One of the main stop-offs for Super Bowl ticket holders on their way to U.S. Bank Stadium, the NFL’s 52 Live party at the newly remade Armory in downtown Minneapolis featured a heavy purple hue and a palpable excitement level Sunday afternoon.
The 5,000 or so attendees listened to performances by Kelly Clarkson and Sheila E. alongside pre-game talk by football legends such as Emmitt Smith and Jim Kelly. Sheila again paid tribute to her late cohort Prince in her 1 p.m. set as a large contingent of still-proud Vikings lovers wore their jerseys to add to the purpleness.
As fans lined up at local celeb chef Andrew Zimmern’s various food stands — serving everything from Waldorf salad to brats — they got to hear Smith talk between sets about players’ nerves on game day.
“It’s bad the first time you’re in it, but then it kind of goes away,” Smith said. (Sorry, Eagles fans, that doesn’t bode well for the Brady-Foles quarterback matchup.)
During her hour-long set with her full band, Dallas Cowboys diehard Kelly Clarkson didn’t pick sides in the game. Instead, she gave the crowd at least one MVP-level performance for the day, showcasing the Aretha-like soul power of new songs such as “Whole Lotta Woman” alongside older hits “Stronger” and “Mr. Know It All.”
“Although my team is not here, I’m happy to be here,” Clarkson told the crowd. The temperatures apparently tempered her enthusiasm, though.
“It’s cold as hell,” she added, after explaining she had to ride a cart over from a prior short gig inside the stadium. “I don’t think I could live here.”