Fans headed to Bob Dylan’s Americanarama concert in St. Paul on Wednesday probably need a refresher course on the venue more than they do Bob’s back catalog (especially since it’s sometimes hard to decipher the old songs anyway).
With the premium trio of Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Richard Thompson for openers, the show is taking place at the less-than-primo but ruggedly charming Midway Stadium, where the Saints minor-league baseball team plays. Midway was regularly used as a concert site in the ‘90s and early-‘00s, but Dylan’s show there with Willie Nelson in 2005 was actually one of the last big gigs there. Wednesday’s concert is sold-out with about 12,000 attendees expected -- a lot more people than the Saints usually host -- so the logistics around it could be tricky.
Here are some tips on getting there and enjoying the place.
*The stadium is at 1771 Energy Park Dr., between Snelling Avenue and State Hwy 280 to the east and west and I-94 and Hwy. 36 to the south and north. Snelling often gets congested, so try coming in from Raymond Avenue or Hwy 280.
*Better yet, take the free shuttles, which will be departing from the State Fairgrounds’ Lot 55 on Como Avenue just west of Snelling by the big Cattle Barn. The shuttles will start at 4 p.m. and go until midnight. Concert organizers are urging
*Fans who get there early can take advantage of the limited, free street parking along Energy Park Drive -- but not too early, as it's only free after 4:30 p.m. There will also be $20 parking within walking distance of the stadium at Minnesota Wire and Cable just west of the ballpark, and at the Apria Health Care office nearer to Snelling. The $20 fee is going to local charities.
*DON’T BRING: Lawn chairs, umbrellas, cameras or video equipment, coolers or outside food or drink (there will be ballpark-style concessions for sale inside for dining and wining). DO BRING: A blanket if you wish to sprawl out on the field.
*The concert is entirely general-admission, so the field will be open to standing or seating, and the bleacher seats will be first-come, first-served. However, the stage will be in center field a good distance from the stands.
*Gates open at 4:30 p.m., and show time is listed as 5:30 p.m. Thompson has actually been kicking things off around 5:15 in some other cities, though. Set times have not been made public, but a good guess would have MMJ going on about 6:15 p.m., Wilco about 7:45 p.m. and then Bob at about 9 p.m. It will be over by 11 p.m.
*Dylan et al. are also performing today at the scenic Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth, tickets for which will be available at the gate ($68).