The biggest question about Super Bowl XLIX's halftime show starring Katy Perry isn't if the pop starlet will top Bruno Mars' record-setting ratings from last year, what songs she'll sing, or even if it will be any good. Instead, the world seems focused on how she'll publicly diss Taylor Swift in front of hundreds of millions of viewers as their ongoing feud unfolds.
And, frankly, that's a little lame.
Thankfully, Perry's multimillion-dollar halftime gig won't be the only high profile or notable performance happening during Super Bowl week in the Valley. In fact, there are several big concerts taking place within a Hail Mary pass of University of Phoenix Stadium, as well as numerous shows in both downtown Phoenix and out in Scottsdale.
Here's our list of 20 of the super shows of Super Bowl week.
Moves Kickoff Party - Wednesday, January 28 - Hotel Valley Ho
Fittingly, one of the vanguard parties kicking off Super Bowl week in the Valley will feature a DJ session by pioneering hip-hop artist and turntablist, Grandmaster Flash. The iconic and influential artist/mixmaster, who led the Furious Five to hip-hop glory and invented several groundbreaking spinning and scratching techniques, will show off his moves on the ones and twos during the event, which also boasts a performance by indie poppers The Ting Tings. Doors are at 9 p.m. General admission is $250 and VIP access is $500.
Super Music Series - Wednesday, January 28, to Saturday, January 31 - Westgate
If your wallet happens to be a bit light, the folks at Westgate Entertainment District have an offer you can't refuse. Free concerts will be held nightly at the outdoor mall's WaterDance Plaza as a part of its Super Music Series, which will also feature an open-air beer garden and other fan activities. Things get going on with a gig by Chicano rock 'n' roll act Los Lobos, followed by performances by chart-topping electronic dance music DJ duo The Chainsmokers on Thursday, January 29; and country music act the Eli Young Band on Friday, January 30. The series will then zoom back in time for a night of '80s pop on Saturday, January 31, when Dramarama, Bow Wow Wow, Gene Loves Jezebel, and Naked Eyes are all scheduled to perform. The concerts begin at 6 p.m. nightly.
Zac Brown Band - Wednesday, January 28 - DirecTV Super Fan Fest
Just south of University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, DirecTV has constructed an enormous facility of its own on the grounds of the Pendergast Family Farm. Dubbed the "Super Fan Stadium," it will be the centerpiece of the satellite service provider's three-day Super Fan Festival, which launches on Wednesday, January 28, and will feature concerts each evening, kicking off with a night of country and folk from the Zac Brown Band and support from Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt, and The Cadillac Three. Gates open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $138.78.
Enrique Iglesias/Pitbull - Thursday, January 29 - Talking Stick Resort Arena
Despite the vast differences in their music (one's big into melodic Latin pop and ballads while the other favors hip-hop and reggaeton), there's a lot of common ground between Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull. Both hail from Miami, have a bit of heartthrob things going, and have moved millions of units, including the three tracks they've collaborated on (like last year's hit single, "I'm a Freak.") Plus, they've been hitting the road together for the past several months on their current tour, which swings through downtown Phoenix on January 29. Reggaeton singer J. Bolvin will open the show, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $24.75-$94.75.
Big Sean - Thursday, January 29 - Maya Day and Nightclub
Many nighttime extravaganzas during the build up to the big game will feature a mix of hip-hop and jocks, including rapper Big Sean's gig at Maya on January 29, which will be hosted by Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett and feature DJ Don Cannon in the mix. Super Bowl week seems like a natural fit for the hip-hop artist, considering that he played a star high school quarterback (coached by Kanye, no less) in music video for his hit track "I Don't Fuck With You" and titled his latest album Hall of Fame. We're guessing, however, that Big Sean is more likely to be tossing rhymes around Maya versus footballs during his performance. Gates open at 9 p.m. General admission is $50 and the VIP tickets are $125.
