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“Will Not Be Returning”

Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre
Ranked #10 of 44 things to do in Irvine
Attraction details
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Will Not Be Returning”
Reviewed September 17, 2013

My husband and I visited the Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre last Sunday for the Oddball Comedy Tour. It was quite the disappointing experience.

We expected traffic as other reviews have stated - but we were still amazed at how bad the traffic really was. The freeway was completely stopped with the line of cars trying to exit and get into the single lane entry to the venue. We ended up making a U-Turn and going back to park at the Irvine Spectrum. Although it was a long walk - it still seemed faster than all the cars that were completely stopped that we passed as we walked.

As we walked up we thought we were walking toward the entrance - but were then re-routed to the back of the line of hundreds of people entering. Because they have so few ticket-takers and turnstiles, (probably about 6 people) the line of people wrapped through the parking lot for nearly half a mile. We literally walked for a solid 10 minutes - past the line - just to get to the end of the line.

The event was billed as starting at 5 PM - and we were at the front at 5:40 PM. We didn't actually enter the venue until 6:20 PM. We used the restroom (the women's was fine, but my husband said the men's smelled very strongly of urine) and then were anxious to find our seats amongst the crowds.

We had seats on the lawn and were probably on the lawn by 6:35 PM. There were already a TON of people there - and more and more kept arriving. The first comedian didn't start until 7 PM - so we were relieved that we at least hadn't missed anything while we navigated the traffic and people.

Pretty quickly people started smoking marijuana and we were surrounded by the smell of weed. It was incredibly pungent - and very obvious that people were not at all concerned about getting caught.

We could the screens well from the lawn - but once the event started, every few minutes or so, the "churro" guys would walk through YELLING "churros, get your churros! Got the munchies? We've got churros!!" There were times when they were literally standing directly in front of us, blocking our entire view and any hopes we had of hearing the comedians, screaming about their churros.

On top of that "sound" issue - the sound itself at the venue was incredibly poor. It was turned up so high that normal talking sounded like screeching and when some of the comedians sang - the lyrics were completely indecipherable because of the poor sound system. The echo was also very pronounced and did not help the bad speakers.

We love outdoor venues and were really disappointed with the Verizon. We go to the Hollywood Bowl several times a season, and were recently at The Greek Theatre in Hollywood. The differences between those two venues and the Verizon are vast. The Hollywood Bowl is just a little bit bigger - yet they don't have ANY of the problems that I experienced at Verizon. And even though Hollywood is known for it's bad parking - getting out of the Greek was worlds easier than the Verizon.

We left early to avoid the exiting car crowd - but I can only imagine that with everyone leaving at the same time - the issue of getting out via A SINGLE lane would have been a nightmare.

I don't see why I would ever return to the Verizon Ampitheatre again and hope that someone realizes what a problem it's become.

Visited September 2013
6 Thank Hoovergab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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135 reviews from our community

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English first
Temecula, California
Level Contributor
123 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 240 helpful votes
“Dangerous Drunks and Negligent Medical Services”
Reviewed September 16, 2013

To date my wife and I have attended three Country Western music concerts the Verizon Ampitheater. As a certified security consultant for 30 years here's my personal experiences.

"Live Nation" is the contracted concert promoter here. BIG mistake. Here are the issues you will have to deal with when attending a concert here.

First, participant control at the front gates is ridiculous. Food and drink venues are open and ready for business over 2 hours before a concert. However, they make people wait in long lines and in the heat for hours and then open the gates at 6 pm for a 7 pm concert. This causes serious crowding issues when people are finally allowed to enter; not to mention heat exhaustion, passing out and related medical problems.

Second, way too much uncontrolled alcohol sales. It's all about profits and not about safety. By time patrons (who have already been drinking pretty hard in the parking lots) get into the concert seating area, they are fairly blitzed. None of the vendors selling alcohol are checking the sobriety of the patrons and there is ZERO police oversight. HUGE mistake safety and security-wise. Irvine PD does not respond into the venue unless requested. They do patrol the parking lots though.

