windows are said to be the largest of their kind in the world. A giant fireless flame burns inside the Football Basilica to Davis’s memory, like a sanctuary lamp that never flickers, not even when a rogue gust of desert wind rips through the portal when opened.

When closed, these vast lenses look like wraparound sunglasses that could have been worn by the dark-spectacle-loving Raider owner or by the Rat Pack boys glaring into the desert sun through a haze not of martinis and cigarette smoke, but the low-calorie fizz of Bud Light and the CO2 fumes of stretch-limo Hummers and the nearly-one thousand private jets that, like the Angel’s skied in for Sunday’s rituals.

From her sacred citadel, the Angel observed the football rites, but also the satanic liturgy that framed them. She knew better than anyone that Lucifer takes many forms.

Andra Day and a chorus started off the Order of Service by slinging the rousing strains of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” into the sump of sentimentality. “Let our rejoicing rise / High as the list’ning skies,” she breathily intoned, repurposing the bracing hymn as a doleful sedative. A key change, crescendo kick and tempo uptick were all meant to impart the lessons of “the dark past.” With these predictable calibrations the anthem tried to spur itself “till victory is won.” But the tepid racket achieved only a dour shuffle above which Day oozed and occasionally arabesqued, apparently trying her best to blow some life into the limp balloon.

After this bland starter came a course of white-bread bunkum: American the Beautiful delivered by a guitar-wielding Beelzebub wreathed in satanic tattoos, who soothingly snarled out the harmless melody through monstrous metallic teeth. This “artist’s” credentials qualifying him to perform this paean to Manifest Destiny and its 49ers and other killers of “Chiefs” were announced over the PA before he broke into song: “Nine-times Diamond-certified global superstar, Post Malone!” A paradoxical truth was hidden in the rhetorical puffery. Pony Express Post emitted a wailing whisper, but somewhere beneath the amber waves of reverb and fruited plain of vapid vocalize one could hear the whirr of a diamond saw vicious enough to clearcut continents and remove the tops of purple mountain majesties.

“Entertainment Icon” Reb McEntire then unfurled a crisply pressed Star-Spangled Banner. She twanged patriotically for the Dawn’s Early Light and let rip through a big smile on her arrival at the Home of the Brave. McEntire hit her musical spots and milked all the right moments even as she marched methodically down the field of song in an efficient 90 seconds. She did not need a two-minute warning. The downhome swoops, offered up in curvaceous contrast to the Euclidian flyover of the Air Force Thunderbirds, came across not as heartfelt but as an expression of heartland professionalism, the algo-rhythmic routine of a chip-implanted chanteuse from the Grand Ole Opry.

The Chiefs and 49ers performed two quarters of their Wild West Show.

Two quarters make a half, which meant it was time for the halftime show.

Church services have ushers. This one dutifully praised God, thanking Him for answering his prayers. But Lucifer would say that, wouldn’t he? This fiend has many guises, many outfits, the first lifted from Las Vegas legend Liberace’s wardrobe—a cream cape with silver lamé brocade that made the world shiver in delight and disgust. The Usher took a few artful steps and shed the garment, all the better to get down to his unique brand of show business.

The Angel was above in her box, but this Mephistophelean Motown Magician was down to earth, on the earth, dancing like a demon and singing like a saint, albeit an unusual one who sang only about of sex. He performed many musical miracles. The most amazing of these was an astounding oxymoron of motion and semantics—moonwalking on grass. It was fake grass, but what isn’t fake in Paradise, NV? Besides, moonwalking on grass, fake or real, has got to be damn sight harder than walking on water.

Alicia Keys, boasting a Star-Spangled Banner and an American the Beautiful on her Super Bowl CV, mounted the stage in a red sequined bodysuit and fingered a satanic red piano as a matching red sheet billowed behind her like Pentecostal tongues of flame. With the Angel listening along with the world, Keys flubbed the first note of her infernal love duet with the Usher, a human mistake suggesting that that she had not yet surrendered to damnation. The NFL promptly scrubbed out the error with auto-tune. If only 49er kicker, Jake Moody, who missed an extra-point and a field goal, could do the same.

Next to join the Witches’ Sabbath was H.E.R.; h.e.r. hair done up to look like devil’s ears, s.h.e. strummed and stroked and thrust h.e.r. fire-engine red guitar, and refused be outmanned by the subsequent strutting and slamming of, Lil John, and Ludacris when they erupted on stage. After ceding a few precious minutes to this squad of apostates, the Usher returned in mock heavenly white, soon stripping to the waist in order to make us believe that he was flesh and blood, that he could be harmed by the hellish heat and the columns of sulphur smoke. But he did not melt. He did not cough. He did not even sweat. As the all-star cast came together for a concluding Hallelujah Chorus of “Yeah, yeah!,” a mute marching band boogeyed below the stage erected in the shape of a wristwatch—one presumes an Apple Watch, since Apple was the sponsoring corporate overlord of this satanic entertainment. Indeed, time was ticking away, but the flames of song-and-dance licking at the Usher’s Air Jordans did not consume him even as he lofted the saucy discant of “Nice & Slow” and conjured a place where all “Burn.”

After it was all over (but was really just starting), the Angel came down to earth so as to exorcise all those demons. Incarnate, immaculate, she kissed a tight-end and the scent of sulphur was gone in an instant.

In one of her heavenly hymns heard on her ongoing Eras Tour, the Angel sings, “I don’t wanna live forever.” But she was and is already immortal.

Dearly Beloved, raise your iPhones and wave goodbye to seconds, hours, days, months, and years. Bid farewell to pagan Roman Numerals and to the Super Bowls they mark. Allow one final iOS update.

The next show, neither swift nor slow, will be hers in eternity. The Heavenly Harmony has no game clock. Halftime is over forever. It is the End of all Eras except hers.


Two quarters before The Kiss the Last Halftime had concluded in yet another paradox, finish not with Omega but Alpha. Having donned a Road Warrior biker-rig of black and blue, the Usher danced but did not drop. Joined by his crew of apostates on that time-piece soon to be made irrelevant by the Angel, he chanted over and over, “I took the world to A! I took the World to A!”

It could only stand for Apocalypse.

DAVID YEARSLEY is a long-time contributor to CounterPunch and the Anderson Valley Advertiser. His latest book is Sex, Death, and Minuets: Anna Magdalena Bach and Her Musical NotebooksHe can be reached at