Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Traffic ruins my U2 concert; did it happen to *you, too*?

DEAR U2: PLEASE NEVER, EVER, EVER PLAY IN OAKLAND AGAIN. THE COLISEUM AND THE ADJACENT ARENA ARE NOT EQUIPPED TO HANDLE THE DEMAND OR THE TRAFFIC. THANK YOU.

NEW UPDATE = Patrick (missudpat@yahoo.com) is a class action attorney who is compiling a list, to which I've added my name. His wife attempted to go to the concert and met with the same circumstances we all did. Hell hath no fury like a loving husband = go get 'em, Patrick. Please contact him with your name and email address (no spam, promise) if you leave a comment here at BBB.

UPDATE = we've got our first comment of the night, courtesy of James.

Spot on Dustin, a buddy of mine and I left SJ just after 6:30 with the intent of catching some of Kravitz and making the U2 opening set around 9pm. Wrong. What a joke, the City of Oakland did not have any traffic coordination or mitigation plan whatsoever to handle all of the traffic coming in from both NB and SB 880. Arrived just after 8, we ended up leaving a little after 10:15pm when we made the command decision that the 'overflow parking lot' was just another clusterfvck. I want my money back, more so, just frustrated and pissed off that I missed the show on account of inadequate planning to handle the critical mass. Never again will I attend a show at the "O" in Oaktown. . .

Here's another one from Rye =

Totally agree, of the concerts and sporting events I've attended, this was the absolute worst experience I've ever been through. I will NEVER attend anything in Oakland again especially when it takes 45 minutes while attempting take an off ramp and park in a ridiculously overpriced mud-hole "overflow" parking lot for $40. What a jip.

And one from Mike =

We had a very similar situation. We had box seats from the show that got cancelled last year. We waited a year to sit in traffic for four and a half hours. We never even made it to the parking lot! A lot of money and a lot of wasted time , for nothing.

Just woke up this morning, and here are some more experiences, starting with Anonymous =

We had similar experience and I will never go to a concert at that godforsaken coliseum- were they not able to predict traffic issues from ticket sales? Overflow parking lot was a joke, we were all left to our own devices, especially on way home. One person with a bad hip gave up entirely and left b/c they couldn't make the walk; we saw one guy in a wheelchair and wonder how/if he made it. Took us 3.5 hours from San Jose, a majority of which were spend trying to exit at 66th Avenue and then access the overflow $40 swamp. To make it worse, then had to huff it up a hill to stadium and will call office. Never again. Still love U2, but I feel like they need to come again (but not to Oakland!) as I didn't get enough despite best efforts (and lots of money, including babysitter for 8 hours) to see this incredible show. Getting out of overflow lot was not as bad as we thought, but only because we ran out during second song of encore. We are very bitter towards O coliseum.

Radit actually made it inside, but a Beautiful Day it was not =

Completely agree with all of the above comments. We too had an incredibly frustrating evening trying to deal with the traffic/parking situation. After sitting in traffic from the Dumbo bridge/880 split all the way up, we were led through successive idle/crawling merges past a full stadium parking lot and then onto the depths of the faraway $40 overflow parking lot. Who is responsible for the lack of planning / preparation that led to this whole mess? The city of Oakland? The Oakland Coliseum? The event staff? An abysmal effort by everyone involved that left thousands with a completely ruined concert experience.

We had wished that we had taken BART in, but from what we heard, BART was indeed stopping service as usual after 12am. Were others out there stranded in Oakland?

After taking 3 hours to get from home to our seats, it was already 10:15pm and U2 was playing Beautiful Day. No it was not. A horrible experience altogether.

Anonymous #2 =

I've travelled from Mill Valley to Oakland Airport for 10 years and never once did it take more than 90 minutes, worst case. Normal time is about 50 minutes. Last night: THREE HOURS. Two hundred dollars a ticket plus an unprecedented $40 parking. Fourty dollars? Really?

Agreed to all the above. Which incompetent city official or money lusting concert organizer has to be held responsible for last nights CLUSTER. Thousands of people were ripped off or massively inconvenienced by that traffic.

All predictable as well.

Anonymous #3 =

Last night was a nightmare. We left Petaluma at about 5:30pm and hit the usual traffic near Golden Gate Fields where Interstates 580 and 80 merge. This traffic usually subsides after Emeryville, but not last night. It was at a crawl on Interstate 880 all the way to the Coliseum. At 9:30pm we were still stuck in traffic outside the Coliseum. Soon after the Coliseum lights went down and U2 took the stage. At this point a Coliseum employee was going car to car to inform us that all lots were full and that there was overflow parking on 66th Avenue, which we couldn't even get to. We made the gut wrenching decision to throw in the towel and head home. I will never be back to the Oakland Coliseum!!!

I'm copying this next one from Jim Harrington's concert blog comments =

We never made it inside to see the show….we are really upset as we waited over a year to see these guys, bought the tickets for a Christmas present for my wife in 2009! We sat in traffic on the freeway and offramp for 2 1/2 hours, finally drove out of the lane and snaked our way all around the area for another hour and finally arrived at one of then entrances only to be told by the police that the parking lot is full and that we would have to follow the other cars to non secure parking 2-4 miles away and walk back….this was at 10:15 PM!!!! We were so disgusted, we drove home back to Alamo..called the U2 people when we got home, but no answer….we are really frustrated and angry that the promotors didn’t do a better job of organizating and didn’t have people or signs out informing autos where to go, how to get there and then finally, there is no parking in the stadium lot!?!?!? Not Good! What a waste of some big money!

Another Anonymous =

Same thing with us also. We left home around 7:30 since we didn't want to see Moonalice. It took us about two hours to get from 880 / 237 intersection going northbound on 880 to get to the Coliseum. By this time it was 9:30.

Then it took another hour on the off-ramp and trying to get to the parking lot, only to find that we had to go to the overflow lot that could have well been farmland.

We decided to go in despite the $40 fee and got inside the Coliseum around 10:30.

There were still hundreds (if not thousands) of people who were in the same situation. I don't know why they are all not complaining...this is the only blog I've found about this.

We need to get KTVU and the local media involved!!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

DUSTIN'S TALE OF MISERY

Tonight my girlfriend and I were very excited to see U2 perform at the Oakland Coliseum (or Overstock.com Coliseum, if you prefer... which I don't). We got the tickets this morning online, for a reasonable price ($60 each, after fees, for lower level seats behind the stage). We were especially glad to be seeing such a major band because we had tickets to see Adele in Berkeley on Saturday, and the show was cancelled. U2 was definitely not cancelling the show, so it seemed we'd finally get our first "summer" concert in the books.

My girlfriend works in Stanford, so we arranged for her to get off work a little early to make it to my place in West San Jose at 5:45pm so we could get up to the concert on time around 7pm. Lenny Kravitz was opening, too, who we wanted to see since it was like a second major act for free.

Being Bay Area residents, we were well acquainted with rush hour traffic. We figured we'd probably miss some of Kravitz's set, perhaps all of it if he did a short one, on account of the extra cars on the road and the time it would take to park and walk. Not a problem, so we thought.

Well, fate had other ideas.

Interstate 880, the main artery between the South Bay and the East Bay, was a massive, 10-mph moving parking lot. Usually it starts slowing down around Milpitas / Fremont, and loosens up around Hayward. Tonight, the traffic backup started at the 280 interchange, right by my house, and continued all the way to Oakland. ALL. THE. WAY.

I called 511 for an explanation. There were two injury accidents, a property-only accident on the side of the road, and the normal slow downs. The phone service also mentioned the U2 concert.

None of these reasons should explain why it took THREE HOURS to get to the Hegenberger exit in Oakland, just 41 miles from my apartment.

Or rather, half a mile from that exit.

Surprise! We weren't the only people trying to see U2. The exits to Hegenberger as well as 66th were all snarled, more than anyone could have reasonably predicted. There were literally thousands of people trying to exit 880 and get into the Coliseum. However, it was now 9pm, and U2 had presumably been onstage for about 45 minutes to an hour.

