Local Current Blog

Morris Day and the Time play official opening at Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America

Morris Day and the Time at the Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America in 2014. Photo by Bridget Bennett for MPR.

At 7:45 pm last night, a well-fed crowd lined the patio of Hard Rock Cafe’s new Mall of America location for a party in celebration of the official grand opening—complete with red carpet pizzazz, hors d’oeuvres, and entertainment by Morris Day and the Time.

There was no ribbon cutting, though: instead, there was a guitar-smashing ritual. Fifteen VIPs ranging from Hard Rock Cafe executives to local celebrities participated in the event. The crowd watched as 14 VIPs donned their helmets and shades; Morris Day, who would be performing later that night, abstained from wearing protective gear, so as to prevent his perfectly combed hair from getting messy. The sound of smashed guitars filled the air, and after a mere thirty seconds, guitar rubble littered the floor.

The destruction had a constructive aftermath: after smashing 15 guitars, Hard Rock Cafe Mall of America made a $1,500 donation to MusicLink, an organization that connects children in low-income families with affordable music lessons with professional music instructors. In addition to its donation to MusicLink, Hard Rock Cafe presented Hope Chest for Breast Cancer, an organization dedicated to helping financially challenged breast cancer patients, with a $10,000 donation.

After the ceremony was finished, the party continued on. Servers weaved through the crowd carrying trays of bite-sized delicacies including mini Juicy Lucys, world-famous macaroni and cheese, salmon salad, and cheesecake shots. As the party-goers mingled and sipped their drinks, music blasted in the background.

At around 8:45, the Time, Minneapolis funk-pop legends, took the stage. After the band played for a minute or two, Morris Day sauntered onto the stage, decked out in a green suit, with plenty of bling and white dancing shoes. Despite the passing of the group’s 1980s glory days, Morris reassured the audience that he was “still cool.”

“Morris Day isn’t sweating. He’s condensating…that’s what happens when you’re cool from the inside out,” he told the crowd.

The next hour and fifteen minutes were filled with shoulder shrugs, fancy footwork, and theatrical hair-combing. The audience was transported to a Minneapolis nightclub in 1984, accompanied by searing guitar solos and charismatic dancing. The infectious energy of the band had the guests on their feet, loyal and new fans alike. By 10:00, the performance was over but the crowd, at the edge of a darkened Nickelodeon Universe, partied on.

Writer Brenda Tran and photographer Bridget Bennett are both students at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities.