My Review, Part 2 of U.S. Bank Stadium: The Pros and The Cons Mid-Season
A few months ago I wrote a review on the first-ever concert held at the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. It included Luke Bryan along with Little Big Town. I had many positive opinions about the stadium, but there were a few negative elements I thought needed work.
Since I published that article, I have been fortunate to attend five of the Vikings' home games. I wanted to compare my notes from that first story I wrote and let you know if and how my thoughts have changed now that football is mid-season. Has it improved? What are they still doing well? Here goes:
First and foremost, my biggest complaint at the time was the sound quality. This is also the most popular complaint I heard from others who have attended the venue for a concert. Well, I must say, I don't know if I've seen any improvement.
First of all, there needs to be the understanding that this is not a concert venue. It is designed to be a football stadium, resulting in a significant difference in sound per event. While I haven't attended a second concert there, I have found that over the course of the season, the sound at a game is incredibly powerful and one of the 'loudest' in the league. It's so strong that I have seen plenty of folks wearing earplugs. Now for me, it doesn't tend to bother me but perhaps that's because I am yelling and cheering just as loud.
However, the loud acoustics and staticky quality have been quite irritating a few times. When the officials are speaking over the loudspeaker, it sounds just fine. But when you get someone else on the field speaking, it can be quite hard to understand.
For instance, when one my favorite players, Cris Carter, spoke at a recent game, I could hardly understand a word he was saying. I got so pumped up to hear him talk, but I was sadly disappointed. There's still room for improvement.
Heading to the restroom during that first concert and even during the first football game was such a daunting task. The lines were awful and you didn't want to miss anything happening on the field! I have noticed that the women's restroom definitely has much-shorter lines. However, there are times when the men's line is especially long. I mean, it can get really long, with 50 guys in line. I do have to say that as a woman, it's kind of refreshing to switch roles here.
Obviously when you have a brand new venue, no matter how much you train your employees prior to the opening, they are still going to be faced with different issues when actual crowds are involved. I cut the employees some slack in the beginning because it was all fresh to them. I must say that overall the employees are now much more knowledgeable and attentive, with security and the overall system seeming much more secure/efficient.
When leaving the Luke Bryan concert I felt incredibly unsafe. I felt claustrophobic and like I could have gotten run over by the mob of people. Or, the whole crowd could have been stuck between the building and the large fence outside the doors. In case of emergency, the thought of trying to flee the place was just scary. They have not had that plan in store since, at least at the gates I have exited from. The exiting area is much more open and freeing, making it easier to get to your vehicle. Plus, at a football game people seem to leave at much different times, spreading it out. At a concert, people rarely leave early in herds. Overall, it got better and that's all that matters.
I didn't mention the food in my first article, but I thought I would now. Overall, pretty great. Some unique options like a gourmet mac 'n cheese bowl, cheesy cheese curds and rotisserie chicken are very tasty. Expensive, but tasty. I will say though, if you are trying to eat healthy, you're kind of screwed. I have been on a diet and the only thing I found I can eat without feeling guilty is the rotisserie chicken, which is covered in oil anyway. A nice gourmet salad place would be beneficial. I know it's football, but I can't be the only one out there, right? Id rather save my calories for the beer and not waste it on food.
This place is flipping amazing. You need to see it at least once. Not only is its size mind-blowing, but it's absolutely gorgeous. It was built well overall with many important features in mind. They have breast-feeding stations, for crying out loud. They thought of almost everything. I highly recommend you head up for either a concert or a game before the season is done. Get their early to take it all in. Go Vikes!