Apparently, more people go to a Jimmy Buffett concert than San Diego State football games.
This was obvious to anyone who went to the inaugural concert at San Diego’s new Snapdragon Stadium, Jimmy Buffett. Put quite simply, the crowd overwhelmed the facility. There was a near-capacity crowd of 35,000 and the stadium simply could not handle it.
If you wanted a drink – and many at Buffett did, especially margaritas (aggressively priced at more than $20 for something that would have been gone after about three sips) – then you either had to wait forever or forget it. A friend and I stood in different lines at the main Dos Equis bar and moved up a total of about six inches in 15 minutes. We gave up, and were not the only ones; in fact, people pulling out of the lines was about the only way they were moving forward.
There were also not enough bathrooms. Women’s bathrooms anyway. The lines were so long for them that some women were using the stalls in the men’s rooms. Between that and the concession lines, one could easily have missed half the show.
And to top if off, the stadium had a ridiculous policy of blocking off the stairs for people with floor seats. To go to the restroom, you had to walk to the far end zone from the stage instead of taking a much quicker and more efficient route up the side stairs. Security was there to block off that access and when I asked a security person about it he just shook his head and said “it’s a clusterfuck.”
After the show, officials attempted to funnel the entire floor crowd up one set of side stairs while blocking off the others. With people complaining, security finally stepped aside and let people go up all the stairs.
I actually felt sorry for the concession workers and security personnel because they were taking all the criticism when in fact it should have been directed at the stadium executives. The workers at the stadium were friendly – something I commented on in this review after attending a rugby match there – but were simply overwhelmed on this night.
On the plus side, Snapdragon has two large parking lots, perfect for a Buffett show. Security and the police let the Jimmy Buffett fans, known as Parrotheads, party like, well, Parrotheads at a Buffett show.
Once inside, tho, things turned sideways. If Snapdragon is to be a top concert venue in San Diego then it really needs to clean up its act.