Congestion and long lines plagued Luke Bryan fans flocking to U.S. Bank Stadium Friday night — a rerun of problems that occurred at the stadium’s first event earlier this month.
The news was much better for Metro Transit. After the concert, crowds were able to board trains and buses more smoothly than those at Aug. 3’s sold-out professional soccer match.
According to transit agency spokesman Drew Kerr, almost everyone who wanted to get on a train or bus had done so within 35 minutes after the show ended. That compared to the 90-minute wait for a ride home on Aug. 3.
But before Friday’s concert, many of the 46,000 country music fans who came to the $1.1 billion stadium in downtown Minneapolis to see their idol had trouble just trying to get inside. Lines for will-call tickets neared an hourlong wait, and fans who paid for high-priced floor seats had trouble getting to them because stadium staff ran out of the wristbands required for floor admission.
The concourses weren’t quite as congested as they were on Aug. 3, but there were still logjams around popular food stands and the T-shirt booths.
But the biggest problem during the show? Lines to the women’s restrooms.
Women, who made up the majority of Friday’s audience, waited in line from 20 to 30 minutes between the opening act and Bryan’s appearance.
“They said it was going to be a better stadium for that kind of stuff, but it might even be worse,” complained Lacey Moses, of Stillwater.
Cindi Foster, of Andover, also complained about those lines, but was otherwise impressed. “You have to expect a few problems with a stadium this big, but overall I think it’s a really fun place for a concert,” she said. “I’d definitely come to another one here.”
Gary Lehman, from Champlin, said it was hard to navigate concourses because lines for food, tickets and bathrooms all ran through each other. “You just had to weave through it,” he said.
Ali Thunell and Megan Hanson, both of Elk River, said long lines for drinks and to get to their floor seats were a headache. They waited an hour to get a drink, Thunell said.
They also said it wasn’t clear where fans could pick up their wristbands, so they walked to the floor without realizing they needed them.
“It was a baloney sandwich,” Thunell said. But also, “it was an OK experience.”
There was a silver lining for all — the indoor concert spared fans from a drenching. Rain fell during the entire concert.
More buses added
By almost all accounts, things went much more smoothly on Metro Transit platforms after the concert.
The transit agency had vowed to do better, and it appeared that that goal was met.
Kerr said every available train was in service, as they typically are after large events. In addition, 18 buses were present to shuttle train riders back to park-and-ride lots.
It’s also possible that there were fewer users of mass transit Friday than there were at the earlier event, which fell on a work night when many people wanted to get home quickly.
When the concert let out just after 11 p.m., early departers, perhaps anticipating tie-ups, practically ran to their train or bus, trying to beat the rush.
Once passengers passed the ticket check, where the line split into two queues, people followed their line and almost instantly were able to board the next train.
Some misbehavior was observed: About a dozen people climbed through piles of trash to bypass the ticket check/bottleneck area. Metro Transit officials quickly took notice and moved to prevent further such passages.
By 11:45 p.m., the area was largely cleared out.