Super Bowl Music Guide: Robin Thicke, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Z to Play NYC
Imagine Dragons, Drake, TLC, Maroon 5 and more headline New York City stages before Bruno Mars' halftime show on Sunday.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
Nevermind the Farmers Almanac, which has been calling for a blizzard to arrive during the New York City area's first time hosting a Super Bowl weekend since last summer. A different blizzard -- of the musical variety -- has been brewing as artists, corporate sponsors and media companies prep what will surely be the biggest flurry of pre-Super Bowl concert activity in NFL history.
Though the Super Bowl has been a warmer-weather affair in recent years, following stops in New Orleans and Dallas, the opportunity to leverage New York's iconic music venues, neighborhoods and native artists has led to a particular frenzy in the music industry this year. Virtually every neighborhood in the New York City area will host some Super Bowl-related activity in the seven-day period starting today, Jan. 27 -- from Times Square (which the NFL will rebrand as Super Bowl Boulevard) to Bryant Park (a to-be-announced sponsor takeover) and all five boroughs (VH1's just-announced Super Bowl Blitz concert series.) "A Super Bowl so historic, it takes two states to host it," as the NFL's official site states.
The Super Bowl has long been the most watched event of the year, with 2012's game in New Orleans and Madonna's halftime performance holding the record for most watched telecast in U.S. history. But many of the acts playing this year are just as big -- if not bigger -- than 2014 halftime performer Bruno Mars, including Drake (Revolt's party at Time Warner Cable), Red Hot Chili Peppers (CBS Radio's Super Bowl concert at Barclays Center), Foo Fighters (Bud Light Hotel), Maroon 5 (JBL's customer appreciation concert at the Beacon) and DirecTV's yet-to-be-announced headliner (a global superstar.)
So why the extra fuss to celebrate bigger and earlier? "It's a combination of being in New York, which is often called the capital of the world, and the more practical standpoint of being able to create immersive experiences," says Paul Chibe, vp U.S. marketing at Anheuser Busch, whose Bud Light brand will take over a cruise ship next to the Intrepid at Pier 88 (near 48th Street.) "We wanted to create our own destination, 5,000-room cruise ship that would help us deal with some of the more logistical and practical challenges of being in a city during the Super Bowl, but also attract top talent like Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters."
Bookings for Super Bowl events can sometimes be unpaid, when there's promotional elements involved like a telecast (VH1's Super Bowl Blitz, Bruno Mars' Pepsi Halftime performance) and a live stream. But others can range in the low-to-mid-five figures for a ticketed show, and soar as high as mid-six figures to upwards of $1 million for headlining private gigs, which parties like DirecTV's have historically commanded (Justin Timberlake made his comeback to live concerts at DirecTV's New Orleans bash last year.)
And though some events will be open to crowds in the thousands, brands like Citi are taking a more scaled-back approach to its Evening With Legends events at the McKittrick Hotel, which will house some 400 guests each night, and a Black Keys underplay at Roseland, capped at 1,100. "There's a lot going on that week," says Jennifer Breithaupt, senior vp entertainment marketing at Citi, who estimates the guest list for each Super Bowl show will be 85 to 90 percent Citi cardmembers from exclusive lotteries and private sales. "But for us it was very intentional to keep everything we do intimate so that if you do get into one of the events you feel like you're truly part of something that's special and unique."
See below for Billboard's guide to Super Bowl music, up until the big game:
Monday, Jan. 27
VH1 Super Bowl Blitz/ J. Cole, Queens College
Tuesday, Jan. 28
VH1 Super Bowl Blitz/ Janelle Monae, Lehman College - The Bronx
Wednesday, Jan. 29
VH1 Super Bowl Blitz/ Fall Out Boy, Brooklyn Bowl - Brooklyn
Citi Evenings With Legends / John Legend, McKittrick Hotel - Manhattan
Thursday, Jan. 30
VH1 Super Bowl Blitz/ TLC, Beacon Theatre - Manhattan
Citi Evenings With Legends / Band of Horses, McKittrick Hotel - Manhattan
Bud Light & EA Sports Hip Hop NYC Part / Run DMC, The Roots & Busta Rhymes, Bud Light Hotel, Pier 88 - Manhattan
Fox Sports 1's Thursday Night Super Bash / Kings of Leon, Time Warner Cable Studios (Manhattan's Meatpacking District)
Friday, Jan. 31
VH1 Super Bowl Blitz/ Goo Goo Dolls, St. George Theatre - Staten Island
Shape and Men's Fitness / John Legend, Mary J. Blige and Marc Anthony concert, Cipriani 42nd Street - Manhattan
ESPN 10th Annual Super Bowl Party / Kendrick Lamar & Robin Thicke, Pier 36 - Manhattan
Howard Stern 60th Birthday Bash, Hammerstein Ballroom - Manhattan
JBL Party / Maroon 5, Beacon Theater - Manhattan
Citi and Live Nation's Evenings With Legends / Black Keys, Roseland Ballroom - Manhattan
Pandora Presents Party / Imagine Dragons, Bud Light Hotel, Pier 88 - Manhattan
ASPIRE's Ultimate 70s Soul Party / The O Jays, Time Warner Cable Studios - Manhattan
The 15th Annual NFL Super Bowl Gospel Celebration / Patti Labelle, Mary Mary, Natalie Grant, Tamela Mann and Donnie McClurkin, Madison Square Garden - Manhattan
Saturday, Feb. 1
VH1 Super Bowl Blitz/ Gavin DeGraw, The Wellmont Theatre - Montclair, NJ
Blondie / Super Bowl Boulevard Concert Stageat Broadway & 40th St. - New York
Eighth Annual DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl / Paramore, daytime event, Hudson River Park at Pier 40- Manhattan
Bud Light Main Event Concert/ Foo Fighters and Zac Brown Band, Bud Light Hotel at Pier 88 - Manhattan
REVOLT Concert/ Drake Featuring Special Guest Diddy, Time Warner Cable Studios - Manhattan (private party)
WFAN's Big Hello To Brooklyn/ Red Hot Chilli Peppers feat. New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Basic Vacation, Barclays Center - Brooklyn
Maxim Party / Kendrick Lamar, Espace, 635 W 42nd St, Manhattan
DirecTV Super Saturday Night/ Jay Z, Hudson River Park Pier 40, Manhattan
Sunday, Feb. 2
Pepsi Halftime Show/ Bruno Mars, MetLife Stadium - New Jersey
Bud Light / Pepsi Tailgate party / Fall Out Boy and Jake Owen, Bud Light Hotel at Pier 86 - Manhattan