Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thank Yelp

Jackson, are you singing?
As I do every now and then, I checked the Internet to see if Jackson Browne, my favorite performer of all time (except for all the dead ones) would be heading my way anytime soon and struck gold. Yes, in fact, he is giving a concert right here in Portland this June! Visa card in hand, I was eager to buy tickets while I still could, but then I stopped and considered the venue: The Maine State Pier? What's that?

Turns out to be an actual pier, "a municipal-owned deep-water marine facility and music venue" right on the water in downtown Portland, where they put out bridge chairs and erect a stage and jam it full of people, many of whom pay to be in what is called the "General Admission Standing Area." Thinking that could be iffy -- a sudden rainstorm, annoying seagulls overhead, drunken throngs lined up at the porta-potties, passing trucks belching pollutants all but obliterating the quiet troubadour's angelic voice and soft guitar -- I needed more information before I plunked down hundreds of dollars for a potentially disastrous experience.

That's where Yelp comes in, the tell-it-like-it-really-is website with reviews written by real people with no agenda. And what I learned was that, according to numerous reports (certainly enough to convince me), attending a concert at the Maine State Pier is fraught with problems, including all of my imagined worries and then some.

Unlike so many of our politicians, Yelp delivers.

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