My girlfriend, being the brains of the operation, had a seemingly brilliant idea = go one exit past 66th, and get on 880 southbound, since less traffic was coming from that direction.

I could have kissed her for her logic. So up I sped, past the literally hundreds of cars waiting to exit, toward the next exit. Then I happened to look to the left at the other side of the road.

Same situation, but with only one exit available. It was arguably worse.

We waited twenty minutes to just reenter the freeway. Once we merged, we made a judgment call, given that it was approaching 9:25pm = let's cut our losses (which included, besides the $120 for tickets, parking fees, a minimum 45 minute wait to exit the freeway, and - oh yeah - the possibility of making all this extra effort for nothing) and just head home.

I nearly cried, but home we went. On the way past the Coliseum, we got a closer look at the traffic situation = the parking lots adjacent to the Coliseum and Oracle Arena were completely full, and the massive traffic backup was on account of people trying to make their way, in vain, to the overflow parking... wherever that was.

We could see the lights of the Coliseum, as well as the uppermost stands that were about two thirds full. Methinks I know where the other third was, considering this was a sold out show.

To drown our sorrows, la chica bonita and I went to the Texas Roadhouse for some massive margaritas and steaks. At least the evening was partially, if not completely, redeemed.


Did you get shut out of the concert on account of traffic? Did you make it in, only to catch just one song? If so, I want to hear about it, expletives and all. I know my girlfriend and I weren't the only ones out over $100 (some of the tickets were over $200 face value, if I'm not mistaken). Comment away, and I'll add the comments at the top of this post.


UPDATE = I could just weep reading this fantastic set list. >:-0


96 comments:

James said...

Spot on Dustin, a buddy of mine and I left SJ just after 6:30 with the intent of catching some of Kravitz and making the U2 opening set around 9pm. Wrong. What a joke, the City of Oakland did not have any traffic coordination or mitigation plan whatsoever to handle all of the traffic coming in from both NB and SB 880. Arrived just after 8, we ended up leaving a little after 10:15pm when we made the command decision that the 'overflow parking lot' was just another clusterfvck. I want my money back, more so, just frustrated and pissed off that I missed the show on account of inadequate planning to handle the critical mass. Never again will I attend a show at the "O" in Oaktown. . .

Rye said...

Totally agree, of the concerts and sporting events I've attended, this was the absolute worst experience I've ever been through. I will NEVER attend anything in Oakland again especially when it takes 45 minutes while attempting take an off ramp and park in a ridiculously overpriced mud-hole "overflow" parking lot for $40. What a jip.

Mike said...

We had a very similar situation. We had box seats from the show that got cancelled last year. We waited a year to sit in traffic for four and a half hours. We never even made it to the parking lot! A lot of money and a lot of wasted time , for nothing.
Mike

Anonymous said...

We had similar experience and I will never go to a concert at that godforsaken coliseum- were they not able to predict traffic issues from ticket sales? Overflow parking lot was a joke, we were all left to our own devices, especially on way home. One person with a bad hip gave up entirely and left b/c they couldn't make the walk; we saw one guy in a wheelchair and wonder how/if he made it. Took us 3.5 hours from San Jose, a majority of which were spend trying to exit at 66th Avenue and then access the overflow $40 swamp. To make it worse, then had to huff it up a hill to stadium and will call office. Never again. Still love U2, but I feel like they need to come again (but not to Oakland!) as I didn't get enough despite best efforts (and lots of money, including babysitter for 8 hours) to see this incredible show. Getting out of overflow lot was not as bad as we thought, but only because we ran out during second song of encore. We are very bitter towards O coliseum.

Patrick said...

I AM A CLASS ACTION ATTORNEY who waited for his wife for 3 hours while she sat in between various parking lots. The Coliseum constructively locked her and all of you out knowing it could not handle the volume. THAT IS CALLED FRAUD. Contact me at missudpat at yahoo dot com to be added to the li$t.

Radit said...

Completely agree with all of the above comments. We too had an incredibly frustrating evening trying to deal with the traffic/parking situation. After sitting in traffic from the Dumbo bridge/880 split all the way up, we were led through successive idle/crawling merges past a full stadium parking lot and then onto the depths of the faraway $40 overflow parking lot. Who is responsible for the lack of planning / preparation that led to this whole mess? The city of Oakland? The Oakland Coliseum? The event staff? An abysmal effort by everyone involved that left thousands with a completely ruined concert experience.

We had wished that we had taken BART in, but from what we heard, BART was indeed stopping service as usual after 12am. Were others out there stranded in Oakland?

After taking 3 hours to get from home to our seats, it was already 10:15pm and U2 was playing Beautiful Day. No it was not. A horrible experience altogether.

Anonymous said...

I've travelled from Mill Valley to Oakland Airport for 10 years and never once did it take more than 90 minutes, worst case. Normal time is about 50 minutes. Last night: THREE HOURS. Two hundred dollars a ticket plus an unprecedented $40 parking. Fourty dollars? Really?

Agreed to all the above. Which incompetent city official or money lusting concert organizer has to be held responsible for last nights CLUSTER. Thousands of people were ripped off or massively inconvenienced by that traffic.

All predictable as well.

Anonymous said...

Last night was a nightmare. We left Petaluma at about 5:30pm and hit the usual traffic near Golden Gate Fields where Interstates 580 and 80 merge. This traffic usually subsides after Emeryville, but not last night. It was at a crawl on Interstate 880 all the way to the Coliseum. At 9:30pm we were still stuck in traffic outside the Coliseum. Soon after the Coliseum lights went down and U2 took the stage. At this point a Coliseum employee was going car to car to inform us that all lots were full and that there was overflow parking on 66th Avenue, which we couldn't even get to. We made the gut wrenching decision to throw in the towel and head home. I will never be back to the Oakland Coliseum!!!

Anonymous said...

Same thing with us also. We left home around 7:30 since we didn't want to see Moonalice. It took us about two hours to get from 880 / 237 intersection going northbound on 880 to get to the Coliseum. By this time it was 9:30.

Then it took another hour on the off-ramp and trying to get to the parking lot, only to find that we had to go to the overflow lot that could have well been farmland.

We decided to go in despite the $40 fee and got inside the Coliseum around 10:30.

There were still hundreds (if not thousands) of people who were in the same situation. I don't know why they are all not complaining...this is the only blog I've found about this.

We need to get KTVU and the local media involved!!

Anonymous said...

3 hours in traffic, turned back at 9:40 when they took the stage. Spend 1 hour in less than half a mile in 880. Never made it even to the exit, which looking back probably was the smartest thing we did, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to get out, for another two hours, like happened to friends of mine. I will sign any law suit petition against the Oakland coliseum. I am never going back and I will make sure I turn myself into a marketing campaign against them.

Anonymous said...

Same experience. Four and a half hours from San Jose, only to turn around and go home. I have contacted the lawyer cited at the beginning of this blog. Hope all will do the same.

Steve B said...

Massive, massive fail on the part of the concert organizers and the city of Oakland last night. We left San Francisco at 7 PM and, after crossing the Bay Bridge, sat in traffic for the next THREE+ HOURS, finally arriving in the overflow parking lot (I use the work 'lot' generously) at 10:20 PM. We paid $40 for the privilege of parking in what surely must've been a former WWI battlefield with all the ruts, trenches and mud. I'm sure many cars were stuck and/or their underbellies ruined as a result of navigating this terrain. After calculating that the band had been playing for almost an hour at that point and it would take us a half hour to walk to the stadium, we figured that we could maybe catch a half hour of the concert...and then be stuck in who knows what mess trying to get out of there. Knowing it would be pretty uncool to roll in and relieve the babysitter at 4 in the morning we turned around and headed home. It took us 25 minutes to get back to the hotel. Tickets+hotel+babysitter+parking=incredibly frustrating waste of time and money. This was absolutely shameful planning on the part of the organizers. The thousands of people who got screwed like we did should at the very least get their ticket money back.

Eric said...

We also decided at 8:45 after being in traffic for 4 hours and looking upon the sea of red in the over flow parking area that we wouldn't be able to catch the show. It is by far the worst organized event I have ever been to. I don't ever intend on going back to the Coliseum.

Anonymous said...

All sad stories but not as sad as mine. Only had $32 so they turned me away from $40 overflow parking (I dropped the family off on the exit ramp so they could walk - wife had the money, as usual). Missed first 5 songs. Return to a smashed windshield. Perhaps Bono and his 'love everyone' attitude will reimburse me? Love you Oakland.

Anonymous said...

We went to dinner at Zachary's Pizza on College before the show at around 5:30. Call it luck or some random premonition, but I ad this kooky idea to leave our vehicles parked on College and BART from Rockbridge to the show. Glad we did!! After hearing about the 40 dollar parking and the 3 hour plus waits on the freeway, I am glad we decided on mass transportation. The only hiccup was this, after the show which ended around midnight (U2 didn't come on til 9:30, which I am now guessing is because so many fans were running late), the BART crowd was unreal!! The crowd backed up way beyond the bridge and into the stadium. My friends and I were lucky enough to had made it on the train, but I wonder how many were not so lucky?

neldridge said...

I've been going to shows in Oakland for many years and have never experienced anything so horrific as last night. It took us almost 4 hrs. from San Jose.
My husband isn't a big concert person but I was able to pursuade him for this U2 show (we bought the tix about 18 months ago)but after our experience last night he'll never go again. We got ripped off by the City of Oakland big time. I realy loved seeing the cops that were gettting paid for supposedly being on duty at the intersections just standing around and chatting it up instead of directing traffic? Worst night ever. Does anyone know who we contact with a grievance or better yet to try and get reimbursed?

Nancy

Anonymous said...

Waited 2 years for this concert and had exactly similar situation. Never made it inside. It was so sad. I can't belive this night went the way it did.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is able to get a refund, let us know.

Anonymous said...

WORST EXPERIENCE EVER!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Start your lawsuit with Live Nation - the promoter. They were irresponsible

Wendi said...

Wow, we hear you all...this was the worst traffic management I have EVER seen at any event. I cannot figure it out how they managed to screw up so many people's nights. We left Santa Clara at 6:15 and we walked in the Arena's doors after 10:00. And we were LUCKY because there were a ton of people behind us, and we just moved cones and parked eventually in a space they were blocking off because of a bit of a ditch in the space (the SUV was just fine though in this space). We had to walk probably 1 mile to get to the arena...and again, we were lucky we made it at all. A bunch of the seats were empty even when we got there at 10:00. There is no reason that this should have occurred. We recognize we were leaving peak time (sorry Oakland, I have to work and get a babysitter and put dinner on the table for my kids before I could leave, so NO I could not leave earlier) and expected some delays as a result of leaving at a peak time. But FOUR hours? What a joke. We should be compensated.

Anonymous said...

Just an update, I called the Coliseum box office and they were extremely unhelpful and a bit rude. Basically they said that since I was in traffic at 7:45 for a 7:00 show, it was my fault for not planning accordingly. I called Ticketmaster earlier and they told me to call the Coliseum box office. I'm beyond frustrated now.

John said...

I had a similar experience to everything stated here. We left the Penninsula at 5:30, and were trying to exit on Hegenberger Rd at 6:30. 3 hours later we were still in our car and gave up. The Coliseum is a joke. Never again.

JessieLovesCows said...

We left the Los Gatos area at 6, expecting to arrive at the Coliseum around 7:30 with traffic allowance. We felt a little foolish when we approached the Hegenberger exit after 8:00 and saw how congested both Coliseum exits were, presumably with fellow concert goers. After TWO HOURS of sitting in the exit lane, it was obvious that the lots were full but nothing was being done by the Coliseum to redirect traffic or even just prevent the hundred and hundreds of cars waiting in both directions to arrive at the same FULL lots! We got out of the 66th Street Exit lane when we could indeed see all the closed lot gates, took the next exit, found street parking, and walked to the show. It ended up taking us FOUR & A HALF HOURS to get to our seats at a venue just 45 miles from our home. We missed the opening act & nearly an hour of U2, and ended up leaving at 11:00 for fear it would take us just as long to get OUT of the hellhole that is the "O.co Coliseum." Doesn't matter who's playing there; we will NEVER patronize this venue again!

Sherry said...

I am glad there is an outlet to VENT. Our car of three fans, driving from San Jose also shared the horrific experience of inept planning!! 4 1/2 hours. Driving to Tahoe would have been faster. The promoters, ( who should have this down to a science) the City, the Coliseum, they all should be called to task over the lack of any foresight when it came to handling a large, and I might add, EXPECTED, crowd. I would also like to mention how pathetic the police, and highway patrol appeared...their plan, was obviously 'no plan' a
pathetic handling of the situation. Good Bye, Oakland, NEVER AGAIN!!!!

ij said...

yup, insane. took 4 hours from sunnyvale. we paid $825 for 3 tickets and $40 for overflow parking lot. nightmare. 2 of us saw maybe an hour and a half of the show, the other only saw an hour when he arrived at 10:45pm. Sucks. No one directing traffic or anything. Still like U2 though. Venue and lack of organization, yeah not so much.

John said...

I bought the tickets when I was still living in SF. I have since moved to LA, but kept the tickets after the rescheduling drove up. The drive is about 5 hours. I got a hotel the night before and after in Redwood City the, a short drive across the San Mateo Bridge. My girlfriend and I left the hotel at 5:30 with sushi and drinks with the plan to do some light tailgating before catching some of Lenny's set.

4 hours later, with still no sign of an open parking lot, the sushi long gone, the echoes of the concert taunting us having already started...we flipped a u-turn and the bird to the new O.co Coliseum. We pulled out of the cluster at 10pm after sitting in traffic for over 4 hours. It took 25 minutes to get back to the hotel. No joke. 25 minutes.

I had been looking forward to that concert for 2 years, and was robbed of the experience because the Oakland venue does not know how to handle an attendance of that size. I am beyond frustrated. What happened is flat out wrong. They knew how many people were coming, and their contingency plan for overflow parking is to redirect all traffic from the 880 exits and surrounding streets to the same mud hole lot down one road? What numb skull brainstormed that bottleneck.

We went back to the hotel and drank the two beers we had purchased. $250 for each Bud Light tall boy.

For how long I sat in traffic, I could have driven all the way back to LA.

It is flat out wrong.

Erin said...

Sums it up. I've had these tickets since 2009 and have wanted to see U2 play since I was 4 years old. Instead I spent 4 hours in traffic and going from lot to lot and street to street only to be told it was full. I left with my boyfriend with tears streaming down my face. This was the worst, most heartbreaking experience i've ever had with something I was looking forward to for so long. Sorry we all had to suffer this, but i'm glad I'm not alone. I hope we can at least get our money back...

Meredith said...

I know it is only more of the same but I NEED to vent. My excited group of 4 left Santa Cruz at 4:40 p.m. thrilled that the day had finally arrived (tickets were purchased in October of 2009). We made it into Oakland by 6:00 p.m. but then we hit the 66th Street exit. Fast forward to 9:38 p.m. when I begged my fiancĂ©e to duck out of the traffic line waiting to exit at Hegenberger due to what was quickly becoming a potty emergency (no shoulder to even cop a squat on!). We shot up to the High Street exit, observing the standstills at all Coliseum exits. After being turned away at three different gas stations we finally found a truck stop with facilities close enough to hear Bono crooning in the night air. We found a “back way” into the traffic line up but as we inched ahead we were told by multiple pedestrians (some in parking vests) that all the lots were full and we needed to turn around. Determined to stay the course as we listed to “All I want is you”, we were finally ushered into the Coliseum lot (NOT overflow) and asked to hand over the $40. When asked where we could lodge a complaint we were directed to a “guy in a chair”. We ran into the Coliseum as “Beautiful Day” was hitting its stride and had to eject the folks that had moved into our nice 7th row seats. I am grateful we got to see the hour or so we did but utterly heartbroken and more than a little pissed off. How could this have happened? I saw Sting and the Police here a few years back and it wasn’t nearly the disaster this was. What is a fan to do? We could have driven all the way to Anaheim to see them in the time it took to sit through this.

