The lines were long, wireless service was spotty and someone complained about a concession stand running out of chicken.
But we all had a swell time!
U.S. Bank Stadium will be fine, folks. More than fine.
The Vikings and SMG opened U.S. Bank Stadium doors — well, actually not all of them, unfortunately — for a test run in hosting a big event with a soccer match between Chelsea and AC Milan on Wednesday.
Outside, the place looks ginormous, like it swallowed the Metrodome whole without even a burp. And yet, once inside, the Vikings’ new home feels more bright and airy than cavernous.
Happy to report the toilets also flushed during the stadium’s maiden voyage.
The soccer action was entertaining, but the real draw was the stadium and seeing how it handled the task of accommodating 64,000-plus fans.
Not unexpectedly, there will be problems to fix as feedback pours in from fans — sorry beer prices aren’t changing — in the buildup to the main event, Vikings vs. Packers on Sept. 18.
My first look-see at the stadium reminded me of my first visits to Target Field, Xcel Energy Center, TCF Bank Stadium and CHS Field.
All new stadiums that brought a definite wow factor, which was entirely predictable and fundamentally essential. The so-called People’s Stadium came with a $1.1 billion price tag. The bells and whistles better impress.
U.S. Bank Stadium offers some distinctive features that will never, under any circumstances, be accused of being cookie-cutter. Those touches give the place its own uniqueness, though a few important unknowns remain.
My first impressions:
Best feature: Five pivoting glass doors on west side.
Stadium officials opted not to open the doors because of the sweltering heat. Too bad, because that’s a creative design element that makes the stadium unique.
I’m curious to see how opening those doors — with heights ranging from 75 to 95 feet tall — will affect temperatures and vibe inside the stadium.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said recently that he has input on whether the doors will be open on game day. The team must follow NFL protocols similar to stadiums with retractable roofs. They must notify the league 90 minutes before kickoff.
A fixed roof was necessary to make U.S. Bank Stadium a multipurpose venue, but those pivoting doors might allow the Vikings to bring some Minnesota chill inside during winter months.
Biggest surprise: Amount of natural light.
Fans with seats on the north side better bring sunglasses to games. The abundance of glass on the west end and the transparent roof called ETFE allow plenty of sunlight, which shines directly in the face of the opposing team’s sideline.
The stadium uses banks of lights to minimize shadows on the field, but they won’t be able to eliminate them completely.
Worst gridlock: The main entrance through the pivoting doors. Uff da. Judging by traffic flow, roughly 99.99 percent of fans entered here.
The wide swath of concourse leads to a scenic overlook of the field and makes 494 at rush hour look like a ghost town. This area figures to be a favorite selfie spot as fans enter the stadium, causing congestion.
A worker tried to keep orderly flow by asking fans to snap pictures and move along. Yeah, good luck with that.
Biggest unknown: Two actually — noise and temperature.
Vikings executives were curious to see how the heat affected temperatures inside and how noise levels compared to the Metrodome.
The ETFE roof is designed to control the climate by preventing a greenhouse effect. The stadium temperature was pleasant Wednesday despite the heat/humidity and sellout crowd.
The noise factor won’t be known fully until a Vikings game. For all the Metrodome’s warts and flaws, the old building created headache-inducing noise (some artificially produced) and provided a competitive edge.
Will U.S. Bank Stadium be able to match that same decibel level? Privately, team officials aren’t sure.
Favorite spot: Club Purple on the second level, a lounge area that features a large patio outside with unobstructed views of downtown. Anybody have extra (free) tickets?
Cool touch: The Gjallarhorn has its own platform beside the scoreboard on the west end. Any chance Brett Favre would sound it before the Packers game?
That would answer the question about how loud the stadium can get.