Calvin Harris/Jason Derulo - Thursday, January 29 - DirecTV Super Fan Fest
A smorgasbord of pop, R&B, hip-hop, reggae, and dance music is on tap those who attend the second evening of the DirecTV Super Fan Fest, as it will feature a combination of electro-house from Calvin Harris and Alesso, as well as the R&B artistry of Jason Derulo, reggae fusion from Magic!, and the raps and rhymes of female hip-hop artist Becky G. Gates are at 5 p.m. Tickets are $138.78.
Super Bowl Gospel Celebration - Friday, January 30 - Gammage Auditorium
And while you might not have a prayer of getting into some of the invite-only or astronomically priced Super Bowl week soirees (short of taking out a loan or having some serious connections), this annual gospel concert on the campus of Arizona State University might be a more reasonable way of celebrating the big game. A host of such Grammy-winning singers and songwriters as Gladys Knight, Natalie Grant, Israel Houghton, and Fred Hammond will perform, backed up by local musician Mali Music and the members of the NFL Players Choir. The music starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $30-$75.
Ludacris - Friday, January 30 - INTL
INTL in Scottsdale is more of a nightclub than a concert hall, insofar as we can tell. Its apparently a versatile venue, however, as its proprietors have booked Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Ludacris to host and perform at the spot's Big Game Extravaganza on January 30. DJ Infamous will provide the beats and there will be a Red Bull-sponsored VIP tent outdoors for those who'd like to party in style. Doors are at 8 p.m. General admission is $75 and gets you into the tent. VIP upgrades are $250 and include the chance to "rub elbows" with Luda and other celebrities.
Rick Ross - Friday, January 30 - Scottsdale Civic Center Amphitheater
Just like the Seattle Seahawks during most of last week's NFC championship game, the promoters of 1st and 10 Kickoff Concert and Party couldn't seem to get things going. Word has it that they initially hoped to feature Skrillex and other high-profile artists during their multi-day event, but reportedly got hustled by less-than-reputable talent bookers and had to scrap their original lineup. Like the 'Hawks, however, they bounced back and nabbed a pretty big name for version 2.0 of the outdoor event: rapper Rick Ross (a.k.a. Teflon Da Don) who will headline the first night on January 30. Gates open at 7 p.m. Regular tickets are $65 and the VIP admission ranges from $250-$4,500. UPDATE: This event has been canceled.
Kid Rock - Friday, January 30 - Coors Light Birds Nest
Thanks to a perfect storm of scheduling, this year's Waste Management Phoenix Open up in North Scottsdale just happens to fall smack-dab in the middle of Super Bowl week. It's certainly a boon to fans of both big-time sporting events and blockbuster concerts as the annual PGA tournament will feature the adjacent Coors Light Birds Nest party tent with nightly concerts and plenty of opportunities for imbibing. While the lineup includes the likes of Captial Cities, Darius Rucker, Afrojack, the biggest performer scheduled to land in the Birds Nest will be Kid Rock, who headlines on January 30. The tent opens at 3:30 p.m. and the country fried rap-rock legend goes on at 8 p.m.
Snoop Dogg/Imagine Dragons - Friday, January 30 - DirecTV Super Fan Fest
With all due respect to Katy Perry, we're willing to wager that this joint (no pun intended) concert between the Doggfather and the blockbuster alt-rock band out in Glendale will arguably be one of the biggest performances of Super Bowl weekend, if for no other reason than the sheer enormity of both of the parties involved. Snoop and Imagine Dragons have sold at least a billion records combined and dominated the airwaves during their respective eras. In other words, you can expect a big crowd inside the Super Fan Stadium when they co-headline the final night of public concerts at the DirecTV Super Fan Fest. Young the Giant, American Authors, and Ingrid Michaelson are also scheduled to perform. Gates open at 5 p.m. Tickets are currently $125 each.