Anonymous said...

Left Redwood City at 6pm. Got to the 66th St exit lane around 9pm. Was in the exit lane for another 45 minutes. When I got to what looked like a parking lot entrance, I saw the sign that said "sorry lot is full". By this time it was 10pm and I was a mile or more away from the stadium still unable to find a place to park. People were abandoning cars and walking along the freeway. No traffic directors, no signs, no help for the thousands of vehicles left standed. Worst of all time. Turned around and got back to Mt View in 30 minutes.

Jane said...

While I would never, ever wish my experiences last night on any decent human being, I'm happy that I'm not the only one to be completely blown away by the grievous unpreparedness and disorganization of last night's concert.

Anticipating traffic and reconciled to missing Moonalice if absolutely necessary (no disservice to the band, but that's the peril of a weeknight concert), my friend and I left Belmont at 5:30pm. We arrived in the parking lot at 10pm, FOUR AND A HALF HOURS LATER, after U2 had already begun to perform. Would it have been so hard to send a bike cop or two out to the Coliseum Way onramp to try and keep the lanes in line and mitigate the utter chaos -- if for no other reason than the truly dangerous driving that was going on? Would it have killed Oakland to put some traffic officers at the intersections instead of allowing absolutely Stygian backups at every light?

Adding insult to injury was the veritable Thunderdome that was the parking lot *after* the show, wit parking attendants standing and watching confused, exhausted drivers try to figure out some way to escape the gridlock. Traffic like this HAS HAPPENED in other cities, on previous legs of the tour prior to the cancellation. It made NEWS. There are people whose jobs it is to make sure things like this don't happen, and they have had a year to do their research and prepare for this show.

The whole experience was ridiculous, frustrating and absolutely heartbreaking for people who paid a great deal of money and have waited over a YEAR for this experience. Somebody COMPLETELY screwed this up, and an apology needs to be issued at the *very* least.

Simon said...

Thank You for posting this! Good to know those other people out on the clusterfuck onramps from hell also were angry about this.

My wife and I left Santa Cruz at 5:45pm. With 880 packed all the way to Oakland, we got to the onramp to Oracle Arena at ~8:15. Lenny Kravitz hadn't started yet so we were hopeful to catch U2... 1.5 hours later, we had moved ~500ft and still could not see the actual entrance to the onramp. Having worked all day, knowing all the parking lots would be full, and fearing we would arrive only to see 10 minutes of U2 and then have to navigate back out through the gridlock, we left. To spite Oakland, we took the bay bridge home and had one moment of sanity as we crossed the bridge and made our sorry, sad way home. After two years waiting with the tickets, and our previous life spans waiting to see U2 perform live...this was up there with the worst few hours of our lives. We would never drive there again, but most likely we will just never go there again.

Anonymous said...

Empathy & compassion for all of you - this experience really sucks. Hope civil action goes somewhere but at least you have a place to vent. I had a stroke of insight midday and checked $40 parking prices & BART and really glad now I went with my gut. Left my home in SJ at 6:30, got to Fremont BART at 7:15, to Colisum stop by 7:45, to seats by 8:00, back on BART at 11:15 with no lines, and home by 12:00 - all after an 18 month wait. It was a great concert!

Anonymous said...

Ditto. Left Palo Alto at 6:00 straight up, got to our seats at 9:30. Will never go to O.Co again.

tonyvillador said...

Definitely a fiasco of the utmost extreme!!! Traffic both north and south was horrible. There were cars driving in reverse to get out of the on ramp, cars turning around on the off ramp and driving in the wrong direction, cars driving over the median, we were lucky it wasn't really hot outside as people were raging in their cars and and there could have been serious rioting!!! People were jockeying for positions and I'm surprised there weren't more accidents or even fights amongst drivers breaking out. We left at 5 straight up from San Jose and hit the closed Coliseum parking gates at 10:00pm. We were told we would have to find street parking after our already 5hour journey of hell at that point! I saw one Highway patrol officer in that entire time and he was only directing people back into the merge lane on Hegenberger...bottom line...if you sell tickets, you must be able to accommodate the number of people and vehicles...that's a ticket buyer's expectation. We left early, and even if we had left around 3pm from San Jose, it wouldn't have made a difference!!! All I can say at this point, is that it's good we a sense of humor and nobody got hurt!!! I do wish the promoters or venue would at least acknowledge the fact that the traffic was totally messed up!!

Melinda G said...

Last night was such a joke. Like many listed before, we headed from Emeryville at about 7:25, expecting a little bit of traffic, but not much. Ha ha yeah right. What was Oakland thinking? I mean seriously. It was a circus. We ended up getting into the Arena during a "Beautiful Day" like someone else said. Ironic much? When we were pulling into the overflow lot, my sisters and I were debating if they would charge to park since it was 10:15 and the show was almost over, and boy did they. When we saw they were charging $40.00 it was seriously a WTF moment. Talk about adding insult to injury.

I am so disappointed in the whole situation. One lady asked a cop on the corner why they weren't doing something to help, to his reply of "Well you should have gotten here two hours ago!" It's like uhh dude, we were in traffic two hours ago. I'm so sorry for everyone that missed most of the show. We bought our tickets when they first came out (what 2 years ago) and was so disappointed. I'm really surprised no one broke their neck walking thru the overflow parking lot. More then anything, I was shocked the line to get in went so quick. Walking over I was thinking it was going to be another mess but we walked right in. Plus getting back to the Over Flow lot was pure madness. I can't count how many times we almost got hit by a car.

The 45 minutes of U2 we saw was amazing.

But seriously FU Oakland Coliseum. Never again. I really hope U2 hears about this and maybe makes up the concert (SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!!!!).

tonyvillador said...

wanted to leave my new favorite word to describe this:

friggindiculousness!!!

Anonymous said...

We live in Watsonville and left with plenty of time after making my kid leave a championship little league game after two innings. It was to be the first concert for my two sons. Spent 500 bucks two years ago. Husband and I are teachers, so this is a big deal. I grew up in the Bay Area and know the traffic but did not feel comfortable with BART and two kids and the crush that I know happens. I also was worried that BART would end at midnight. Beyond the fact that I have to drive home to Watsonville. Same traffic hell that everyone else has described. Almost went past Hegenberger and am glad I did not. Not one cop, not one security guard, not one traffic control person, no one giving us any information. Finally get to the lots ad see two parking lot guys leaning against the fence and I have to yell out the window to get information about why they were not letting anyone in. VIP passes only I am told. WTF!!!!!! Then they tell use to go on to the next lot. Sit in traffic for awhile not moving because there are a bunch of limos parked on the road and NO ONE IS DIRECTING TRAFFIC. Meanwhile I am calculating how many essays I have had to grade to pay $500 to sit in traffic. By this time, I am crying, swearing, so very sad. So we drive on. My husband wants me to take our kids and run for the concert, but I am worried we will never get connected again, which is exactly what seemed to happen to some of the people I saw who were stranded last night after the concert. Finally get into the lot, which must have been VIP because it was super close to the venue. They are still taking money even though the concert has already been going on for an hour. I ask the guy, why are you still taking money and he either takes pity on my kids or is worried this crazy forty something mom is going to go postal, so he lets me in for free. We get to the show but have to argue for our seats because someone else is sitting in them. We see about half the show. I do not get to hear Elevation, or I Will Follow or Until the End of the World. Only consolation, my eight year old guitar playing son gets to hear Vertigo and I get to see his face as he watches the Edge.

On another note on how Live NAtion totally screws people? The last concert I went to was Swell Season at Mountain Winery where my husband and I had the great horror of watching a man commit suicide by jumping off a three story building in front of us(not enough security) . I am still f'ed up over that experience and Live Nation did absolutely nothing to help people or return money or even discuss it. So yeah, sign me up for a class action. Someone needs to explain why all the "fees" we pay when buying tickets do not actually have anything to do with providing the support services that are actually needed to run something like this.

Anonymous said...

Take BART - morons! Quit yer whining!

It was a pleasant experience getting in and out, just had to leave a bit early because it closed by midnight

Corinn said...

