Houston, we have liftoff. Club Nomadic, a massive temporary nightclub built especially for Super Bowl LI, opened its doors Thursday night as more than 7,500 ticket holders packed the venue for the EA Sports Super Bowl Party (formerly known as the EA Sports Madden Bowl).
In a sea of famous faces, including Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller, and fellow performers country music singer Sam Hunt and Grammy-nominated duo The Chainsmokers, leave it to hip-hop veteran Snoop Dogg to steal the show.
From the bow to the wow
Organizers announced that Snoop Dogg would perform only days before the big event, leaving his name off the official bill. Thus, most of the crowd had already departed the venue because the rapper didn't take to the stage until nearly 1:45 am, around 45 minutes after The Chainsmokers wrapped.
And it was to the joy of the VIP’s on the second and third floors of the club still entertaining at their tables, and to late-night general attendance guests on the first floor, who had plenty of room to move up to the front of the stage. Good things come to those who wait.
The rapper, who lit up a blunt on stage — ‘cause hey, it’s Snoop Dogg — performed until 2:30 am with the remaining crowd hanging on every beat.
Video game throwdown
Kicking off the night, EA Sports, the electronic arts game company that hosts the popular annual event, held both EA Sports Madden NFL 17 and FIFA 17 tournaments featuring pro athletes.
Eric Berry took home first place against Dak Prescott, Tyron Woodley, and Mike Evans in the Madden NFL tournament. Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and rapper 2 Chainz tied in the FIFA tournament with a score of 0-0.
While the tournament is the best time to spot your favorite competing pro player as they go head-to-head in plain view onstage (and in large view thanks to an enormous big-screen TV that runs almost the length of the stage), it was the slowest part of the night as most of the crowd waited until almost concert showtime to arrive.
Up close and personal
Country singer Sam Hunt started the live music portion of the evening with a bang. Hunt worked every inch of the stage as he belted out hits from his debut album, Montevallo, along with his latest single, "Body Like a Back Road."
The singer got up close and personal with concert-goers during his set, which went beyond the scheduled 30 minutes, as he leaped off the front of the stage into the narrow media pit, never missing a beat as he posed for selfies with the fans, who couldn’t get enough.
Drew Taggart and Alex Pall, otherwise known as The Chainsmokers, amped things up as they played a two-hour, high-energy set. The DJ duo, nominated for three Grammy Awards this year, is on fire right now with a string of hits including "Don't Let Me Down," "Closer" and "#Selfie.”
Despite some doubts that Club Nomadic might not meet city regulations, the building itself looks spectacular, with wavy video art installations shining through the walls at the main entrance, a spacious open lobby, and chic spiral staircases that lead to the upper floors, which are tricked out with lavish VIP areas.
But the first of three nights at the temporary venue wasn’t without a few hitches. Lines for portable bathrooms, located behind the building outside, were long. With a no parking policy in effect, the wait for Uber was at 45 minutes at 2 am, after most of the crowd had left. As well, surrounding neighborhood roads were congested due to several street closings.
Small gravel laid outside of the club makes for a tough walk for ladies wearing high heels (we strongly suggest wearing comfortable shoes with low heels if you plan on hitting up Club Nomadic this weekend).
General admittance guests didn’t seem to mind rubbing elbows on the crowded first floor, where they were close to the stage. But the exclusive second and third floors are the place to be since that's where you'll find the A-listers celebrating the night with bottle service, plus free bites and mini-desserts.
The list of big names in attendance includes Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, and sportscaster (and Houston-native) Lindsay McCormick.
The beat goes on as pop superstar Bruno Mars, who just released his 24K Magic album, is set to headline Club Nomadic on Friday.