Whether you love Jerry or hate him, no one can argue that Jerry holds back when it comes to his Cowboys. As an owner, Jerry is second to none – and the new Cowboys Stadium is the ultimate proof of this.
On Saturday yours truly was lucky enough to attend the first public event at Cowboys Stadium, George Strait in concert. My seats were in section 414, row 27 – three rows from the top of the stadium in the upper deck. While much has been made of the deluxe suites and club level seating, we true fans will more than likely find ourselves with this birds-eye view of the new palace. I thought it would be appropriate to give everyone a feel for this experience.
From the moment you see it rising above the horizon in north Arlington, there is no doubting the imenseness of the structure. While obviously making a huge nod to Texas Stadium this new incarnation feels almost spaceship-like in its appearance. As you approach it the sheer size nearly overwhelms you, but it’s only when you can see it in scale next to fellow gawkers that it begins to take on its true size. I could have stopped here and been impressed, but that was only the beginning.
On the west and east sides the first thing you notice are the giant sliding doors. While they were closed on Saturday, it is obvious the attraction they would have on a cool day, expecially when opened to one of the two large open concourses. On the east side a view of Rangers Ballpark presents itself, making any Arlingtonian (as I am) proud. As one ascends up the many sets of stairs to the “cheap” seats (ours were $70 a pop for the concert) the stadium’s immense interior finally begins to take shape. Additionally, on each level there is a broad concourse allowing plenty of great views of the field and roof and several more of the surrounding area via nearly endless windows.
The view from the nosebleeds is truly all-encompassing, but the one thing that cannot be ignored immediately grabs your eye – the ENORMOUS, HUGE, GIGANTIC, STUPENDOUS HD video board. Spanning nearly the entire length of the field, the board dominates your field of vision.
Having seen the large HD board at the University of Texas’ Memorial Stadium I was expecting ads and clutter, but instead the board showed nothing but the concert for the entire show. Oddly enough, even from our blimp view of the concert I found myself at times feeling sorry for the poor saps on the floor missing all of the great up-close HD action provided by the video screens.
The largest negative for myself and those around me was the atrocious sound quality. At other stadiums it is customary to hang sound-absorbing acoustic cloth from the ceiling for concerts and the like, but no such concession was made at Cowboys Stadium. Instead, we were treated with a concert with all the audio nuances of a bull horn in a high school gym.
Sound quality aside, the event went off better than I expected, and the stadium itself truly was spectacular, even down to the dramatic opening of the roof as ordered by Mr. Strait himself. Even traffic leaving the stadium was handled well, and saying goodbye to the new beauty made me wish football season started now.
Getting in and out proved to be much easier than anticipated. Only time will tell if Arlington and the Cowboys pull out all the stops on a weekly basis to make this happen again. The only thing which keeps this rating from an A was the price – $40 to park, even in the Rangers lots. Absurd.
While looking forward to a “jalepeno sausage sandwich” I was treated merely to a “jalepeno sausage” as a result of a communiation issue with the obviously new food service employee. It was marginal at best, but my wife, a cheesburger connoisseur, rated her cheeseburger #1 on her list of stadium burgers. Only Miller Lite or MGD was available for us cheap-seaters (at $8 for 16 oz), but I suspect more options were available to those in the high dollar areas. The LCD screens were a nice touch, but overall I was disappointed. For a $1 billion you would think Jerry could come up bigger.
The visual look of the place is stunning and a bit overwhelming. Each seat up top had armrests and cup holders, something that can’t be said for many poor seats in other stadiums. The seats themselves were made of plastic (even the armrests), and it will be interesting to see how they hold up.
Something must be done immediately to remedy this situation. Cowboys officials claim that steps were taken by the end of the show to imrove the sound, but more than likely that was a result of a full house singing along to a man whose songs they know by heart. Poor Lee Ann Womack (the first act) had no such luxury, and everyone’s ears were the worse for it.
Video Board: A+
Owner Jerry outdid himself. Sitting in the upper deck watching the HD screen looked even bigger than if I were at home watching a 50″ from my couch. Well done, Jerry. As a bonus, Jerry even teased us all by appearing on the big screen chatting with Jimmy Johnson. Don’t be so cruel, Jerry, by appearing with Jimmy while leaving us with Captain Kangaroo.
Cowboys Stadium will no doubt be a great place for football, and I eagerly await its debut on national television this fall. Even we GM Jerry cynics can agree that Owner Jerry has knocked one out of the park.