Two years, two hundred dollars, and 4.5 hours of the most exasperating "no-way-this-is-actually-happening" traffic...just trying to get to the one concert on our bucket list!! Shame on you Live Nation - inexcusable, unforgivable and will NOT be forgotten! Oakland PD...REALLY?? You guys looked like complete imbiciles standing around chatting it up with each other as thousands of us were trapped in undirected traffic to non-existent overflow parking! The quote from the jack-leg cop suggesting we all should have left earlier...REALLY?? 4.5 hours from Los Gatos - half of that sitting idle on the offramp and you can find ANY ACCOUNTABILITY?? I'll never be back to your fine city Oakland! Thanks for the memories!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea re: everyone taking BART. Because besides having to leave the concert early, I'm sure that BART could've easily handled an additional 40,000 people, right? Riiiiiiiiiiight.

Tanya said...

Once I saw how much traffic there was I just stuck to the side streets, parked at Fruitvale BART and had a gay old time. I know it must be horribly frustrating, but I'm not sure there is anyone else to blame, folks. Oakland and the Coliseum are home to major league sports events and concerts hundreds of times per year. Maybe they are not the ones at fault, eh?

Corinn said...

UPDATE: I just posted the comments to date on U2's website. Click on the 'HELP' tab to get to the 'contact us' function. http://www.u2.com

Anonymous said...

Left Hollister at 4:45, plenty of time to get to Oakland, right? I have been to plenty of concerts there before. WRONG! 5 hours later, we finally reach the gate only to be told the parking was full. Would have been at least another hour to get to the overflow lot, plus $40.00 (I'm told). Turned around and came home. I am soooo disappointed! I have had my tickets for over a year...

Anonymous said...

Tanya,

I'm afraid the organizations you mentioned are the ones at fault. They signed up to host an event with 60,000 paying guests, therefore they should have been able to facilitate those guests.

I can vouch for being those people who left in adequate time (3 hours ahead of my desired arrival time for a journey that is usually 30 minutes), so I'm afraid the concert-goers cannot be implicated in this amateur-hour fiasco.

Zero traffic direction by police and\or "Parking" attendants....especially, and bizarrely, at traffic lights where there was no traffic in the counter direction. Zero advise or information put out through freeway signs and\or local radio stations.

The list of ineptitude's and culpabilities is long, but if needed I can dictate them later.

PS. $40 for parking in a swamp, when the concert is 50% complete? Really? At that point the organizers should have displayed common sense and parked people for free just to get them off the road.

Anonymous said...

How can you blame fans who bought tickets and expected to be able to drive to attend the concert? Since "Oakland and the Coliseum are home to major league sports events and concerts hundreds of times per year" where presumably similar quantity of fans are in attendance this wouldn't be an unreasonable expectation, correct?

Mary Frances said...

'Thanks for the memories' is right, Oakland. What a crappy experience to remember my last concert of my favorite band. I'll never go to anything at that venue again. Seriously, I thought they were joking when they wanted $40 to park in shitsville. The mud is still encrusted on my boots... looks like that's all I came away from this event with. What a waste.

Anonymous said...

We took BART to the concert. Left at the end of the show at 11:45. Saw the crush of people at the BART bridge overcrossing and again at the pay gates. Took us 35 minutes to get over the bridge and thought "Oh no! No way we'll make the last train at 12:20am." But to our surprise, when we got on the platform at 12:30am, there were extra BART cars lined up going to either Pittsbugh/Baypoint or SF/Daly City. We even saw extra cars lined up in the other direction heading down to Fremont and Dublin/Pleasanton. Someone at BART was smart enough to bag the idea of having it's last train at 12:20. Granted, the bridge is outdated and there has to be a better way to get to the platform, but at least BART is the way to go to get to the next big concert at O.Co That or have 40,000 stranded people rioting. That wouldn't be a pretty sight. From my point of view, kudos to BART.

Anonymous said...

Biggest Cluster-F of ALL time...left San Mateo at 7pm, figured, at WORST, I'm in my seats by 8:30-8:45...WRONG. Got totally screwed by the 66th Ave exit, to the point where our best bet was do drive 10 miles north to the West Oakland BART station...fianlly arrived at my seats at 10:05...that's 3 hours from 20 miles away...screw you, Oakland Coliseum, YOU SUCK!

Anonymous said...

Not everyone can leave work earlier. Not everyone can get to BART; some folks came from very far away and did not know how to find a BART station are simply could not get there once the traffic hell began. I will bet many folks were desperately trying to use iphones to find alternatives but there just was no information. I find it impossible to believe that in the Bay Area no one at the arena thought, gee maybe we should post some information for those poor bastards trapped in traffic with useless, expensive tickets. The real issue is that there was NO TRAFFIC CONTROL whatsoever, and yes, that is absolutely the fault of the venue and the promoters. Just thank god there wasn't a real emergency.

Anonymous said...

If you don't want to hear our "whining" then why read the blog? No one is forcing you.
These comments are just hurtful and contrary to the spirit U2 tries to engender. Of course the BART was an alternative for SOME people but we should have been able to resonably expect to park in a somewhat timely manner. As someone who planned well and left 4 hours ahead of time with a 50 minute drive I don't think my expectations were unreasonable. Hope you enjoyed the concert. Jerk.

Mary Frances said...

U2 weren't kidding when they sang "Get On Your Boots". You're going to need your boots to make your way through the muddy parking lot, searching for your car after walking the .75 miles from the partial show you just saw at the O.com (dumb name) Coliseum.

Anonymous said...

I feel for the fans that got stuck in their cars. It sounds like a nightmare and a perfect storm of gridlocked traffic. They should coordinate with BART to have later trains for events like this. I know everyone is upset but make sure you do your homework beforehand on alternative plans/routes. This stuff happens sometimes and you gotta make your lemonade...

Liz said...

This was horrible. Left Emeryville area at 7. Figured that was 2 hours before U2 went on stage. what a joke.. parking lots full, no one directing traffic into the 40.00 overfill lot, no safe place to walk to/from the concert to get to the overfill lots. the 40 minutes i saw of U-2 was amazing, but the rest of the experience sucked. No more Oakland for concerts for me.

Anonymous said...

sorry guys, I hate to be the devils advocate. I totally feel your pain. However, your should have planned ahead of time. I left work a bit early to catch the show and took BART from the Fremont Station.
At the end of the concert, I left a minute before the concert officially ended to avoid the midnight BART shut down, but BART extended the hours and sent more trains back and forth past midnight. Just plan ahead next time for the Biggest concert in the Bay.

Anonymous said...

I will spare you the details of my story. It has already been recounted by numerous other concert goers. Check out this story from Oct, 2009 of the U2 concert in North Carolina. Same exact situation. Whose job is it to figure out a solution and make sure this does not happen again? Unbelievable!

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/6142730/

joedotbrown said...

I'm so sorry for those who couldn't get there in time or didn't get there at all. My grievance has to do with BART announcing that they run the last train at 12:20am. We had to leave the concert at 11:15 to make sure we could get on a train to Fremont (babysitter waiting, and what if we missed the train at 12:30am?). So we missed the last four or five songs - the emotional ending to a well-produced show. I'll be fine, but what a disaster for so many. I also think LK and U2 came on way too late - later than necessary. Sure came across insensitive to us and meant that we couldn't see the whole thing after a year of waiting.

Katie said...

Whoever suggested that this was the fault of ticket holders who either didn't leave early enough or who failed to take public transit, you are sorely mistaken. Though this venue hosts sporting events, I'd love to know the last time you bought a "field" ticket for a football game. This is what caused the parking shortage. Stadiums are built to accommodate parking for the number of seats they have and most don't take into account extra parking for U2 concerts where greed dictates the sale of an extra 20 - 30,000 field tickets. I left Palo Alto at 5pm. After sitting outside of the parking lot in front of the coliseum for 2 hours, we headed for the bay bridge and 280 at 9:30 pm without hearing a note of music or any directions from the cops or parking attendants. Bring on the class action lawsuit - when you sell tickets you can't accommodate, that's fraud!

