- The Fillmore Silver Spring, on opening night. (Photo: Josh Yospyn/TBD)
The Fillmore Silver Spring, the long-awaited, controversial Live Nation concert venue, opened last night. Mary J. Blige, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, sang. Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett smashed a guitar. People ate apples.
Patrons who showed up on opening night remarked on the building's beauty (chandeliers!), and the great sound. Many even said that getting to downtown Silver Spring during rush hour, from locations around the region, had been bad, but not nearly as bad as they expected. But, they also had gripes.
The well-dressed folks who showed up to see MJB didn't expect to have to wait outside in the cold and rain for an hour or more before getting inside—even ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon complained about the line. But the length of time that it took ticketholders to get inside last night can be chalked up to an opening-night kink. The number-one complaint from patrons last night isn't something that can be easily ironed out: People thought the ticket prices were way too high for a standing, general admission show. Many didn't even realize, until they got to the venue, that they'd paid $89.50 to stand through Mary's set.
In an excellent piece in this week's Washington City Paper, Tom Anderson takes a look at the Fillmore's ticket prices, and the possibility that its relatively pricey ticket costs could force other venues in the area to follow suit. Last night, patrons didn't seem upset by the $90 ticket cost itself, but the fact that their money bought them just a spot at the show, rather than a seat.
"I think it sucks," says a woman named BJ, who didn't know it was a standing show when she bought her tickets. "It didn't say on the website that 'general admission' means standing room only. I mean, what the hell?"
"We didn't know we had to stand until today," says Blige fan Shaunté, who drove to the Fillmore from Tysons Corner, Va.
"I called her today like, 'I hope you have some flat shoes,'" says Shaunté's friend Ronesshia.