Super Bowl festivities include a free Prince tribute show

Sheila E, shown performing last month in Miami, is playing a free show in Minneapolis Monday night as part of the Super Bowl festivities.
Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images
Sheila E, shown performing last month in Miami, is playing a free show in Minneapolis Monday night as part of the Super Bowl festivities.

If you can tolerate temperatures that make Minneapolis feel like a cryonics lab, there’ll be plenty to do at this year’s Super Bowl.

As always, the options include high-priced parties and concerts, but there are also some cool free shows for fans who can’t — or won’t — raid their children’s college fund in order to see Cardi B or Imagine Dragons at one of the expensive shindigs preceding the big game.

Credit the host committee for enlisting Minneapolis natives Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis — famed producers of Janet Jackson (not to mention Michael Jackson and Prince, among many others) — to curate a series of free outdoor concerts on Minneapolis’s Nicollet Mall.


The shows kicked off Friday with a performance by Broadway star Idina Menzel and continue Monday night with a tribute to Prince that includes Sheila E., Morris Day, and the Revolution. (A heads-up to serious Prince fans: A band calling itself FDeluxe is playing Wednesday at the Dakota Jazz Club, and FDeluxe is actually The Family, a bunch of Prince proteges whose 1985 LP included the Prince song called “Nothing Compares 2 U.”)

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Another highlight, at least for aging fans of indie rock, will be Saturday’s bill, which includes Twin Cities rockers Bob Mould, the Suburbs, the Jayhawks, and Soul Asylum. (Helpfully, our friends at the St. Paul Pioneer Press have the complete line-up posted here.)

Justin Timberlake is this year’s Super Bowl halftime performer, and our guess is there won’t be another wardrobe malfunction of the sort that caused Janet Jackson’s bare breast to be exposed to millions of people watching the 2004 Super Bowl. But JT isn’t the only game in town.

Just as it did in Houston last year, Nomadic Entertainment Group has created a special venue in Minneapolis where it will host a series of Super Bowl parties. Among those performing at the remodeled Minneapolis Armory are Imagine Dragons, who are headlining EA Sports’s bash (VIP tickets will set you back $900); Jennifer Lopez, who’s the talent at the DirecTV/AT&T party (tickets cost between $250-$1,750); and Cardi B, French Montana, Diddy, G-Eazy, and DJ Khaled, all of whom are set to perform at the postgame Players Ball, which is a new Super Bowl event this year. In addition, Maxim (Travis Scott) and Rolling Stone (Migos) are throwing their annual Super Bowl bacchanals.

Before the game, Sting and Darius Rucker will take the stage at the NFL’s own Tailgate Party. Wait, Sting? Isn’t he a fan of British football? Yes, but he and Shaggy have a new single to promote, so they’ll be there. For the food-obsessed football fan, the Taste of the NFL is worth checking out. The annual event is a gathering of chefs and former football players from every NFL city who sauce their signature dishes for a well-heeled crowd that ponies up $700 to eat and eat and eat. Davio’s chef-owner Steve DiFillippo will rep chefs for the Patriots.