Anonymous said...

To everyone who wants to play "devil's advocate" - don't you think things like alternative routes and BART didn't occur to these poor people stuck in traffic? Why rub salt in the wound and chastise them while lording your superior experience over them?

Anonymous said...

Expected some regular commute traffic from Santa Clara and left at 5.30, expecting to show up close to 7...no chance. I didn't get to the Coliseum exits until around 8.30, and after waiting in completely stopped traffic, I ended up going several exits ahead to wander around the sketchiest parts of Oakland's industrial district for parking, eventually settling for some street parking between massive shipping trucks. I managed to get into the stadium via the BART station bridge just in time to sit down in the middle of "Even Better Than The Real Thing," thankfully. The exit was just as bad on foot, with a massive crowd gathered around the BART bridge. It took another 40 minutes to get through. Thankfully my car was in one piece, but I never want to repeat the experience.

Anonymous said...

Re: "However, your should have planned ahead of time." Some might call allowing 3 hours for a trip that normally takes 30 minutes "planning ahead of time".

Re: "Just plan ahead next time for the Biggest concert in the Bay." This sounds like great advice FOR THE ORGANIZERS AND CITY WHO PUT ON THE SHOW. If you were invited to a dinner party, RSVP'd, showed up and then they didn't have any food for you, would you think "gee, guess I should've planned ahead and packed along my own dinner"? I'm very happy for the people who had a good experience with BART but if *everyone* had taken BART that would've been a whole other set of nightmares (train capacity, parking capacity at the stations, etc.) As others have said, this is a venue that regularly puts on high capacity events so they should be prepared for the traffic it generates. They weren't. Blaming the concert goers is really giving the people who failed miserably at their jobs (the concert organizers, the Coliseum personnel and the traffic cops) an entirely unearned free pass.

Anonymous said...

What is really frightening is the enormously hazardous conditions propegated by corporate greed and poor planning. It truly is a miracle that no one was seriously injured as motorists left their vehicles, backed up on-ramps, drove on shoulders, etc. To my mind the very real potential for loss of life and/or injury makes this a serious issue for the city of Oakland.

fkinyua said...

I hate people who blame circumstances instead of taking responsibility for their own screw ups. You knew that this was going to be a packed show.It was only all over the radio stations with 69K tickets sold? Why notleave home earlier that 45 minutes before the show begins? 880 is always a nightmare on regular days? You could have also taken 680 to 580 and taken 98th Avenue to the Coliseum.You my friend, did not plan well and that is your problem. You can blame the city, the gods of parking or whomever else makes you feel wronged but it was ALL you! I left San Jose at 5:30pm parked at Fremont Bart, I was at the Coliseum by 6:45pm enjoying a well deserved cocktail. Had you gone to 511.org or just frikin used google maps for traffic or...really just watched traffic news, you would not be here being a cry baby. Take responsibility for messing up your night. It was ALL your poor planning. Maybe this is a good lesson for next time or not... you will find someone or something else to blame.

Anonymous said...

wow fkin...you really do express yourself well. and you so epitomize the spirit of the band. if you did not see what was actually happening, however, your views may be based on assumptions....just saying....

Anonymous said...

We had issues as well. (Us, too, bought our tickets in 2009 as a "babymoon" type gift as my first child was due in August. However, back surgeries aren't to blame here.) ...

We left San Jose at 5:15, sat through tons of 880 traffic (to be expected since 880 sucks a$$) and got off 1 exit early at 96th since my husband was trying to find a way around. We saw all the expensive tiny dirt lots in our twist around the venue, but drove to the official coliseum parking on the other side only to be turned away due to all lots being full. We went back around, and parked in a $40 dirt lot underneath an overpass where transients occupied. Once we finally got to the entrance (as Kravitz was playing), we made our way to the folks scanning tickets only to find that 1 of 4 scanners were working. Unfortunately, we were finding this out as they were, so the only direction was, "My scanner isn't working, go to that guy." Grrr ... Complete mahem and lack of preparedness.

We decided to stay for the entire concert, and was pleased with their performance. It's not U2's fault. It's really too bad that the city did not plan, prepare, act, for all of the people coming to this venue. I, too, will never see anything here again. 880? Oakland? The Coliseum? No thanks.

Simon said...

I think its hilarious someone would blame others for "Not planning ahead". Probably the police officer in charge of traffic coordination. lol. In my case, I was at the onramp 2 *hours* before I needed to be at the show. The *onramp*. I should have planned ahead and allowed 5 hours on the onramp?

Oh well, people just like to rant.

I wish I had taken BART, no doubt. We thought about it. But we just thought we would give plenty of extra time to drive. If you saw the situation, even at 9:45 when we gave up, you would see the problem was not "Planning Ahead". It was total gridlock.

Anonymous said...

fkinyua, funny, I don't like people who are supplicating apologists for the horrible planning of those in charge of an event. I'm sure if there had been a fire at the stadium and a bunch of people had died in a stampede due to a lack of fire exits you would've still found a way to blame the victims. It's people like you who allow those in charge of an event off the hook when they don't support the product they sell.

If you think that allowing 3 hours for a normally 30 minute journey is a "screw up" or "not planning well" I think you might need a course in remedial math.

ZeroIndulgence said...

Dude...that sucks. I ran into a situation like this, somewhat, once. I was driving to Oakland for an A's game, coming all the way from Davis. It was a Saturday, and they were playing the Yankees, and the A's were actually decent at the time...so it was a full house (yeah, go figure). Anyways, the parking lot was full, we got sent to overflow parking...and despite leaving early enough to make it to the game an hour early, we didn't get to our seats until the 6th inning. Ridiculous. When the Colliseum runs out of parking, Oakland has no idea how to handle it, and it becomes a huge clusterfuck.

In my situation, at least, I got to see some of the game, and the A's won on a walk off 3 run homer in the 9th, so that was a nice surprise. But Oakland is a hellhole of a place to get in and out of.

I tend to take BART when I can. Its just much, much easier than dealing with the O's parking.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people seem to have lost sight of the basic fact here - Ticketmaster, Livenation, the Coliseum, whoever sold more tickets than they could provide services for. Not matter how prepare ticketholders were SOMEONE was going to get screwed whether they left home 4 hours before showtime or 5 minutes. People paid lots of money for these tickets and should have been able to expect to be accomodated. Stop blaming the people who were stuck on the offramp for hours - they left home in plenty of time. The only poor planning here was on the part of the Coliseum and the city of Oakland.

Gregory said...

as much as i hate to admit it, there's really no one to blame for missing the concert but ourselves. i should have heeded my hunch to take a half-day off and head out much earlier but i didn't. it's a sold-out concert plus the 360 stage layout allowed for a few thousand more seats than your regular concert...gates opening 645am??? what can one realistically expect of the traffic and parking spaces? for me, i wanted my wife to come along too so i accomodated her schedule and suggestion of skipping the 'insignificant opening act'... i think i have learnt my lesson well this time... i am going solo next time on my own schedule!

Maktremor said...

Hey Dustin, This comment doesn't do you or anybody else any good, but I was in the same boat as everybody else yesterday around 7:10pm. I had just passed the San Mateo bridge on 880N and traffic was at a crawl. My wife turned to me and said, "Should we continue on the freeway?" I was amazed at the traffic on the freeway. I mean, I've been to the coliseum when the Raiders have played and there's been a concert going on next door.

This is were my experience as a Raider fan helped for once. I got off on the 1st exit and took the backstreets (Washington Blvd) into the coliseum. I parked on the outside and paid $20. I got in just in time to see Lenny Kravitz play.

Anonymous said...

We left East San Jose at 5:30, took the 66th ave exit and were parked by 6:35. Inside buying beer & garlic fries when Moonalice started their set at 7:00

Anonymous said...

I disagree with people saying it isn't anyone's fault but their for arriving late. IT TOTALLY WAS LACK OF RESPECT AND PLANNING FROM OAKLAND OVERSTOCK STADIUM.

