By Scott Sterling
While the rapidly approaching Super Bowl XLVIII at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium is set to dominate the world of sports, this year’s game will also be a hotbed of high-profile concert events, featuring such A-list artists as Drake, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Black Keys.
In the run up to the big game, artists will take over a wide swath of venues both big and small, ranging from Brooklyn’s Barclay Center arena to the much more intimate confines of the Brooklyn Bowl. The shows come courtesy of a slew of marketing and media partners, including VH1, Citi and radio station WFAN (a Radio.com station).
Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of who’s playing where over the course of Super Bowl Week, which kicks off on Monday, January 27, and culminates with the main event on Sunday, February 2.
Monday, Jan. 27
J. Cole: The North Carolina-based rapper who gave Kanye West a serious run for the money (and sales numbers) earlier this year when his Born Sinner full-length was released the same day as Yeezus. On the opening day of Super Bowl Week, Cole will bring his #realtalk rap to the Colden Auditorium at Queens College as part of the VH1 Super Bowl Blitz.
(Ticket information for the VH1 shows, many of which are free, can be found here).
Tuesday, Jan. 28
Janelle Monae: The self-described “Electric Lady” takes her high-energy rockin’ soul revue to Lehman College in the Bronx, with another show presented as part of VH1’s aforementioned string of Super Bowl bashes.
Wednesday, Jan. 29
John Legend: Citi rolls out the first of its “Evenings with Legends” lineup (where fans can mingle with famous athletes and see intimate concerts from big-name acts) with a show from R&B star John Legend at the McKittrick Hotel
Fall Out Boy: The resurgent emo-rockers will get up close and personal with their fans when they take the stage of the popular Brooklyn Bowl as part of VH1’s Super Bowl Blitz.
Thursday, Jan. 30
TLC: The two surviving members of the pioneering R&B group will perform at the Beacon Theater as part of VH1’s Super Bowl Week festivities.
“The Roots Present Hip-Hop NYC” w/Run DMC and Busta Rhymes: Questlove and the Roots crew lead this celebration of New York City’s storied hip-hop history with good buddies Busta Rhymes and the legendary Run DMC in tow. It all goes down at the Bud Light Live Hotel, which will be set up on a fancy new cruise ship docked at Pier 88 along the Hudson River.
Band of Horses: These rootsy Seattle rockers will gallop into the McKittrick Hotel to play as part of Citi’s “Evenings with Legends” event series.
Kings of Leon: Blazing the comeback trail with their latest LP, Mechanical Bull, this Tennessee band will rev things up in the Meatpacking District’s Time Warner Cable Studios to headline Fox Sports 1’s free Thursday Night Super Bash (click here to register for tickets). The night will be hosted by sports/TV celebs Michael Strahan (of Live! with Kelly and Michael fame) and popular reporter Erin Andrews.
(Imagine Dragons; Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Billabong)
Friday, Jan. 31
Imagine Dragons: The freshly minted Vegas rock heroes will be running through songs from their breakout debut album, Night Visions, when they headline this show at the Bud Light Live Hotel for this special Pandora party.
Goo Goo Dolls: Get ready to sing along to the chorus of “Iris” when frontman John Rzeznik and the band take the stage at Staten Island’s St. George Theater for an intimate show with only 400 tickets available to the public.
Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Marc Anthony: Romantic crooner John Legend does double-duty this week, rolling out a second Super Bowl Week show, this time teaming up with Mary J. Blige and Marc Anthony at Cipriani on 42nd St. for this SHAPE Magazine/Men’s Fitness soiree hosted by comedian Jeff Ross.
Kendrick Lamar, Robin Thicke: ESPN is going big for the network’s tenth annual Super Bowl party, dialing up two of music’s biggest stars and 2014 GRAMMY nominees to set off the weekend in extravagant style at Manhattan’s Pier 36.
The Black Keys: The dynamic blues-rock duo keep Citi’s “Evening with Legends” party going when they take the stage at Manhattan’s Roseland Ballroom.
Saturday, Feb. 1
Red Hot Chili Peppers, New Politics, MS MR, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Basic Vacation: The biggest show of the week belongs to radio station WFAN‘s “Big Hello to Brooklyn” blow-out at Barclay Center arena. The Chili Peppers top the packed bill for this already-sold out concert.
Drake, Sean “Diddy” Combs: This hip-hop throwdown is sure to be one of the week’s hottest tickets, with Drake headlining this REVOLT show at Time Warner Cable Studios with the King of New York himself, Diddy, also in the house. Fans aged 21 and over can win their way into the show via a Twitter contest.
Gavin Degraw: Lovers of heartfelt singer-songwriters will pack the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ, for the Saturday night installments of VH1’s Super Bowl Blitz shows. The concert is already sold out, but fans can still try their luck at getting in for free here.
Foo Fighters, Zac Brown Band: This high-powered double-bill is set for the Bud Light Hotel down at Pier 88, which should likely generate some cross-band activity, with Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl having recently produced The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1 for the country-rock outfit.
Sunday, Feb. 2
Fall Out Boy, Jake Owen: Emo-rockers and country fans alike will have reason to hit up this Bud Light/Pepsi party happening on the same day as the big game. Getting in is a real trick, as fans have to try their luck at an online game to win entry into the show.
Bruno Mars: The ascendent pop star will play a show that everyone will have access to watch when he takes the coveted slot of halftime performer during the Super Bowl. For many, Mars was a controversial pick, but Radio.com is convinced he will more than rise to the occasion.