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Wonder Ignites Super Bowl Show

February 1, 1999

MIAMI (AP) _ The producers of the Super Bowl halftime show promised a few surprises for Sunday. But Stevie Wonder tap dancing?

Believe it.

The multitalented singer and songwriter, blind since birth, nonetheless got up from his keyboard and tapped out a quick dozen or so beats to cap his performance of ``I Wish″ midway through the high-energy show.

Wonder joined Gloria Estefan and the hot swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy for the 11-minute extravaganza titled ``Soul, Salsa and Swing.″ Broadway hoofer Savion Glover, who co-starred in the 1989 movie ``Tap,″ joined the performance as a special guest.

The Super Bowl halftime annually is the most-watched live performance in music, with some 75,000 in attendance at Pro Player Stadium and another 800 million watching on televisions in 180 countries.

The performance also featured more than 1,000 other performers, including swing dancers on stilts, huge lighted balloon balls, lasers and enough pyrotechnics to keep the sky above Pro Player Stadium well-lighted.

Wonder entered the field in a vintage car, singing his hit ``You Can Feel it All Over″ as two women helped him up the stairs to the huge 5,000 square-foot stage.

He then settled behind the keyboard to begin ``You Are the Sunshine of My Life,″ as dancers pulled out huge swaths of cloth to form the image of a sun on the field. Glover joined the jam when the music segued into ``I Wish.″

Estefan, performing in front of her hometown fans, took over to sing segments of ``Oye″ and ``Turn the Beat Around″ as brightly colored dancers swung long lighted ropes.

Estefan became the second artist to perform in two Super Bowl halftime shows, joining jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain. She also performed in the 1992 show in Minneapolis.

The show opened with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, only two years removed from playing Hollywood’s underground club scene. They played their arrangement ``Go Daddy-O″ before serving as accompaniment to Wonder.

The Super Bowl pregame show featured the rock band KISS, which did its best to live up to its pregame promise to bring down all low-flying aircraft.

Huge flames shot more than 30 feet in the air as they launched into their hit ``Rock and Roll All Night,″ with fans sitting behind the west end zone feeling the heat all the way to the upper deck. Fireworks shot from ground level all the way to the top of the stadium.

Cher, dressed conservatively in jeans and a beaded lavender blouse, performed a soulful rendition of the national anthem. The Miami group Speaking Hands accompanied her in sign language, and the U.S. Air Force 53rd Fighter Squadron roared above in a ``missing-man″ formation, with one plane absent from the left side.