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Ford Field

August 22, 2011

  • 2000 Brush Street
  • Detroit, MI 48226
  • (313) 262-2000
  • Website

It took eight months, but J and I finally got to see the Zac Brown Band.  It was actually my parents idea.  They saw ZBB was going on tour with Kenny Chesney for his stadium dates.  At the time, there was no Chicago date listed, so my parents asked if J and I would take them to Detroit.  We had already seen Kenny Chesney at Soldier Field a couple years ago, but we hadn’t seen Uncle Kracker, Billy Currington, or the Zac Brown Band.  I put in an ticket order and we waited patiently for eight months for the day to finally get here.

I have been to downtown events in Detroit enough to know that the best place to park is in Greektown.  This trip was no different.  I headed straight for one of the surface lots near the casino.  The problem with this plan is not only was there a concert at Ford Field.  There was also a baseball game at Comerica Park and the Woodward Dream Cruise.  That meant there was a lot of traffic in downtown Detroit.

I weaved my way through the narrow streets surrounding the Greektown Casino to a lot that looked like they had openings.  I pulled in and asked how much.  For the baseball games we’ve been to, parking has always been under $10.  I guess I assumed it would be the same for this event, but boy was I wrong.  I pulled a ten out of my wallet and asked how much.  The parking attendant asked if we were tailgating.  I said no.  He said $40.  I didn’t really have a choice because all of the parking in the area was $40, so I forked over the money and headed towards Ford Field.

The gates for the 4:30 show opened at 3:30 and WYCD was doing a concert out in front of the stadium.  Most of the large crowd was paying attention to that show and didn’t even notice that people were being let in to the arena.  The front of the stadium had long ques separated into lines for men and women.  Everyone was being patted down before entering so my dad and I entered one line and my mom and J went to the other. 

The stadium is cavernous.  I’m not sure what I was expecting because I’ve never really been to an indoor football field before.  I have been to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, but the roof and wall were open, so it still had an outdoor feel to it.  There is a large lobby which leads to either an escalator to go up to the upper levels or it turns into a walkway to get to the seats in the lower level.

The concourse is really wide and lined with concession stands on the side opposite the seating.  Instead of a boring concrete concourse, the walkway is actually paved with bricks and has more of an alley feel to it.  The concourse is separated from the seating with area with black iron fencing.

The concession stands have a lot of the typical stadium food, but they also have some unique options.  There was a Big Boy behind us and the concession stand we kept going to had Hungry Howie’s Pizza.  My absolute favorite thing about these concession stands were the drinks.  First off, they have Pepsi on their fountain which makes me very happy and, fountain drinks are bottomless…all night.  All you have to do is take the cup back to the stand and they fill it up for you for free.  I think I got three Pepsi refills, J got one and my mom got one.  Popcorn is the same way.

Right next to the concession stands were the entrance to the restrooms.  While there were lines all night, the women’s seemed to go a lot faster.  Both my mom and J commented on how quickly they were getting through while I waited in line for what seemed forever.  Several guys made the same comment about needing the troughs like the had at Tiger Stadium and the Silverdome.

After getting drinks, we decided to head down to our seats.  We were sitting in the corner of what would be an endzone 19 rows up.  When I got the tickets, I didn’t really want those seats because of the price.  Each ticket was over $100 and I would have liked to have gotten something cheaper, but all the cheap tickets sold out quick, so if we were gonna go, we were gonna be stuck with the higher ticket price.

The seats themselves were pretty good and would have been great for a football game.  Even though it holds more than Soldier Field, J mentioned how much more intimate Ford Field felt.  For a newer stadium, I thought the individual seats were a little small, but nothing that was really uncomfortable.  Even being approximately 100 yards from the stage, we still had a pretty good view (minus the spotlight/speaker tower in the way).  I bet there’s not a bad seat in the house for a football game at Ford Field.

The show started right at 4:30 on the dot when Uncle Kracker took the stage.  I have to admit, I was very happy this show was inside.  Not that it was hot outside, but the weather was pretty awful and a pretty bad storm ripped through Detroit during the time we were inside.  We had no clue there was ever anything going on outside.  In fact, we had an air conditioner blowing right on us from above which added even more relief when the crowd filled in around us.

I was pleasantly surprised with Uncle Kracker’s performance.  I wasn’t really sure if I was going to know many of his songs, but he only played six.  Three of them were his own which I knew.  The other three were covers including Kid Rock’s All Summer Long which, of course, was a hit in Detroit.  His whole set only took about a half hour then they quickly cleared the stage and got Billy Currington’s stage ready.

Currington is one of those artists we’ve wanted to see but hadn’t yet.  Actually, everyone was that way tonight except Kenny Chesney.  Currington played a little bit longer than Uncle Cracker going about 45 minutes and finishing with one of my favorite country songs, Good Directions.

There was another quick bathroom break for J and I and a stop at the concession stand to get more free Pepsi.

After about a twenty minute break, it was finally time for the whole reason we bought the tickets.  The Zac Brown Band.  They didn’t disappoint leading off with Toes and ending with Chicken Fried.  They had all their hits in their including the song J and I danced to at our wedding, Whatever It Is.  The highlight, for me anyway, was an awesome cover of Charlie Daniels’ Band The Devil Went Down to Georgia.  I’ve seen them do that song on an awards show before, but it’s even better live.  They’re kind of a mix between Bluegrass and Country and they put on a really great show.

It took about 45 minutes to set up for Kenny Chesney.  There really wasn’t any surprises for J and I.  The show started with the band on stage and Kenny popping out of a tent over the soundboard riding on a chair suspended above the crowd.  I’ve seen Kenny three times now in the last six years and all three shows have started with him riding a chair from somewhere in the arena.  Both of the stadium s hows I’ve seen started with two crew members wheeling a large case through the crowd about ten minutes before the show started right up to the enclosed area behind the sound board….I wonder what was in those cases? 🙂

Anyway, once again, Kenny delivered with a high energy show.  This was probably the best one I had seen from him because the songs didn’t sound like they ran together.  A lot of Chesney music sounds the same and it’s very easy to misidentify a song based on the first few cords because a lot of songs sound very similar.  He mixed those songs up this time so there was a distinct break between songs.

We actually left before Kenny’s set was over.  Both my dad and J were getting sore from sitting for over five and a half hours.  Everyone loved the show, but it was really long.  I’m hoping we didn’t miss anything huge in an encore, but even if we did, oh well.  The show was great and we all really liked Ford Field….so much so I’m trying to get a friend of mine to come up for the Bears/Lions Monday Night Football game.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Jen permalink
    August 23, 2011 9:33 am

    It sounds like you had the same experiences as we did. I loved the Bottomless Pepsi, which was great for a family of 4 and we just shared 2 drinks the entired night. Our seats were in section 129, which were on the opposite side of the field you were on. We also have to have wheelchair accessible seating which turned out to to great for the family. We did not have to worry about the children being smushed by others and drinks spilled on them. The drive was long to Detriot seeing we live in LaPorte, IN, not much closer then Chicago. But loved the show and Ford Field.

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