By Alex Masurovsky
While Radiohead delivered the eargasms I had been hoping for, almost everything else about a recent evening at the Comcast Center went about as poorly as it could have.
Google maps suggested that the drive down to the former Tweeter Center, located down south in Mansfield, should have taken about 45 minutes. Planning for rush hour traffic, we left at 5:30, hoping to get in around 7 at the latest. Nearly two and a half hours later, we pulled into the Comcast Center in time to grab a $10 beer each and make it to our seats for Radiohead’s first song. The ride home took 45 minutes, as promised—after we had waited for and hour and a half to leave the parking lot.
Was it worth it? Yes. Yes it was. We know it, and the people running things over at the Comcast Center certainly know it. They know that despite horrendous traffic conditions going into and out of the Comcast Center, people will shell out big bucks and come to see bands like Dave Mathews, Florence and the Machine and Drake that only play big-venue shows.
What I’m saying is, the Comcast Center is not about to crap out thousands of dollars to build additional roads into and out of the venue. Ultimately, severe traffic congestion is an unavoidable symptom of a ton of people driving to one location.
Are we doomed, then, to sit in traffic and suffer every time we want to see a big band? Is there nothing one can do to combat the logistical horrors of seeing a big-venue show?
These are the questions I pondered during the many moments of reflection I was privy to as I sat in traffic. Tonight you can sleep peacefully. I have devised a plan for how to do the Comcast Center right and feel it is my duty to share it with the world.
Rule #1: Head Over Early
Weeknight concerts will hit you two-fold with both rush traffic and concert traffic. Do not underestimate concert traffic: The Comcast Center seats around 19,000 and almost all of them are driving. Unless sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic is how you like to hang out, leave early. As in, leave work early. Hitting the road at three o’clock for a show where doors open at 6:30 to avoid the rush hour traffic is not the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Parking lots open at 4 PM for a reason.
Rule #2: Own the Downtime
Acceptance is the key to happiness. Embrace the fact that you are going to wait. Enjoy it. You get there at 4 PM; what do you do for the next two hours? And that’s when you remember that God loves us and wants us to drink beer. Bring a crew, something to munch on and a cooler or two and tailgate. It’s not just for sports! Beers inside will cost you about $10 a pop for the standard 12 to 16 ounces, and while you can’t bring any in, there does not seem to be a rule against drinking (responsibly) in the parking lot. Plus, you’ll make fast friends if you’re the sharing type.
Rule #3: Plan an Exit Strategy
Upon arriving at the Comcast Center, we saw a large sign advertising “Premiere Parking” for $40. I made a quick judgment call that this was a scam. Never in my life have I felt this much regret of a parking decision. If you park in one of the free lots, you will be waiting an hour or two just to leave the parking lot, no matter how fast you get to your car. The Premiere Lot will still have about a 45 minute wait time, but will be the first lot to go. Think about that. Yes, you can still tailgate in the Premiere Lot.
You have two options for making the most of this situation. Option 1 is to shell out for the Premiere Lot, which, if you followed Rule #2 and brought a crew to divide up the fee, should be no problem.
Option 2 is to make a night of it. If you do end up doing the free lot, by choice or by circumstance, crack open the cooler again and wait it out (be sure to have a designated driver and thank him or her properly, and profusely, later). Maybe you want to be the cool intern with the hangover the next morning, or maybe you don’t have anywhere to be (see: unemployed). Either way, hanging out with the other stragglers sure beats hating humanity because you’re in your car with the gas running for an hour, hoping someone will let you in line so that you can wait another hour to leave the parking lot.
By the way, if you think it’s going to rain and your seats are not under cover, bring a raincoat, not an umbrella. Umbrellas are not allowed! Seems dumb, but how would you like it if you shelled out for a concert and some jerk in front you had a big umbrella in your face?
Spread the word to your fellow concertgoers. The world needs to know. Plan ahead, own the downtime and turn what could be a hellish logistical scenario into a good time.
Next time I’ll show you what to do if you’re thirsty and all you have is some sour lemons and a bag of sugar.
Photo by underdutchskies (Flickr)
About Alex -- Alex Masurovsky is an aspiring writer, musician, filmmaker, psychologist, socialite, father, philosopher, and guy who has walked on the moon.
The author is solely responsible for the content.