SuperFest 2K15 - Friday, January 30 - Celebrity Theatre
While Super Bowl 2K15 will showcase some of the biggest and best pigskin pros currently in the game today from both the AFC and NFC, SuperFest 2K15 showcase some biggest and best rappers from hip-hop history. Influential and legendary doesn't even begin to do justice the legacy of the icons booked to appear at the event on January 30. There's headliner Big Daddy Kane, who has performing since hip-hop's late golden age of the '80s and released the landmark track "Ain't No Half Steppin," as well as KRS-One (better known as "The Teacher" for his many contributions to the genre), and East Coast hip-hop innovator and lyrical king Rakim, famed for his trailblazing partnership with Eric B. and their much-beloved album Paid in Full. Showtime is at 7 p.m. General admission is $53 and reserved seating is $100.
Rolling Stone Party - Saturday, January 31 - The Venue Scottsdale
Speaking of esteemed forefathers of music, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith is scheduled to be the headlining performer along with electro-pop singer Charli XCX. You'll need a rockstar-like bankroll to get into the event as admission starts at $887.70 and goes up to a whopping $66,602.25 for a VIP table with your own security, hostess, private entrance, and other perks. Doors are at 9 p.m. See www.stubhub.com/super-bowl-party-tickets.
CBS Radio's The Night Before - Saturday, January 31 - Talking Stick Resort Arena
Although the name of this concert makes it easy enough to glean the fact that its taking place the evening prior to Super Sunday, it doesn't exactly spell out its particular musical bent or lineup, which we're more than happy to do. It's scheduled to be an arena-sized shindig of radio-friendly country music kings, including the likes of Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line. They'll be joined by local boy Dierks Bentley and mixmaster Dee Jay Silver, who specializes in creating crowd-pleasing country music remixes and is signed to Sony Records. The concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $69-$149.
G-Eazy - Saturday, January 31 - Livewire
Those G-Eazy fans of the Valley who got shut out the Oakland-born rapper's sold out show at the Marquee Theatre earlier this month should plan on heading for Livewire on Super Bowl eve, since the chart-topping hip-hop artist will hit the venue's stage on January 31. Plenty of tickets are still available as of this writing, though you'd better snatch some up ASAP. Given G-Eazy's ever-growing popularity (the recently released YouTube video for his track "Tumblr Girls" has nabbed a quarter of a million views after two days) makes it likely that the show is likely to be packed to capacity as well. Doors are at 9 p.m. Tickets are $48.
The Roots - Saturday, January 31 - Pepsi Hyped for Halftime
Like the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they wind up staying the same. Well, at least when it comes to The Roots. Back in early 1996, sort of around the time that Arizona hosted its first-ever Super Bowl, local artist Quincy Ross brought highly influential hip-hop act to the Valley for a free show inside the old Circles Records and. Fast forward 19 years and Questlove and company are still down with performing free concerts in downtown Phoenix. The night before they back up Jimmy Fallon at the Orpheum Theatre, The Roots will be the headlining band at Pepsi's Hyped for Halftime Stage inside Verizon Super Bowl Central. Local bands and artists will be featured all day (including Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra playing from 5:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.) and The Roots go on at 8:15 p.m.
The Weeknd - Sunday, February 1 - Maya Day and Nightclub
If for some reason you've still got some energy, money, or party-lust left by the time that the Super Bowl is over with and still happen to be hungry for live music, Maya in Scottsdale will cap off the weekend with one last blast on Sunday night. Hipster R&B (or PBR&B, if you must) artist The Weeknd is scheduled to both perform and host. Gates open at 10 p.m. General admission is $80 and VIP access is $125.
Dillon Francis - Sunday, February 1 - Livewire
And just across the street, madcap Mad Decent DJ and producer Dillon Francis will be dropping everything from sweaty moombahton dembow and clamorous dubstep to four-on-the-floor electronica bombast inside Livewire, including tracks from his debut full-length album, Money Sucks, Friends Rule. DJ Aaron Taylor from 104.7 FM opens the evening, which starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $30-$50.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.