New Bedford’s Super Bowl Setup Couples Aren’t Giving Away Secrets
The old wartime phrase "loose lips sink ships" can be applied to the Super Bowl now.
New Bedford's Michael and Donna Spoor, along with Mike and Kathy Smith, are part of a select crew that sets up the over-the-top halftime show at the Super Bowl, and this year, there are security measures in place unlike anything they've seen in 16 years of working the biggest game of the year.
The Super Bowl LVI's halftime show will feature hip-hop and R&B legends Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar, and everyone outside Los Angeles' SoFi Stadium wants to know what's going to happen.
"Everything is so secretive and under wraps that taking photos or video is strictly prohibited because they want to keep everything a surprise," Michael Spoor said.
Unprecedented measures are being taken to keep the show a surprise.
"While we were practicing with the entertainers, the producers didn't want the neighborhoods and surrounding businesses to know any of the music," he said. "So they set up speakers, pointed towards the neighbors, blaring out Bon Jovi songs so no one could hear what the show had to offer. Everyone outside the stadium were pretty upset."
There's also a moratorium on the crew posting anything on social media. Spoor said the the powers that be go to great lengths to keep everything hush-hush, but it's very difficult to do when you have so many people involved.
"So far, no one has been booted out for sharing confidential information they're not allowed to give out on the internet," he said.
New Bedford's "Super Four" are part of a garrison of 450 setup people, but when you add in all the dancers, that number climbs to about 1,000 people on the field.
"At halftime, there are 30 huge carts on full-sized tires that are rolled out to bring the show together in 12 minutes," Donna Spoor said.
This is the first time a carpet, the length of the field, will be rolled out and electrified, producing a spectacular light show.
"Wait until you see it on TV, it will be amazing," she said.
At SoFi Stadium – technically located in Inglewood, California – a cheap seat for the Super Bowl goes for about $6,500. In addition to the legends performing at halftime, Grammy-nominated country music artist Mickey Guyton will sing the national anthem.
"Before now, I was never a big fan of rap, but I really like what they're performing in the show," Donna Spoor said.
Once the big game has ended, the Smiths and the Spoors are part of a 20-member elite corps that will set up for the presentation of the Lombardi Trophy.
"I thought we were practicing with a copy of the trophy, only to be shocked that it was the real deal they brought in for our runthrough," Donna Spoor said.
SoFi Stadium is also one of the biggest venues the Spoors have ever worked.
"The size of that stadium is so huge the roof can easily cover all of our stadium in Foxboro, including all the parking around Gillette," Michael Spoor said. "They were still adding more seats to accommodate 82 to 84,000 fans."
That's a far cry from the scant 22,000 first responders who were the only ones allowed to see the game last year because of COVID.
"In the past, I never had an adrenalin pump like I had walking into this stadium. I thought my heart was literally going to pop out of my chest," Donna Spoor said.
Michael Spoor laments the that neither Tom Brady nor the Patriots are playing in the game this year, but the "Super Four" will still have a great time, between the Super Bowl and visiting Hollywood and the sites there.
"All in all, it's only 15 minutes long, so we'll make the most of balancing the charm of famed California, with the sensation of setting up and actually being in the middle of Super Bowl 56," said Spoor, who predicts a three-point Bengals upset.