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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Survey Says!

Received a survey from Chicago Open Air.
There were two instances where the year was incorrect - "2016" wasn't changed to "2017" and "2017" wasn't changed to "2018" - within the survey:

 I liked what I wrote for the following two survey questions:

What was your overall favorite part of Chicago Open Air this year?

I thought the overall vibe of the concert was great and that made it a great weekend. I saw people help each other up in the pit; I saw many people help a guy who fell going up the steps at the end of Sunday. The chant about Nickelback during Stone Sour's set was fun. Sure, there were jerks that started fights on the floor, but there were more people there to have "fun" than to be jerky. The costumes people had on added to it too - the guys dressed as the Power Rangers, the guy dressed as Jesus - just made it fun.

Since there's been no other place to write this, here's some other ideas:
1_ Have a lottery to get 2 passes to sit on the stage that Paul Stanley sang on. Put a barrier around it and make it easier to get to it, but really, that would've been the BEST seat in the house. Have a bucket at each entrance and a slip to have people put down their name & cell # to get a text by, oh, 2 hours before the final headliner to meet at the soundboard, show the security people that you are the one, and then be allowed to go up to the seat. Have a lottery each day, for the three final acts of each day.
2_ From a pure 'crowd control' perspective, it would be a great idea to have some sort of toilet on the floor for the main stage. When a band ended, there was a huge influx of fans going up the steps.
3_ Tap into some other pop culture things that metal fans share. For example, I don't smoke pot - and never have - but I watch WWE. Have some WWE superstars come and do autographs. Have a standup comedian tent for someone like Jim Breuer from That Metal Show to appear - but not during a metal icon's time on stage. It could be before the bands on the main stage start up.
4_ FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, get unique videos to show between the bands on the main stage - the Cooking Hostile show was funny, but not after every single band. Work out some sort of royalty deal with Mike Judge to show Beavis & Butthead episodes or SOMETHING so we don't see the same videos after every band.
5_ One thing that I think would be cool is to have a place for musicians to connect with other musicians. I thought the "Music Experience" place was going to be like what they had at Memphis in May 2004. They had a trailer set up with a room with a drum set, guitars, bass, mics, and you could go in there and jam. They had a guy that monitored the flow of people in and out - so no one would steal anything which, sadly, you'd need to have - and a second guy who was kind of the 'host' - like at a jam session. A second thing would be to have a 'musicians wanted' board or a place to put business cards for metal-related services, whether it is for music websites or producers or writers or stage crew or whatever - there were so many people connected to metal but no way to knit people together.

Overall, I really enjoyed the concert. We went all three days.

What is the #1 thing we could do to improve Chicago Open Air in the future?

Sorry, you're going to get more than one.

1) If pinned down and forced to choose one, I would say "Don't make heavy metal bands choose between icons who are scheduled immediately after each other. Slayer ending 5 minutes before Ozzy was the worst decision of the weekend."

Here's why it was a choice we had to make. My son & I had a good view for Ozzy by the soundboard so we didn't go see Slayer because we knew we wouldn't get that good view back. It wasn't fair to fans to have to choose. Truthfully, Ozzy only "won" because I saw Slayer previously - back in 2004 - so I knew what they were like. My son didn't know their songs so he was okay with seeing Ozzy.
Side note: What would have been MOST EXCELLENT would have been to have Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth on the same stage, in a row on the same day, and to market it as "3/4ths of the Big Four are playing at COA!"

2) Decide on security policy and stick to it.

___a) We read "water bottles must be sealed" and that was fine. On day two, security insisted that we open our water bottles. I didn't want to drink my water immediately - was saving it for when it was hot. On the third day, some security let the water bottles remain sealed while others security people made them be open. Truthfully, all you have to do is bring a cap from another water bottle in with you to seal it.
Also, on this subject, once inside, some vendors would sell bottled water without taking off the cap; others insisted upon removing it. Consistency.

___b) Why can't a dad put their young daughter - I'd guess she was between 8 - 10 - on his shoulders so she could see better. This dad and his daughter were standing in front of the soundboard so no one's view was blocked. Since I was closer to them than the security guy, I had to be the one to tap him on the shoulder and tell him. It broke my heart. Our youth are the future of supporting the heavy metal genre!

___c) It would also be cool to have giant "Right side = going to the floor; Left side = leaving the floor" signs. Also, the steps next to the VIP section needed better crowd control. There were people trying to go up and down on the same side of the steps - security at the bottom should tell people to go to the next section to go up.

___d) The sign for the 'crowd-surfing policy' made it look like Ozzy was reading a teleprompter - it is kind of funny. I get the whole idea behind needing to post the 'official policy' and I'm fine with that. I thought the security people went a little too overboard. It was like they thought because the sign was there that no one would crowd-surf and they acted annoyed when crowd-surfing began. Look, I've been going to concerts since 1986ish and THERE ARE ALWAYS CROWD SURFERS AT THE CONCERTS! Frankly, if the security people are going to act annoyed for what has been standard at countless concerts for the last 31 years, they shouldn't be hired.

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