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Wilco Concert Reviews Great, Traffic Reviews Mixed

When Wilco played at Fifth Third Bank in Geneva, it was a bit of a concert breakthrough for the Tri-Cities. But reader comments indicate there is a small learning curve that comes with hosting such a big event.

When it was announced that to Kane County's on July 8, fans were appropriately excited.

This was the first big stadium-style concert at the park—at least as far as anyone I've talked to remembers—and Wilco is a group that a lot of people wanted to see.

The online reviews have been very good.

Kevin McKeough's review for the Chicago Tribune applauded the venue and the band.

Band leader Jeff Tweedy's "voice and guitar playing stood out from the beginning of the first song, Dawned on Me," McKeough wrote. "The outdoor venue may have contributed to the striking clarity of his singing, but so did the way Wilco reworked songs to put Tweedy in the forefront."

Joshua Mellin wrote on indieshuffle.com that "Wilco continues to add to their myth."

"Their headlining gig this past Sunday at Kane County Cougars Ballpark in Geneva, IL, was not only their largest ever, but featured fellow hometown hero Andrew Bird as well.

"That night, Wilco again proved why they’re the greatest American band," Mellin said.

Geneva Patch reader Mike Longo said in an e-mail that Wilco was "mind-blowing" at the Cougars' stadium and called it the "best concert I've seen in years."

"There were 20,000 people there, and it didn't seem crazy crowded. ... I suspect you'll see more of these open-air concerts in the future—especially for acts that can bridge generations, as this one seemed to do."

Longo said the $50 ticket price was well worth it and the "logistics for the event were pretty flawless, too—with security that was visible but not style-cramping and tons of concession workers and porta-potties for relatively short lines."

Another Patch reader passed along a comment from a friend that praised the concert but not the traffic jam that followed.

"He was very upset that there was no traffic help, and the roads were a complete nightmare!" the Patch reader said in an e-mail. "With the sale of over 12k, what were people thinking was going to happen? He said it took him 90 minutes to get from in-town Geneva to the parking lot."

Some YouTube videos from the concert are attached here.

Karen Schneider July 17, 2012 at 05:30 PM
We were able to get in (around 4 pm) and out (after the fireworks) with no problem - lucky timing, I guess!
Mike Donahue July 17, 2012 at 05:32 PM
As the county board rep/forest preserve commissioner for the stadium and surrounding area I am arranging a meeting with the event organizers to discuss the parking, traffic and access issues and to come up with ways to implement improvements for the next time. Overall, though, I have received very favorable feedback about the event. If anyone has any comments or suggestions, positive or negative, please comment and I will carry those issues forward.
John R July 17, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Mr. Donahue, Nice to see you contribute. :) I'd like to give a bit of feedback regarding the concert as my wife and I attended with a group of friends. I won't talk about the show as it was amazing. The facilities worked well and the event organizers did a wonderful job laying it out and controlling the event. Given it was a pretty tame group. Parking/Traffic.....Big problem. We live in what I call the Glengarry neighborhood just north of Fullers. Kirk Rd. is a major problem. There is no legal or safe way to to walk across kirk Rd or to cross the RR tracks. So we decided to drive. Big mistake as traffic was back up on Kirk all the way to Hill Rd. So we turned around and parked at our house and walked. Our neighborhood filled up with concert goers. It's not a long walk, about twenty minutes, but not real safe. The only reason we did it was because traffic was gridlocked and stopped in the right hand lane so it was ok. Had to walk kirk as there is no pedistrian crossing for the tracks. The walk back was a little different. Lot's of southbound traffic. But power in numbers so most the oncoming cars moved into the left hand lane. Bottom line is we need pedistrian access for the east side of Geneva. Especially, if this area is developed. Maybe a ped bridge or a ped/bike crossing at grade at old kirk rd. It's a shame not to be able to safely walk to games or concerts. We didn't mind the neighborhood parking but..... Thanks, John Rice
Rick Nagel (Editor) July 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Mike Longo also mentioned that the Wilco concert gave more credence to the notion of an open-air music venue at the former Settler's Hill Landfill site.
Noel G. Rooks July 18, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Great show, well put on by the ballpark. I do agree that traffic control should have been better. We arrived a little later, and nothbound on Kirk into the parking lot was a mess. There should have been police directing, like they do for Cougars games. And there was aome kind of issue with having enough people to give the parking money to. We parked near the Strikers, and walked forward to meet the parking lot attendant, who gave us our ticket. We then had to walk back to put our ticket in our car. Not a huge deal in the grand scheme, but I know I could hear the guys radioing around as to why there wasn't someone taking parking money at the south entrance. Again, though, great show, I hope they do it again.
Nate July 18, 2012 at 01:56 PM
John, I agree with you. Looking at the proposed plans there doesn't appear to be any safe walking/biking access from Geneva's east side to the KKC stadium or new settlers hill development. It's a shame that people who live so close can't walk to the game. Especially now that they have started charging for parking. As for the traffic what a mess. Since the the task force setup to develop plans for redevelopment of settlers hill is proposing an open air music venue the discussion Mr. Donahue is suggesting should have occurred BEFORE the concert. If this is the kind of traffic we can expect I'll pass on the music venue.
Cal July 18, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Wow, walking on the Kirk Rd bridge? Glad you made it home alive.
John R July 18, 2012 at 03:50 PM
After our experiance I would not recommend ever walking or riding a bike over the kirk Rd. bridge. As I mentioned due to the gridlock the walk over wasn't to bad but coming back it was dicey. I just remembered that one of our friends keep stepping in the drainage holes that are spaced about three feet apart on the bridge. But without driving the only option is the bridge. No way to get across the tracks safely unless you cross at old Kirk Rd. Then your treaspassing on railroad property because it is not a legal crossing. Which you would be doing if you crossed the tracks under the bridge or anywhere as far as that goes. Never treaspass on the RR right a way. If they develop this area some consideration needs to be given to the idea of putting up a ped/bike bridge or underpass so that the folks from the east side of Geneva and St. Charles as well as our neighbors in West Chicago can ride a bike to this promising recreational area. Glengarry, Hill Rd and Whitefield completely filled up with concert goers. My neighbor said he could not hear the music, so he cranked up the live stream on wxrt on his garage stereo, but he could hear the cheers of the crowd. Being East siders we are pretty layed back so I don't think we will be doing much complaining. We're used to the fireworks during home night games so the cheers during a concert pale in comparison. I say keep rocking but figure out traffic and parking. Great show and the venue worked. Rice
Mike Donahue July 19, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Thanks to all for your feedback. The first-hand accounts of your experiences with traffic and access are very useful to help convey the issues and to develop solutions. Yes, we should have been talking about a pedestrian link to the north from the future Settler's Hill Recreation Area, but until this concert it never occurred to us there was a need for one. We will start talking about it now, though.
John R July 20, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Thanks Mike if you would like any further input feel free to reach we are in the phone book. Thank you for taking such an interest in developing this area for the residence of Kane County. It has a lot of potential if done right. John Rice

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