Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Let's Home The Fillmore Experience is Smoother Than The One at Nissan Pavilion

For the sake of the people who live and work in Silver Spring, and for the people who plan to go to concerts here, I can only hope that the experience at The Fillmore is absolutely nothing like the one I had Sunday night at Nissan Pavilion, a venue run by our friends at Live Nation. First of all, it took me THREE AND A HALF hours to get there, by which time the main act’s set was nearly complete. (Thank you, Radiohead for doing two encores.)



Photo by Flickr user Smile Regardless

An hour and the half of the drive was spent after I got off 66, a road which inexplicably goes from four lanes to two immediately before the exit. When I finally reached the parking lot (note that all concertgoers are charged $7 for parking, regardless of how they get there) I had to trudge through a muddy, flooded mess. It wasn’t much better inside, as the concourse was flooded as well. When I finally left, I had to walk through three inches of cold water. Then I waited an hour and a half to get out of the lot, which amazingly is less then I have in the past. The experience was so bad for everyone, it even made the Post.

The last time I was at Nissan I had to wait over two hours to get out of the parking lot. After awhile I had to use bathroom so badly I wandered off to find a private place and ended up falling down a hill into a brier patch, where I was stuck for some time. I still have bloody clothes to prove it. I swore that was my last time there, but I made the mistake of giving it another chance. How the construction of this place got greenlit, I'll never know. Typical Virginia crap - keep building and don't support growth with any infrastructure.

I can't even begin to imagine how much it sucked for people on the lawn. The big screens weren't turned on and there was a mass of umbrellas blocking their view. However, the people with perhaps the biggest beef are the ones who never even made it after they were told to drive around in circles outside the pavilion due to flooded road. Why Live Nation didn't cancel the show when there were flood warnings, I don't know. I could live with that - it's happened to me before when I tried to go to a Radiohead show in Virginia back in '01. I would have missed the show but would have been spared six hours of driving, much of which was in dangerous conditions.

Admittedly this post is only tangentially related to Silver Spring, and Bristow, Virginia is a lot different place than our downtown, but it still concerns me that the same management will be running our new venue. Maybe I'm just bitter after missing half of a show I had really been looking forward to.



13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw Sting there <10 years ago (?). Similar experience as you; and we even had decent weather. Anyway, I swore off Nissan then, and haven’t been back since (and yes, that means I've chosen to miss a handful of shows). There is NOONE they could book that I would go to Nissan to see, even with free front row seats. In my world, Nissan Pavilion does not exist. SteveL

Dan Reed said...

As a veteran of many a Warped Tour at Nissan, I don't know how much Live Nation is to fault for the ride TO Nissan Pavilion. Route 29 (that's the very same Route 29 we have in Silver Spring) and Linton Hall Road could stand to be widened, but I'm pretty sure Virginia has been widening and re-widening I-66 on a consistent basis for the past several years.

Merriweather is ten times better. You have many more options on how to get there (so all those shitty Virginia people can stay the hell off 29 when I'm going up that way) and, unlike Bristow, Columbia might actually see improved transit some time in the near future. Radiohead wanted people to ditch their cars going to Nissan; if they play Merriweather one day, that might actually be possible.

Anonymous said...

I guess I was one of the lucky ones that got into the show. I live in Colesville and left at 1:30 to get to a friend's place in Merrifield at 2. We were in the VIP parking lot by 3:30. Much to my surprise, we were out of the parking lot in no more than 5 minutes and I was home 1.5 hours after the show ended. I guess the Gods were with me that night...

Sligo said...

What is their fault...

- They run a horrible venue that is completely inaccessible and they book popular bands there that one can only see by making that terrible trek.

- The drainage at the place is nonexistent so people have to walk through three inch flows of water.

- They charge $7 per ticket for parking... no matter how you get there. Ironically, Radiohead's website encourages people to take public transportation. Of course, this is not possible.

- They also turned away some people at the entrance and told them to circle. Fortunately, this was not me. People completely missed the show after driving God knows how long.

Springvale Roader said...

I don't even bother going to the Nissan (what a rockin' name) Pavillion after having read all the horror stories about the place. No concert is worth that, unless it's a combo Devo/early Elvis Costello/reanimated Jim Hendrix show.

It's good to be able to walk to the Fillmore, but if that place is as problematic as the Nissan Pavillion, I can only say to the Birchmere Haters: next time, be careful what you wish for.

Jessica said...

At 33, I am just too old and too much of a Marylander for Nissan.

A huge fan of The Black Cat and 9:30 for years, the last & best rock show I have seen was at (surprisingly) the historic Sixth & I Synagogue in the District. It was smooth sailing all round, a fantastic venue. Maybe their security & event staff can give lessons to the Fillmorians.

valvic said...

I went to (probably) the same Sting concert as 'anonymous'; we missed Natalie Maines, and the line out was so long that we had to witness some morons actually doing the macarena... I still have emotional scars and stretch marks on my bladder.

valvic said...

oops I meant Natalie Merchant, as my wife just reminded me... actually we started dating the very day after the Sting concert @ Nissan, so I have some good memories also.

Anonymous said...

The point of this article is key. The operators of Nissan are the EXACT same people who Leggett touted as being great operators for Silver Spring. Their incompetence is legendary. Guess how they're making it up to the thousands of people who sat in their cars for 5 hours only to be turned away? With 2 lawn tickets to Radiohead's Camden, NJ show. I bought 2 pavilion seats, didn't get in though I left MoCo 3.5 hours before the show - and to make it up to me I can take another day off of work, spend more money on gas, a hotel and get a lousy lawn seat. Great customer service?!#$%#$%#$%#$

Why Leggett thinks that'll be different here is beyond me. And it's your tax dollars that are funding Silver Spring music hall too. Shameful.

Anonymous said...

What makes you think travelling to a concert hall at a major commuter intersection will be smooth? The traffic there is already beyond repair. This was one of the worst decisions made by the county EVER. It would have been ok if it was somewhere else. But locating it at 29 and Georgia is a disaster. This decision was made by people who do not have to commute to and from Silver Spring.

chaz said...

Far be it from me to defend Live Nation, but I'm with Dan; I don't think anyone can fix Nissan. I have never met anyone who had good things to say about a trip there.

As far as vehicle traffic for the new venue, it could be OK. Using 9:30 and, say, the Troc, TLA, or Electric Factory in Philly as models, there's not usually a ton of car traffic for concerts, aside from cabs. I mean, it's 1500 people or so, right? Not on the scale of Nissan or Merriwether. Metro will be very convenient, and people coming from the north won't have to deal with the Georgia/Colesville intersection. People coming down Georgia from 495 might have some issues. Lastly, concerts rarely start during rush hour (doors open at 7 or 8, but only rubes show up on time).

Foot traffic might be a bigger concern. They'll have to keep people moving after a show so they don't just pool up and bleed onto Colesville. Especially if people are trying to catch nonexistent cabs.

WashingtonGardener said...

Okay you got stucl for hours - had no bathroom access- fell into a briarpatch - lay bleeding - and STILL went back? I'm calling this one a "shame on you' for even considering that, much less doing it.

Sligo said...

But it was RADIOHEAD!