Legendary producers Jimmy “Jam” Harris and Terry Lewis returned to their hometown of Minneapolis today to reveal the first 19 confirmed acts to perform at Super Bowl Live, a 10-day series of free concerts in downtown Minneapolis that are part of a flood of activity surrounding the U.S. Bank Stadium-hosted Super Bowl.
Among the headliners are Prince-associated acts the Revolution, Sheila E., and Morris Day and the Time, who will perform on Monday, January 29 at an evening dubbed “Prince Night.” Idina Menzel of Frozen soundtrack fame will perform with VocalEssence to kick off the opening festivities on January 26 (“because we’ll all be frozen,” Terry joked), and the remaining acts all have ties to the Minnesota music scene: Bob Mould, Dessa, the Jayhawks, the Jets (!), Mint Condition and Stokely, Sounds of Blackness, and the Suburbs are just a few of the many big-name acts from our home state. A 12-year emerging artist from Northern Minnesota who simply goes by Cobi is also on the bill.
Jam and Lewis were tasked with curating the series of events, which will take place on the Verizon Up Stage on Nicollet Mall and 8th St. from January 26 through February 4. Each night will have a theme, tying the acts together by genre.
“We looked at it not so much as the Super Bowl, but more what an incredible opportunity, while the eyes of the world are on our state, to really celebrate the amazing legacy of Minnesota music,” Jimmy Jam said last month, speaking by phone from Los Angeles.
Today, he expanded on that thought: “We have a chance to attend all kinds of events, and the thing that always seems to happen is that the city itself doesn’t have a chance to be involved… We really wanted to change that. We really wanted to make this inclusive, particularly of the local community, and make sure that we shine the spotlight on the wonderful music scene and arts scene in Minneapolis, and the state of Minnesota.”
Additional acts will be announced in the weeks ahead, leading up to the January 26 kick-off.
Update: Speaking by phone this afternoon to Jay Gabler at the Current, Sheila E. shared that she and her band will play a 15-minute set on Monday, January 29, to open up “Prince Night,” and will return to town to play the newly renovated Armory in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday, February 4, the day of the Super Bowl game. Although she didn’t give any hints as to what her set list may contain, she’s been on tour this winter promoting her new album, Iconic: Message 4 America.
“We’re ready to go. We’re gonna kill it. If you gave us five minutes or 25 minutes, it doesn’t matter. We go out there and kill it,” Sheila said.
Celebrating Prince at a major sporting event might seem incongruous, but not for those who knew him well. Sheila E said that sports was “a second passion” that she and Prince shared in addition to music. “That was one of the great connections [Prince] and I had together. I was very competitive and I’d always compete with him about basketball, football, ping-pong, pool. You know, what team was going to win in the Super Bowl. We would bet on things.”
Here’s the full lineup of 19 acts announced at this morning’s press conference:
Morris Day and the Time
New Power Generation
New Power Soul
Sounds of Blackness
And more photographs of today’s press conference, by Steve Cohen: