BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
HOUSTON — As early birds to the Super Bowl LIVE experience wandered around Root Memorial Square Park in the blistering sun, checking out the gargantuan Fox Sports setup, defying gravity on a Future Flight ride of sorts and eating, John Egan unleashed a torrent of blues and Americana music from the Discovery Green stage.
A Houston mainstay, Egan stomped with his right foot and burned up the fretboard with his left hand as he sang in a swampy voice potent enough to cause many passers-by to stop and listen.
Egan was the first of a trio of musicians performing on the smaller stage inside the LIVE fan area. Each day through Sunday, at least three acts will perform.
Several blocks away, the Music Live stage stood empty, but Jay Z’s “So Ghetto” pumped from the speakers. That larger setup will host an array of performers throughout the week, ranging from Ryan Bingham on Wednesday night to Solange Thursday night to Gary Clark Jr. and ZZ Top on Super Bowl eve.
The majority of football fans who populated the grounds mid-afternoon Monday sported shirts supporting their favorite teams – lots of Broncos, Green Bay and Dallas fans. A few boasted Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski jerseys, but Falcons fans were a more difficult find (security dogs, however, were not).
Mindy Siskey, a native of Dallas, Ga., and current resident of Vinings, walked through the park proudly displaying a faded red Atlanta Falcons shirt, proof of her lifelong fan-dom.
“I was the oldest of three girls. My dad didn’t have a boy, so I had to learn football,” she said with a laugh.
Siskey commutes weekly to her job as a sales person at P2 Energy Solutions in downtown Houston (yes, from Atlanta) and she and her office mates – many of them Texans fans disgruntled at yet another playoff loss to the Patriots- have placed signs in their office windows at the Houston Center to cheer on the team.
“The whole office wants the Falcons to win,” she said. “Everyone I know in Houston who is a Texans fan is a Falcons fan.”
Siskey attended the NFC Champtionship at the Georgia Dome and she’ll head back to Georgia to watch the Super Bowl with friends and family rather than stick around Texas and try to nab a game ticket.
Her optimism about the team’s chances at victory is unflagging.
“I feel as good about this year as I ever have,” she said. “The defense is hot at the right time.”
My colleague Jennifer Brett found another fun fan to talk about the game.
Joey Collins was born in Marietta and used to live in Loganville. He now lives in Houston where he is in sales. Having his Atlanta Falcons come to his new town for the Super Bowl feels like winning the lottery twice. "This is in a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Collins, who wore his team jersey to the fan plaza in downtown Houston on Monday. A lot of his friends didn't realize what a huge Falcons fan he is and things got kind of emotional as a Super Bowl bid neared. "I scared some people. I lost my voice from screaming," he said. "A grown man cried." The Texas transplant wears his hometown pride on his sleeve and then some – he sports a Braves tattoo on his right arm. The left gun suddenly seems like prime real estate for some new ink. "Now I gotta get a tattoo," he said. #superbowl