We left San Jose at 5:00. That is very reasonable to leave to drive to Oakland. But the traffic was so packed and slow we wondered if there was a big wreck. Amazed how the traffic was totally because of the concert and the the back up getting off the exits and then the crawl into the streets leading to parking lots.

We got there after crawling at almost a stand still - for miles and miles and we saw no police directing the congestion. We saw no Oakland stadium employees helping people know where to go. It felt like a free for all with merging and trying to get to the lots.

When we finally got to the lot, they told us it was sold out and should try parking on the streets around the stadium. We could hear U2 starting the show at this point. We drove all around the very shabby and dangerous looking areas around the stadium trying to find a spot.

Eventually after multiple drives around, we found a spot in front of a residential home a couple blocks away. A man came out from the home to warn us how "we better watch our backs" around this neighborhood. And how cars are broken into all the time here. We finally made it to the show half-way through.

Missed half of U2... not because we didn't leave at a reasonable time. But because there was inadequate traffic police, they should have fore-thought parking for a sold out show or arranged for the many U2 busses and vehicles which took many spots to park at another location. I don't know. But not only was the lack of signage, people directing traffic etc. bad - but it felt like the police were not caring. They looked bored and not helpful that we did see near the actual parking lot itself that was sold out.

The upon leaving we had to walk the BART bridge over to get the neighborhood which we parked. There had to be 2,000 people jammed and packed trying to get into the small walkway bridge that went to BART. It was so packed and it could have easily gone into a very dangerous situation if there was any sense of panic or if someone needed to get out of that crowd. It was another 45 minutes just waiting in a packed crowd to get into the BART bridge walkway. AND NOT A SINGLE POLICEMAN OR SINGLE OAKLAND OVERSTOCK STADIUM EMPLOYEE TO HELP GUIDE TRAFFIC. It was another free for all and thank God people were respectful. What if it was not a U2 show and the crowd more angst filled or not mature? People could have been seriously injured if anything got out of hand in that massive packed crowd jammed together.

I wish I could could get half my ticket price back for missing half the show. It was the most ridiculous and uncool thing with concert planning I have ever seen or experienced. AND THEY HAD WARNING! The knew how many tickets were sold. Why didn't they plan ahead for extra traffic, extra parking needed, extra people taking BART etc..... it felt like they planned for a 1/3 attended A's game rather than a sold out U2 concert. Shame on those who were responsible for mishandling this whole thing and making for many, what was supposed to be a great night - a night of frustration, missing half a show or more, and even could have been dangerous.

Anonymous said...

SIGNS, SIGNS, SIGNS... They needed signs directing people to available parking lots, which lots were handicapped only, where the overflow lot(s) were, etc. For those of us not from the Bay area, and there were many of us, comments like "just take BART, just take these other 6 freeways" are not helpful. Plenty of advanced planning was done, including lining up an alternate route or two just in case, and we still barely made it. Our friends met us 30 minutes into the concert. When we got into the stadium, the crush of people in the hallways was insane - no directions inside either from the workers. Poor planning from the coliseum and made a much-anticipated night incredibly stressful.

Anonymous said...

We left San Mateo at 6:45 and made it off the Hegenberger exit at 10:15, only to turn around as the limo driver next to us said she was on her way to line up for the pick-ups! we decided after 3+ hours in the car we might as well get home without having to deal with the traffic leaving the coliseum too. It was a truly disappointing night. I'd be willing to sign a class action suit too!

Anonymous said...

It's been about 24 hours since we fought our way into the U2 show last night. Still pissed. I've got to say that I'm COMPLETELY JEALOUS OF THE GUY FROM POLAND WHO JUST HAD TO FLY 20 HOURS FROM POLAND TO SEE THE SHOW. Easy peasy, lemon squeazy Vorchak.

Bummed said...

I totally agree that they needed SIGNS and ATTENDANTS working the traffic off Hegenberger exit. We inched along the exit and around the ensuing parking mess for over an hour without any guidance from the venue. We missed half the concert just idling near the filled up parking lots (KFOG at one point said U2 hadn't started yet while we were in the jammed up exit). At one point, there weren't even any clear lanes anymore -- there were about 4 rows of cars trying to squeeze into narrow lines to maneuver around the limos that were randomly parked in the middle of the road. Nobody knew where the hell they were going and there were no parking attendants or signs to help out. While we can't blame the organizers for the freeway traffic, we can blame them for not providing signage and people to guide the traffic off the exit and around the parking lots. I'm used to Shoreline where, even if you have to park far out, at least it's organized with well labeled signs to follow and you know you're going to get a spot *somewhere* so that you can actually see the concert you paid for. Shoreline has many parking attendants there pointing you to the exact space you pull into and it feels safe. Oakland needs to get its act together. For the amount they charged for tickets, fees, and parking, they should be able to afford a better effort to organize the parking situation. Or maybe they should print a warning on the tickets they sell, "You may not actually get to see this event because we don't have enough room for everyone. Good luck." Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Ron Little, general manager for SMG, the venue management company that runs the coliseum should be FIRED. Check out his completely useless comments here:

http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/localnews/ci_18233314?source=rss

Way to find solutions, Ron. Bravo.

Wendi said...

I am honestly shocked no one got hurt during this debacle. People were so flustered, so tired, so frustrated, that is is amazing there was not road rage, any pedestrians hit, etc. etc. This could have ended disasterously in so many bigger ways then how I was impacted by missing half of U2. There is NO reason that this should have occurred. If there had been traffic directors, signs, information on the arena phone line or website...well then I would say we were all to blame. But half the traffic problems were due to attendents waving people into lots, changing their mind halfway, making them backout, etc. Deplorable. Thankfully no one was physically injured, but next time Oakland Coliseum, you may not be so lucky. Rather than have a massive lawsuit when someone gets hurt maybe it is time you figure out how to plan overflow parking and how to split up traffic to various lots. It isn't that hard, folks. And since it didn't take me four hours to get home, yet everyone was leaving at the same time, I would say 90% of the problem was not the mass traffic on 880 but what happened once you got off of 880. Shame on the organizers and managers of this event.

Eddie Appell said...

My nightmare concert experience

Jen said...

I'm sorry so many people had problems getting to the show. I was also stuck in traffic for over two hours, but I left early enough that I made it in time to see all 3 of the acts. Anyone who lives in the Bay Area should know that traffic is bad, especially during rush hour, and it's even worse when there's a big show like that. I agree that the city and the promoters should have done a lot more to handle the incredible influx of traffic, but lots and lots of people planned ahead and allowed themselves enough time to get there. People need to take some of the responsibility themselves...

Anonymous said...

Jen, you're not reading the comments very carefully. People DID plan ahead. You were in traffic for 2 hours. That's as expected; and that's what most people anticipated. Since you got there for the first act, you were able to take one of the early parking spaces and didn't run into the congestion resulting from the venue running out of spaces and poorly managing the traffic in the streets surrounding the coliseum. People who were planning to be there after the opening act, but before u2 came on, were in traffic for 4 and 5 hours because the situation directly around the coliseum streets and parking became more and more congested and chaotic over the course of the evening. The problem was there was no system in place to accommodate the cars and there was NO ONE IN CHARGE. People weren't waiting two hours on the highway. They were waiting two hours on the OFF RAMP and in the streets around the coliseum. As Wendi said, "90% of the problem was not the mass traffic on 880 but what happened once you got off of 880."

All the people who are gloating about taking Bart or getting there before the first act -- you would have been screwed if everyone had planned on getting there for the first act and everyone took Bart. There simply wasn't an adequate system in place to get people to where they needed to go to park.

Anonymous said...

Some things are starting to become clear to me. Folks who had to drive in from far away, no matter how early they might have left, got screwed. People who left my area (Santa Cruz) BEFORE I did had to turn around without ever getting into the concert. I got in, after U2 had been playing for 30 minutes only because of sheer luck. My car happened to be in the right place when someone finally thought that it would be a good idea to open up the empty VIP parking to the poor bastards stuck in traffic. The randomness of the whole nightmare is what is pissing me off at this point. I am glad I got in, but I feel terrible that folks who were there before me did not get in or if they did had to pay $40 for a dirt lot and a dangerous hike.

