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Some tweets from the Neil Young concert last night: winning over the crowd with music (and a little weed); but not Neil deMause

A cold-eyed impression

Neil deMause, writing in his Field of Schemes blog, liked the concert, but pronounced himself unimpressed with the venue:
All modern stadiums and arenas have a fundamental problem to solve, which is how to jam in the maximum number of high-priced lower-deck seats and luxury suites without making the hoi polloi upstairs feel isolated from the event. The Barclays Center handles this extremely poorly, combining a sprawling lower section with a large wedge of suites that makes viewing from the front row of the upper deck (where we were seated) like watching from the opposite rim of the Grand Canyon....

There were other problems as well: The restrooms have been wedged into a section of the seating bowl where the concourses are exceptionally narrow, meaning when everyone lined up for them between sets, there were major traffic jams. The famed Jay-Z-inspired black/grey color scheme came off less urban chic than corporate blah. And while the Disney-trained staff were certainly friendly, I can’t say they were especially helpful — the defining image of the night for me was when the Nathan’s food stand guy sold me two bottles of Dasani water (a mere $4.50 each!) and then insisted on pouring them into plastic cups, apologizing the whole way that this was the way they had to do it.

I guess the same could be said about the arena as a whole. But I’m still waiting for my apology, Mr. Ratner.


  1. Anonymous8:22 AM

    I enjoy reading your blog on a fairly regular basis. I can appreciate your analysis on the various complexities and controversies involved in the Atlantic yards project. However, I am starting to get a little bored of the anecdotal reviews of various events and performances of the Barclays Center when they concern items such as high concession prices, long bathroom lines, and like. Who cares. For every person that does not enjoy their arena experience, I'm sure their are several who do. I agree such reviews from non arena goers concerning loud noise and narrow sidewalks are more legitimate since they concern a public good. I'm similarly uninterested with a rehash of ticket prices for various events. It seems like when tickets are cheap or free, you speculate that the arena events are being poorly received and they need to give tickets away just to get a reasonable attendance. And when tickets are expensive, you reason that forest city is a greedy corporation looking to profit. While your speculation may or may not be correct, I don't know if their is an acceptable ticket price in your opinion and I just don't see the point of rehashing it every week or two.

    1. First, I think the tweets re Neil Young are a reasonable spectrum of opinion, including the thought that some people who opposed the arena find it less objectionable once they go there.

      Neil deMause is a recognized expert on sports facilities, esp. the financial deals behind them. His take is worth noting.

      As for ticket prices, I don't think I've made it an issue in quite the way you suggest.

      I think it *was* notable they gave away 1,000+ tickets to fill seats for the first, highly touted boxing night. And I have followed up on the claims of $15 tickets for Nets games, because that was a frequent talking point, just as I've followed up on the distribution of free tickets, as mandated in the Community Benefits Agreement.


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