Super Bowl 52 has come and gone from the Minneapolis, Minnesota. Besides the excitement of the game, there were a countless number of big events and parties that weekend, including two which I was fortunate enough to attend; Pepsi’s Pop-Up Experience and TAO Minneapolis.
Pepsi’s Pop-Up Experience was a one night event at Nicolett Island Pavilion. The event, hosted by EXTRA host AJ Calloway, showcased Pepsi’s new Generation Campaign and also held the presentation of the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year award. Throughout the night, I was able to check out various displays of major moments in the brand’s history such as the gas station from the Cindy Crawford commercial and Jeff Gordon’s brand-covered race car. Cindy and Jeff were also in attendance, as well as Cindy’s son Presley Gerber. After the stars hit the “blue carpet”, they came on stage for a presentation of Pepsi’s latest Generation commercial, which starred all three celebrities. Following the presentation, Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback, and last year’s Rookie of the Year award winner, Dak Prescott presented this year’s award to New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara. Following the award, Country music duo LOCASH took the stage and played several songs for the crowd, including honoring Minnesota’s own Prince with their version of “Purple Rain”.
Following the Pepsi event, I went deeper into downtown Minneapolis to TAO Minneapolis. TAO Minneapolis was a 4 day party that was hosted by the well-known TAO group from Las Vegas. The event was held at Minneapolis’ historic Lumber Exchange building. Attendees had options to check out different performances throughout the night by stopping at any of the multiple stage locations throughout the building. TAO brought the Las Vegas club atmosphere to Minneapolis with celebrities in attendance and a lineup ready to bring the party.
I arrived on night two, missing Rick Ross and Lil Jon performances from opening night. The second night’s lineup consisted of Jamie Foxx, Shaq (aka DJ Diesel), Kaskade, and RL Grime. I started the night with Shaq’s performance in The Pourhouse, a venue located within the Lumber Exchange building. With a 7 foot tall Microphone stand by his side, the big man played everything from Snoop Dogg to Janice Joplin. After that, I headed to see Kaskade in what used to be an old courtyard of the building. As expected there was a tightly packed crowd in front of the stage. Kaskade played a lot of his classics along with an awesome mashup of his track “Eyes” and Swedish House Mafia’s “Save The World”. Unfortunately, I was losing the battle finding a spot in the impenetrable crowd and decided to make my way to RL Grime at The Exchange; another venue located in the basement of the building. RL Grime dropped a dirty Trap and Hip Hop set that got the crowd bouncing. I ended the night back at The Pourhouse to see Jamie Foxx and his entourage, including G-Eazy and Mase, on stage performing to a huge crowd that included celebrities like Mark Cuban and Rey Lewis.
Night three was a more Hip Hop focused lineup. My night began once again at The Pourhouse where Nick Cannon was performing a DJ set filled with Hip Hop and a couple of harder Dance tracks. Next, Afrojack was set to play in the old courtyard area. VIPs and venue employees tossed down foam glow sticks from the multiple balconies moments before Afrojack. Afrojack jumped on stage and opened right away with Camelphat and Elderbrook’s “Cola”. There were a few EDM tracks in the beginning of the set, then it steered more towards Hip Hop. Sometimes there would be both genres, like the mashup of Hardwell’s “Apollo” and a Kendrick Lamar track. As the set wrapped up, it had changed into an almost full Hip Hop set which set the stage for G-Eazy. G-Eazy wasn’t originally on the lineup for this night, but after an unannounced drop by Ludacris, he filled Luda's slot. G-Eazy performed a couple of songs, but this set was mostly one big party with G-Eazy and a huge entourage of celebrities and VIPs standing on stage. After lots of popped bottles and showers of confetti, the night before the Super Bowl was over.
After the game, the final night of TAO was much more laid back. After watching DJ Stevie J warm up the night at The Pourhouse, I made my way downstairs where Paul Oakenfold was performing at The Exchange. The legendary Trance producer started with some safer tracks for a bit. However, after seeing my friend in the crowd with a Minneapolis Trance Family T-shirt, Oakenfold smiled and threw down a great selection of Trance tracks. The three hour set from Paul Oakenfold was finished, and so was my Super Bowl party experience.
I would like to thank Pepsi, TAO, CLM Presents, Buddy Vegas, Strykerfoto and Joe Create for helping create a memorable Super Bowl party weekend!