Even if Thursday’s Super Bowl party inside the former Minneapolis Armory, a hulking concrete bunker that used to be a weapons depot, was deadly dull, the crowd wouldn’t have left. It was way too cold to venture outside.
Fortunately, the party sponsored by EA Sports, maker of the popular “Madden NFL” video game, was a worthy kickoff to the Super Bowl bacchanal, a parade of parties that’ll have people guzzling overpriced booze right up to game time.
The EA Sports bash was the first inside the converted armory, which a local developer bought a few years ago and outfitted with a state-of-the-art sound system that Imagine Dragons took for a spin Thursday night.
The anthem rockers from Las Vegas gave the crowd pretty much what it wanted — namely, the hits, including “Believer,” “Radioactive,” and “Thunder,” on which Imagine Dragons were joined by singer K. Flay. Machine Gun Kelly opened the show, and was joined at one point by Migos for a version of “Bad and Boujee.” (Although an estimated 6,000 people ultimately showed up, many of them arrived late, which was great for the folks in the VIP area who had their pick of plushy sectionals and no line at the bar.)
Imagine Dragons aren’t a political band per se, but frontman Dan Reynolds did make some hard-to-hear statement about “division in the country” and “coming together” before heading out on the catwalk for the next number.
Between sets, the crowd watched football players and assorted celebrities play the “Madden NFL” video game on the stage. (The game was beamed onto a big screen.) Chiefs star Travis Kelce played Saints rookie Alvin Kamara; Jamie Foxx played UFC fighter Demetrius Johnson; and Migos member Offset squared off against Redskins cornerback Josh Norman. (We’ll never understand the appeal of watching other people play video games.)
At least some of the people who wandered out into the freezing cold after 1 a.m. will be back at the armory in the next few days at parties featuring Pink, Jennifer Lopez, and Sean “Diddy” Combs.