Oh, and on planning ahead. Not everyone can take the day off work and rent a hotel room or take a limo or get to a BART station.

Anonymous said...

call 511 and ask for directions next time, for you dummies who were stuck in traffic. That's ALWAYS plan B. You tell the person who answers the phone and they'll direct you to the nearest public transportation venue. For those of you who missed the concert, too bad. No refunds should be given. You're wasting your time.

Anonymous said...

When concert organizers sell a ticket, they have an obligation to the ticket holder that goes beyond just making sure that the band listed on the ticket shows up. They have to make sure that there are enough fire exits, emergency medical personnel, security, etc. Included in those responsibilities is ensuring that reasonable logistical planning is done to make sure crowds and traffic are managed. Doing nothing, which appeared to be the case on Tuesday, is not "reasonable". Let's say you make reservations for dinner on New Years Eve and are going out for a show afterwards. You make the reservations for 5 PM, knowing it's a busy night for most restaurants, and figure that you will have no problem making your show at 9 PM. You show up to the restaurant and are seated. You place your order and then wait...and wait...and wait. For THREE HOURS. Your server says "Hey, it's a busy night. You knew it would be busy.". Your dinner finally comes at 8 PM but by then you have to decide between skipping dinner or your show. You get up to leave. You complain to the restaurant manager but he says "Well, it's kind of your own fault, you know how many people go out to dinner on New Years Eve. By the way, we gave you the food and even if you couldn't eat it, pay up." Would you walk away blaming yourself for having the audacity to actually show up for your reservation? Would you hang your head in shame because, really, you should've planned ahead more and gone to dinner at 3 PM? Or would you be angry that the restaurant willingly took your reservation and failed to appropriately plan for the appropriate capacity to handle the reservations that they gladly accepted?

The "blame ourselves" crowd must live a life of constant self-abuse and apologizing for having any expectations whatsoever when they purchase a product or service.

Meredith said...

I emailed both Ticketmaster and the Coliseum yesterday. Ticketmaster replied quickly and said they were researching the problem and would contact me again soon. The Coliseum sent me this email today:

I sincerely apologize for your experience on 6-7-11. Our parking lots opened at 7am and by 6:30 pm our lots were full and we began to shut down the lots for those who did not have parking passes. Once our lots close then all traffic is under the control of the Oakland Police Dept. and they direct guests to the various private lots around the stadium. From 5 pm to 7 pm Interstate 880 is under full commute which is gridlock traffic under normal circumstances. So with regards to us explaining why you were in traffic for so long, unfortunately you arrived to the show in the height of rush hour traffic intermixed with 60,000 additional people attending the show. I know this doesn’t change your experience in any way but I hope it at least provides you with an explanation.



Doug Young
Parking Manager
SMG/OCJV
dyoung@coliseum.com
510.383.4804

Anonymous said...

Re: calling 511 for directions to the nearest public transportation. I don't know if you've ever been stuck in traffic before, but the problem with being stuck in traffic is that, well, you are stuck. That is, not moving. When you aren't moving it presents a challenge in getting to a place where you can take public transportation.

And you are thinking that the thousands who are stuck in traffic trying to get off at the same off-ramp can conveniently re-route to the nearest public transportation stop? How preciously naive.

Anonymous said...

Hello Everyone,

I, like most of you, sat in traffic for 6 hours. I was the driver for a group of people. A couple of the people in my car got out and walked to the venue while I stayed gridlocked in traffic on the freeway. 5 hours later I finally reached the parking lots only to find out they were full. I contacted Ticketmaster both by email and by phone. On email after several frustrating generic responses they said "Thanks for reaching out to us and asking about getting a refund on order #XXXXXXX.
The promoter of the event hasn’t given us the authority to refund any tickets to U2 360 Tour.
We hope you can still go to the event, or maybe make a friend’s day by offering them your tickets!
If you need anything else, we’re always here for you – just hit reply and ask us or visit Ticketmaster.com.
Thanks for being a fan!"
Then I decided to contact Ticketmaster by phone.I have also called twice. I was hung up the first time while I was locating the credit card number that the tickets were purchased on. I called this morning for the second time and was told by the first person that I spoke on the phone with that "it is not our fault, it is the venue's" I then asked to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor told me that "i should have purchased insurance". After I asked the supervisor who I can speak with, I was hung up on.

Just wanted to give you the info on what I have experienced with Ticketmaster.

Anonymous said...

please don't waste your time, folks. You'll never see a refund on the tickets. harsh words, but the truth hurts.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the advice to use BART, I would completely agree if it weren't for BART stating the following on their web page regarding planning for travel to/from the concert: "The concert is scheduled to end at about 11:30 Tuesday night, which should give fans plenty of time to make the short walk from Oracle Arena to the BART station before midnight. Getting to the station before midnight will help ease crowding because BART will have special event trains ready to get passengers on their way minutes after the final encore. BART service is not scheduled to be extended beyond the normal hours." That last sentence is in bold.

http://www.bart.gov/news/articles/2011/news20110606.aspx

Anyone returning to the Peninsula would have to be on the last train by 12:06AM, according to the normal BART schedule. Had the concert actually ended at 11:30, based on the expectation of the crowd returning to the station, a considerable number of people would have been left behind. Driving to an event would normally be a reasonable solution when one foresees not being able to get home by public transit.

Of course, as we saw, Tuesday was not quite reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Well, I bought insurance offered through Ticketmaster when I got the U2 tickets. Does anyone know if it's possible to file a claim for being able to make it to the concert due to this horrendous traffic situation?? Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, I meant to say NOT being able to make it.

Anonymous said...

Companies who are hosts are the responsible party- all of us whom purchased tickets made work arrangements, child care arrangements, ferret babysitting arrangements - WHATEVER- deserved to be able to park a vehicle to attend the event they paid for- these people who did not follow thru on their obligation to ensure this must b held accountable- it's that simple. This must be corrected by the City, Livenation etc., fight for your rights people- We must hold them accountable
Trish

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to see this discussion happening! My husband and I traveled from Chico leaving at 2:30 thinking we had plenty of time only stopping for 15 minutes to eat. We got into the show at the second song of Lenny Kravitz. It took us awhile to calm down. It took us two hrs to go less than 20 miles while a lot of single cars were using teh Diamond Lane ( that was under used). We were amazed at the lack of safety in the overflow parking situation. We have seen many concerts and were surprised at the lack response to U2. I feel bad for them and I hope someone has let them know that the lack of response was not so much related to them but to what all we had to go through.

Delance said...

Too bad that this show was so badly unorganized,but as usual,ppl blame ONLY the city when all parties involved need to share responsiblity.I know there are so many transplants,or young ppl who don't recall,but the Coliseum hosted "Day on the Green"'s for years with the same 50-60,000 fans. The biggest difference no one has mentioned is that a concert of this magnitude should have ONLY been scheduled on a Saturday or Sunday..Doesn't anyone here recall U2 playing the Coliseum in '87?Uhh,just me,huh? Well,that show was on a Saturday and didn't have the same traffic snarls as this latest show.I agree,OPD should have provided better guidance and traffic control,but city officials should have warned the promoter that this artery is already clogged M-F during the proposed travel time of most ticket holders. Which leads me to say that in years gone by, I would have skipped school/work to show up in the a.m. and party in the lot like 6-8 hours before the show,alas a U2 crowd is NOT doing that,hell even seeing the Stones no longer calls for that kind of all day revelry I used to indulge in. For all those who took the opportunity to once again bash Oakland,do you really think Candlestick would have been any better?Or AT&T?I didn't attend the McCartney concert held there,so I can't comment on the traffic situation,maybe someone who did can enlighten me,but if U2 had performed there,I wonder if the same scenario would have taken place

Anonymous said...

Bob

It really makes me wonder if the CHP,Alameda Sherrif's,and the Oakland Police perform their jobs in the same way they manage parking at the Oakland Coliseum.

How many overtime cops does it take to screw in a light bulb? NONE 'cuz they will all stand there and watch.

Waiting for hours to get into and out of the Coliseum while watching these lazy government employees makes you want to scream.