Minnesota pop-music mega producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis return home Friday to announce they will be curating the free concerts for the 10-day Super Bowl Live festival on Nicollet Mall in 2018.
Jam and Lewis are scheduled to stand next to a 750-pound “LII” ice sculpture in the IDS Center’s Crystal Court on Friday to kick off the 100-day countdown with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.
“They are the Minnesota sound, so they are making sure the Minnesota sound is represented” during the 10 days of Super Bowl Live concerts, host committee spokeswoman Andrea Mokros said, adding that Jam and Lewis, as they’re known, also bring a bounty of contacts for high-caliber acts.
That’s an understatement. The duo, who got their start in Minneapolis and now live in Los Angeles, worked for and with Prince in their early years. Since forming their company Flyte Tyme Productions in 1982, the two have produced many of the biggest names in music, from Kanye West, Mary J. Blige and Michael and Janet Jackson to Earth, Wind & Fire, Usher, Luther Vandross, Gwen Stefani and George Michael.
The Host Committee hopes the West Coast duo boosts early excitement for Super Bowl Live, the biggest event the state committee will host during the lead-up to the game. Super Bowl Live starts at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, and ends at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 4, hours before the football game. It runs daily, or nightly on weekdays, on Nicollet Mall between 6th and 12th streets S. With food trucks, sponsored booths and music, the event is almost like a mini-winter State Fair.
All Super Bowl Live concerts are free and will occur on a stage in the northwest corner of 8th Street S. and Nicollet Mall, the corner of the former Dayton’s/Macy’s department store. “Everybody’s welcome and we’ll have headline acts,” Mokros promised.
With Jam and Lewis running the show, expect a purple vibe and, perhaps, an appearance by Janet Jackson, whose current national tour ends in December without a stop in the Twin Cities.
The musical lineup for Super Bowl Live is not connected to the Super Bowl 52 halftime production at U.S. Bank Stadium. That midgame event is run by the NFL.
Earlier this week, the NFL announced Justin Timberlake as the halftime performer. He, Jackson and the Super Bowl are inexorably linked because of Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during their performance at the 2004 Super Bowl in Houston.
Jam and Lewis, who both went to high school in Minneapolis, produced many of Jackson’s earliest and biggest hits in her solo career, including “Miss You Much,” “When I Think of You,” and “Together Again.”
Their connections to the Purple One run even deeper, so some sort of Prince tribute seems likely.
The 10-day Super Bowl Live production is the biggest and most expensive duty of the host committee. Of the $50 million-plus the committee is privately raising, Super Bowl Live will use approximately 20 percent of that budget.
“We’re still raising money. We’ll be raising it until the end,” Mokros said, adding that Houston’s budget for the 2017 Super Bowl was $70 million, $30 million of which was a subsidy from the state.
The committee hasn’t announced any of the acts yet, but CEO Maureen Bausch said the aim is to book top-notch acts to make the trip worthwhile for visitors. Organizers expect attendance of 1 million over the course of Super Bowl Live.
By ending the festivities at 10 p.m., Mokros said, organizers are hoping revelers will stay downtown to visit bars and restaurants on Nicollet Mall and nearby.