Better to Be Early

Let me begin by saying that I have been to several concerts at the Jones Beach Theatre – probably about three or four over the course of my concert-going life. As a rule, we try to make a point of arriving about a half-hour or so prior to show time. Of course, between the opening acts and the “fashionably late” arrival of most artists, if the show kicks off within an hour of the scheduled time, it's a rarity. Still, it pays to beat the rush. There are the security checkpoints, the climb to the nosebleeds and the effort to find a halfway decent parking space to consider.  

Ah yes...the parking space. At one of my most recent trips to the Beach to see The Who, we were running just a little behind schedule. As we joined the seemingly endless queue  of cars waiting to file into the Theatre's parking lot, the only specific sign we came upon was the one designated “VIP Parking.” Not being particularly important people, we continued past this sign, instead following another long line of cars along the dark path to the Theatre. We assumed – foolishly, it turned out – that they knew where they were going.  

All I know is, by the time we parked, we found ourselves about three miles away from the Theatre in a completely separate parking lot (the “Field 4 Parking Lot,” as we later noted) - over a pedestrian bridge on the other side of the parkway, through a narrow, wooded area, clear across from the main lot where it seemed about 15,000 of the other concert-goers had managed to find a spot.

As we stood outside the car and attempted to get our bearings, the only obvious landmark was the Jones Beach Tower – you know, the one that's visible from just about anywhere along the entire South Shore of Western Suffolk and Nassau Counties? We may as well have left the car in the driveway and walked from home considering where we ended up parking. Perhaps a red flag should have gone up when we couldn't find any sign of the actual Theatre. Not until we hit the bridge, that is.  

Of course, it didn't end there. After walking all that way, we were then greeted by a massive crowd waiting to proceed through security. Once we finally made it through the gates, there were still five or six (or twelve...I lost count) staircases to climb to get to the seats themselves.

Finally, at about 8:30 p.m., we arrived for our 8:00 p.m. show. The Who emerged on stage at precisely 9:00 p.m. Sometimes, being fashionably late is a good thing.  

Ironically enough, we happened to have tickets for yet another show (Roger Waters) just two nights later. As we settled into our seats, trying to catch our breaths from our mini-marathon, my father turned to me and said, “Friday – we get here early. Very early. Like 6 o'clock early.”  

The lesson learned in all of this? Never follow others. You know that old saying, If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too? Now I know why the answer is a most definite, unequivocal, No.

Unfortunately, it took about three miles - and a bridge - to find out for sure.


{Published: September 27th, 2006}

Jamie Lynn RyanComment