The Hard Rock Cafe, that institution known for music memorabilia and souvenir T-shirts, had its grand opening at Mall of America Wednesday night starring a Minnesota institution, Morris Day & the Time.

Looking dapper as always in a bright yellow suit, Day did his part, including the ceremonial smashing of a guitar and an entertaining 80-minute set filled with such hits as “Cool,” “Jungle Love” and “The Bird.”

 

However, this Hard Rock ain’t built for live music. With so many hard surfaces in the sprawling two-story building in the midst of Nickelodeon Universe theme park, the sound recalled that of a rock concert in a high-school gym. And that’s not a good thing.

Luckily, the Hard Rock served up tasty food (granted they were appetizer portions) and alluring memorabilia.

Minnesota is well represented with an autographed Replacements guitar, a polka-dot Jesse Johnson guitar (he's no longer in the Time) and three articles of Prince clothing – a gauzy black shirt/blouse, a sparkly purple trench coat and an orange suit with “Minneapolis” sewn on the left sleeve (he wore it on the “Sign o’ the Times” Tour).

All kinds of musical eras are represented. There are a 1964 contract for bluesman Jimmy Reed, a Carl Perkins guitar, a James Brown jacket and a backstage photo of Elvis Presley in his underwear (briefs, for inquiring minds). There’s memorabilia from Jimmy Page, the Clash, the Knack, Bush and Soundgarden, and tour jackets from the Rolling Stones, Wings, Ozzy Osbourne, the Eagles and Bruce Springsteen.

Displayed in cases are outfits worn by Madonna, Linda Ronstadt, Paula Abdul, Alanis Morissette and Rihanna (her skimpy getup isn’t as impressive on a headless manikin.)

And you wanted the best, then you get an autographed Gene Simmons Kramer axe bass, number 142 out of 1,000. How rare is that?

The highlight, though, is something very contemporary. The sinks in the rest room have a touch-

free faucet that has two touch-free dryer blowers connected to it.

 

C-O-O-L.

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