The opening of the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln's Haymarket district had me a little on edge, primarily concerning our ability to move traffic after large events. Maybe it was because people have moaned and complained to me about traffic control at basketball games, volleyball games, and football games since the Ford administration.
I was concerned that with many more events in the 10,000-15,000 range, and with an arena area pretty closed in on the north and west, the stars were aligned for massive jams. This had been Omaha's experience when the Qwest Center (now CenturyLink Center) opened. I recall Omaha's police chief at the time,Thomas Warren, calling me one day to compare notes with Nebraska football traffic control. I especially worried that the first few months would be particularly bad, since lots of construction is underway, and many of the roads and parking structures are not yet open.
Alas, traffic Armageddon failed to materialize at the first two concerts, both of which were sold out. In fact, it's been surprisingly smooth. Perhaps people heeded the advice to park a distance away and enjoy the stroll. Maybe more people are opting to patronize the restaurants and bars after the events, rather than make a mad rush for the car. In any case, so far, so good.
Tonja and I attended the inaugural concert on September 13th, Michael Buble (yes, I know, but I'm not wasting 10 minutes searching for the keystroke combination to produce l'accent aigu). Then last Thursday, we decided to dine out, and wanted to try the new bar and grill in the Cornhusker Hotel, Miller Time Pub. When we arrived, the place was packed, and there was a wait, which is quite unusual on a weekday in Lincoln. "What's going on?" I asked the hostess. "The Jason Aldean concert," she replied. "Oh, of course," I said, not wanting to appear entirely clueless. To my self I was thinking, "Who the heck is Jason Aldean?" Never heard of him.
I'd probably get the answer if it were Alexis de Tocqueville, Sojourner Truth, Jonas Salk, Vidkun Quisling, and maybe even Maynard G. Krebs. But in a game of Trivial Pursuit, I'd be completely worthless in the country western music category.