A few days ago I heard an announcement on the radio that Foo Fighters would be performing at Madison Square Garden. No big surprise, given that the Foo Following could easily gobble up tickets for multiple dates at MSG. What I found surprising is that the concert—which will be the first full-capacity, post-pandemic show at MSG or any other New York-area arena in 15 months—is set for June 20, a mere 12 days after the event was announced.
Normally, a show like this would be on sale months in advance, but these are not normal times. Tickets went on sale Saturday at 10:00 AM, and the show was sold out by the following morning.
The concert, billed as “Rock and Roll Returns to the Garden,” has an interesting qualification for admission:
“Guests must have proof of full Covid-19 vaccination – Final Dose 14 Days Before Event… Because of overwhelming demand for these events, in order to accommodate as many guests as possible, Madison Square Garden is complying with New York State mandates that require all guests to be fully vaccinated in such circumstances.”
This is probably a good idea, given the fact that there will be 20,000 screaming fans packed into the building, but it’s not my idea of a fun time—not yet.
A visit to the MSG website also reveals that the venue has planned designated entrances for patrons based on seat location (duh…), cashless transactions for in-venue purchases, and mandatory use of face coverings, “except for vaccinated individuals when seated in a vaccinated seating section, or for unvaccinated guests, while actively eating or drinking in their assigned seats.”
I’m not quite sure how they plan to enforce these rules once the lights go down and the show starts.
As the concert industry begins to rebound from the disaster that was 2020, a quick survey of indoor venues across the country reveals similar results:
- “In accordance with the CDC and NHL, masks will no longer be required for fully vaccinated fans at TD Garden. Masks are strongly recommended for unvaccinated fans.” (TD Garden, Boston, Mass.)
- “Face masks are required to be worn while inside American Airlines Center at all times. All persons age 2 years and older must wear a face covering.” (American Airlines Arena, Dallas, Texas)
- “Guests are required to present a photo ID, and either proof of full vaccination (two weeks since your final dose) or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of the event date. Out of state visitors are required to show proof of full vaccination.” (Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.)
Even local sports stations are onboard this train. A few minutes ago, I heard WFAN-NY announce a ticket giveaway for an NBA playoff game, with the warning, “winner and guest must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days after your single dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine or after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines.”
It appears that venues and promoters are acting with an abundance of caution, and rightfully so given the seriousness of the situation. Maintaining a feeling of safety is going to be a huge factor in getting patrons to attend indoor events in pre-pandemic numbers.
Judging by the speed at which concert tickets are selling, patrons are ready—and I have no doubt that people working in the entertainment industry are ready, as well.