Third, again relating to alcohol. NO alcohol should be allowed inside the concerting seating area. You have drunk patrons getting even more intoxicated in the concert area. They get into fights, spill beer on other patrons and throw up in the seats. Believe me when I tell you that we personally experienced ALL of this behavior while trying to enjoy a concert.

Fourth and this is IMPORTANT - American Medical Response and Doctor's Ambulance (a division of AMR) provide NO paramedics for the venue. They only have EMTs without any immediate access to an AED, oxygen and other immediate live saving equipment in the vent of a serious medical emergency. If you have any cardiac problems, security staff who first respond to you won't know what to do and will call the EMTs. However, the EMTs don't have the equipment with them, so they have to return to their station to get an AED, 02, etc, so MORE time wasted as you go from respiratory distress, to arrest to cardiac arrest and "code." Because they have NO paramedics there, you now have to wait for Orange Co. Fire to respond with advanced life support equipment. You're probably DEAD or "TBI" (traumatic brain injured) by then if you had a cardiac arrest and/or have no oxygen going to your brain. 5 mins without oxygen is about it before TBI or a fatality.

With Live Nation, it's all about the money. They take your money and you take the risk.
So, enjoy your concert at Verizon Ampitheater. As for us, never again. We're DONE!

Visited September 2013
5 Thank DrRon1854
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laguna Niguel, California
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Never, never, never again!”
Reviewed September 16, 2013

I would love to save someone the wasted money, time, and disappointment of going to this venue. We TRIED to see Dave Chappelle and the Oddball Fest comedy show last night. First, the freeway was backed up for the Irvine Center exit although there was a sign saying to exit Bake Pkwy for the concert. We did that, thankfully, and turned right on Research Dr. That saved us at least 45 minutes getting into the venue. We knew we were arriving late since we came about 5:30 for a 5:00 show. However, when we got parked and headed toward the entrance, we were told we had to go to the back of the line of people still waiting to get into the venue. This line of people was literally 3/4 of a mile long. By 6:00, they still had this horribly long line. So people were walking to the back of the line and probably had walked 2 miles by the time they got to their seats. We asked one of the parking attendents about whether the "Preferred" parking allowed you to get into the venue faster and they said "No, you still have to wait in that line. But, preferred parking is worth it so you don't have to wait 3 hours to get out of here." Whaaaatttttt???? After hearing that and seeing that we would not even enter this venue until 7:00 (for a 5:00 show), WE LEFT. We were so pissed off at the lack of organization of this place that we were willing to write-off the $180 worth of ticket expense and just go home. And, if you know how hard it is to see Dave Chappelle perform, you understand the sacrifice! I'm so glad we did. It would have been a complete nightmare. I cannot believe the low standards that Live Nation operates by. So please, save yourself from this experience.

Visited September 2013
4 Thank AmyG949
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
43 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Great out door venue for concerts”
Reviewed September 16, 2013 via mobile

If you are in the area and there is a show you want to see this is a nice place to go.
However, if you don't want to spend one to two hours exiting the parking lot then buy VIP parking! We parked at a friends house 20 min walk past the parking lot and when we drove past the lot it was still full! They basically have 1/2 a lane for general parking to exit. Because the one lane to exit through, is shared by the pedestrian cross walk! So a few cars go then a few pedestrians etc... (18,000 seat venue!)

Also don't get seat further back then the middle of the loge section and even then avoid the sections on the far sides. If you want to see the show, as the stage isn't very wide relative to the ampatheater.

If you follow those rules it's a fantastic place!

Visited September 2013
1 Thank Brooklyneats
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orange, California
Level Contributor
104 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Great place to see a concert.”
Reviewed September 13, 2013 via mobile

Front rows are best of course but out door arena lots of security and bathrooms were clean n not to crowded.

Visited August 2013
Thank Sccrmom3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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