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Usher paid tribute to late drummer Aaron Spears at Super Bowl halftime show with empty kit

Usher has paid tribute to the late drummer Aaron Spears during his Halftime show at the 2024 Super Bowl.

The moment took place in Las Vegas last night (February 11), as the R&B star performed during the iconic Halftime show at the 58th instalment of the Super Bowl. Held at Allegiant Stadium, the event saw the San Francisco 49ers face off against defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs, with the latter ultimately taking the victory.

During the show, Usher brought out a number of famous friends to join him as surprise guests, however, one frequent collaborator was missing from the night – his longtime drummer Aaron Spears.

The musician – who also worked with the likes of Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and more – died in October last year. He also collaborated with Usher on his Grammy-nominated 2004 album ‘Confessions’, as well as his performance at the 2005 Grammy Awards ceremony.

Usher performs onstage during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

To honour Spears last night, Usher performed with two drum kits on his stage: one for drummer Devon ‘Stixx’ Taylor, who played during the set, and a gold one left empty in remembrance of Spears.

News of Spears’ death was shared by his wife, Jessica, last year, who paid tribute to the musician but did not reveal the cause of death. “Aaron was not only an incredibly accomplished drummer, admired by many for his unparalleled talent and passion for music, but he was also a devoted father to our precious son, August,” she wrote on the social media update. “His love, guidance, and warmth were the pillars of our family, and his absence leaves a void that words cannot describe.”

Elsewhere at Usher’s Halftime performance, the singer brought out Alicia Keys as a surprise guest. Seated behind a piano, she began by performing a clip of her own song ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ before Usher joined her to deliver a rendition of their 2004 collaboration ‘My Boo’.

After being joined by Keys, Usher welcomed more guests throughout the set. H.E.R. joined him on guitar during ‘U Got It Bad’, while appeared during ‘OMG’. The latter also saw Usher recreate a roller-skating performance from his Las Vegas residency.

Following that track, Lil Jon appeared in the on-field crowd for a snippet of his song ‘Turn Down For What’ before joining the headliner and Ludacris for ‘Yeah!’. That track closed out the performance, with Usher leading the stadium in a chant of the song’s title.

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