When the COVID-19 pandemic caused games to be held in empty stadiums in 2020, ideas were postponed for a year, which also provided additional creative time for the VEN team.
“We knew we wanted something for everyone to touch, smell and see all around the stadium,” said Greg Bostrom, Vikings director of entertainment. “Just as people could smell the level 300 dragon’s fireball, we wanted to bring the experience to everyone, not just those in the front row.”
What better way to represent the state of Minnesota and the “Old Norse” of the Minnesota Vikings than a glistening white snowfall?
Thus, the concept of an indoor snowstorm was born.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, 42 individual machines generated evaporative snow that floated and whirled more than 66,000 fans at US Bank Stadium.
Pair this snow with the entire sequence – the “Symphony of the North” performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, Jim Marshall’s retelling of the “Odin” story and the dramatic introductions of the current Vikings – and fans are treated to an enveloping experience like no other.
Vikings Entertainment director and associate producer Darius Smith has called the 2021 season “pivotal” for fans.
“We’re always thinking about: what can we do to compete with the broadcast experience? “It’s a lot easier to sit on your couch and watch a game than it is to invest your time and money with the Vikings to watch a game,” Smith admitted. “So what we’re trying to do is to create those must-see moments that make fans want to come to US Bank Stadium.
“Because after 2020, you really can’t take anything for granted,” Smith added. “We just wanted to create an environment that people will want to come to.”
It has certainly been accomplished.
“Odin,” narrated by Marshall, combines the Viking god of war and the tradition of the Minnesota Vikings.
When the Vikings played at the Metropolitan Stadium on freezing winter afternoons, the Purple People Eaters expected the temperature – and light – to drop as the sun crept behind the edge of the stadium wall. Just then, Marshall and his teammates were slowly and methodically chanting “O-Din. O-Din” over and over again.
The chant created a bewildering and almost frightening aura for the opposing team, who felt any semblance of warmth dissipate as the voices of their enemies rose up.
When Vikings animated graphics specialist Arthur Kuh began planning the type of music that should accompany “Odin,” he took a different approach.
Rather than sorting through the music, finding something he liked, and then editing the video to match that tone, Kuh turned to a fully personalized sheet music.
“I liked the tone of the violin [in a song I heard]; I liked the orchestral sound. But it was very generic, “Kuh said.” But then I was like, “We have one of the biggest orchestras in the world right next to us.”
The Minnesota Orchestra, like the Vikings, hasn’t been able to perform for fans in the past year and a half. It seemed entirely fitting that as the Vikings celebrate their home opener today, the orchestra is also kicking off its 2021 season.
Kuh worked with composer Tommy Barbarella, who seized the opportunity to take on such a creative and unique challenge that culminated in “Symphony of the North”, an original piece.
“Whenever you are asked to write something for one of the best orchestras in the world, it’s a no-brainer. The answer is ‘Absolutely’,” Barbarella told Vikings.com “The challenge was everything make it in 90 seconds composing for TV commercials over the years has definitely helped me in this regard.
“The Vikings were looking for something that looked like preparation for combat. Drums of war, etc. Something dark and ominous that grew with intensity until a grand finale that would ignite everyone,” Barbarella added. “I really tried to use the whole orchestra, giving each section a few moments.”
Barbarella, a native of Minnesota who enjoyed the “glory days” of Marshall and the Purple People Eaters, said it was not difficult to find the necessary inspiration.
“I’ve been a die-hard Vikings fan (for better or worse) for almost 50 years. And with that, my worlds collide,” Barbarella said.
In July, the Minnesota Orchestra under Osmo Vänskä performed “Symphony of the North” live for the Vikings to record.
Vänskä called it a “powerful piece” filled with energy and emotion.
“I really enjoyed bringing it to life with the orchestra,” he said. “I love the idea that the Vikings and the Minnesota Orchestra have teamed up to create something that speaks to our common sense of place.”
Vänskä noted that although the group has performed around the world, being a part of the Vikings’ inaugural game at US Bank Stadium in 2016 remains one of the orchestra’s most memorable shows.
“It was amazing to feel the energy in the place. So we were very happy when the Vikings stepped forward to suggest this new collaboration – which also has tremendous energy – to celebrate the great reopening of the stadium, ”said Vänskä. “This will be an important milestone for our community, and I am proud that the orchestra can play a role in it. These kinds of creative partnerships between civic organizations are part of what I love about Minneapolis.
Fans at US Bank Stadium on Sunday were treated to an incredible video that shows not only intense snapshots of Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks and others, but also close-up footage of violins and other instruments intertwined.
“This introductory video has a heart,” Kuh said. “He’s got a soul, and he’s got a life outside of the building and outside of what you see before the game. And that’s what I wanted, and the orchestra was the only way to do that. the best of the best at what they do, and their sound was so good. “
Bostrom, Kuh and Smith were grateful for the opportunity to produce the entire intro sequence in-house rather than outsourcing to another production company.
The three, along with Vikings technical producer Jesse Marquette, combined their individual skills for each element of the collaboration.