Breaking ticket-sales records doesn't come without a little pain.
Garth Brooks fans encountered many hang-ups on Friday night when Target Center hosted two of the country music superstar's concerts in one night. And Saturday's dual show schedule was just as ambitious.
Per complaints voiced via Twitter and Facebook, many attendees waited more than an hour in what some described as a chaotic, free-for-all line to get into the Minneapolis arena for the second of Friday's two shows.
Doors were scheduled to open at 9:30 p.m. for the second performance, an hour ahead of show time. However, many fans were still in line past 11 p.m.
Brooks waited for them and did not take the stage until after 11:30.
While parking and traffic challenges were expected around Friday's two concerts — each of which drew around 18,000 people — some attendees said things were a mess inside, too, with more long lines and uncleaned and unstocked bathrooms.
"I'm glad I wore my old pair of tennis shoes, because it was pretty disgusting," said Tim Davis, of Richfield, who described a scene outside that was "almost like a riot." He and his wife, Jenny, nervously left the line and waited across the street inside the under-construction Block E complex, even though that meant missing the first few minutes of the concert.
"People were yelling, and things got pretty crazy," Davis said. "It was just poorly organized, way worse than what you typically deal with for a concert."
Target Center spokeswoman Sandy Sweetser said Saturday afternoon that "the switch between the two [Friday] shows went well and much like we thought it would." Friday's crowds were handled with safety as the top concern, she said. "Target Center staff spent a lot of time planning for an ingress/egress that is as efficient as possible."
She offered this caution about Saturday's second show:
"Show 2 doors are NOT going to open at 9:30 p.m. — and show 2 is NOT going to start at 10:30 p.m. I think everyone has to understand that. So we will do our best and just ask that people be patient — throw their own paper towels in the trash when they wash their hands in the bathroom — and enjoy being a part of music history!"
On Friday night, the arena staff responded to fans' complaints via Twitter with repeated calls for patience. One of the arena's tweets read, "We are fully staffed and prepared for the show. 18,000 fans entering takes time."
Saturday's two-in-one night featured the fourth and fifth shows in Brooks' unprecedented 11-concert run, which began Thursday and has already broken the singer's record for most tickets sold in one city (around 200,000 total). He also has single concerts scheduled Sunday and Thursday, and then two more doubled-up nights next Friday and Saturday.
Target Center has fewer entrances than its crosstown competitor Xcel Energy Center. Part of the delay was also caused by the "ticketless" seating system, which Brooks and Target Center's ticket company, AXS, employed to combat scalpers.
One of Friday's ticketless attendees, Heather Petri of Maple Grove, believes the Target Center was not staffed enough or equipped to handle the new system.
"There was only one person to swipe your card, and then another person had to print out your tickets, so no wonder it took forever," she said.
Petri said she waited in line for 90 minutes and had to get out of line when the skyway entrance to the area felt overcrowded. "People started to feel faint," she said. "It was so hot in there and crammed with bodies."
Those who attended Friday aren't complaining that Brooks didn't give them their money's worth in the end, though. He performed until nearly 2 a.m.
"Garth was as amazing as ever," said Davis, who hopes to attend another of the 11 shows. If he does go again, he said, it will probably be on one of the nights when only one concert is scheduled.
"That seems like the smart way to go."