Pepsi Smash Super Bowl Bash / Feb. 2, 2006 / Detroit (State Theatre)
"I understand there's a big football game in town this weekend," Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robbie Takac told the crowd at the Pepsi Smash Super Bowl Bash last night (Feb. 2) at Detroit's State Theatre. Cr"I understand there's a big football game in town this weekend," Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robbie Takac told the crowd at the Pepsi Smash Super Bowl Bash last night (Feb. 2) in Detroit. Credit him with a keen grasp for the obvious.
The Pepsi Smash, a three-plus hour affair taped for broadcast on VH1 two nights later, was one of the most public manifestations of the Super Bowl frenzy gripping Detroit. And it was undoubtedly a big-time Super Bowl XL party, as the radiant State Theatre -- glossed up with lights, hi-tech video monitors and buffet tables for contest winners -- was packed with Big Game partiers ready to rock.
And the acts -- Kanye West, Nickelback, Train and the Goos -- delivered, with a veritable jukebox of hits via truncated sets that left little room for the extraneous, although everybody managed to work in their latest single. Train, for instance, spotlighted "Cab," the lead track from its just-released "For Me, It's You" album, into a set that focused on hits like "Meet Virginia," "Drops of Jupiter" and "Calling All Angels."
The Goos likewise incorporated "Better Days," the single from their forthcoming album, "Let Love In," due April 4. The audience was clearly familiar with it since it has also been available on iTunes, but, not surprisingly, the biggest cheers came for hits such as "Big Machine," "Black Balloon," "Slide," "Here Is Gone" and "Isis."
Canadian rockers Nickelback brought some brawn to the night -- as well as pyro. The quartet's seven-song set kicked off with "Animal" and showcased a batch of rock radio favorites, including "Someday," "Too Bad," "How You Remind Me," and "Photograph."
West, meanwhile, went with a basketball motif -- a Detroit Pistons jacket -- for his 55-minute set, only small portion of which will be seen on the VH1 broadcast due to conditions of his appearance at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards. But that was of no concern to West, who led a seven-piece string section, two backup singers and a DJ -- as well as guests like rapper Freeway and singer Tierra Mari -- through his own hit-filled, 15-song performance.
West had the State Theatre balcony shaking to "Gold Digger," "Touch the Sky," "All Falls Down," "Slow Jamz," "Workout Plan" and a fierce "Jesus Walks," and he also introduced "Heard 'em Say" as "my favorite song I ever worked on" before giving that an earnest performance.
Several NFL players were also on hand to bolster the Super bowl buzz, including Tony Gonzalez of the Kansas City Chiefs, Takeo Spikes of the Buffalo Bills (who, appropriately, introduced the Goos), New England`s Willie McGinest, and Detroit Lions quarterback Joey Harrington -- who was perhaps the only "performer" to receive a smattering of boos from the hometown crowd.