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.
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