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Concert Trip 07/18/18

For my birthday last month, Sue had bought tickets to see Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence in concert at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA on Wednesday 07/18/18.

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Because it's a little over a 2 hour drive, we got a room at the Comfort Inn not far from the Xfinity Center in Foxborough as we knew the concert would end late. And it did; it was after 11:00 pm by the time we even got to the car.

As we were packing for the trip Wednesday morning, Sue mentioned that she had never been to Marblehead, MA and thought it was fairly close. I had never been there either, but friends have always mentioned how beautiful it was.

I checked the map, and it looked like about an hour and quarter drive from Marblehead to the hotel. So, if we got going right away, there would be plenty of time for a quick visit, get to the hotel, have dinner, and get over to the concert by 7:00 pm. We put a press on and were out the door around 10:30.

It took about 2 hours to get to Lighthouse Point in the Chandler Hovey Park overlooking Marblehead Harbor. What a spectacular view that is! And it was just a perfect day to sit in the benches and watch two groups of small sailboats racing outside the harbor. The largest group consisted of 8 foot cat rigged prams, and the second group were 14 to 16 foot sloops.

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Sailboats racing off Marblehead Harbor

Here's a Yelp! review I wrote for Lighthouse Point in the Chandler Hovey Park, Marblehead, MA:

Though small, this is a lovely park out on a point overlooking parts of Marblehead Harbor and the bay itself. On the day we visited, there were 2 groups of small sailboats racing out in the bay. It was spectacular to just sit on the benches and watch all of the activity.

We drove down from the Lakes Region of NH just to visit here even though our real destination ended up being a grueling 3 hour drive through traffic over to Mansfield to see a concert at the Xfinity Center. But swinging through here was so worth the other grief that I'd do it again.

We were having such a good time that we stayed a little longer than we had planned, and didn't head out for the hotel until about 3:00 pm. I wasn't concerned as even if the drive took a couple of hours we'd be fine. We even stopped for about 20 minutes in Swampscott for frozen yogurt to hold us over until dinner. We sat in a bench overlooking the seawall that you see on The Weather Channel when they broadcast during storms, waves pluming 30 feet into the air after crashing into the wall.

But when we got to Route 93, traffic began to bog down. By the time we got to the tunnel, it was a parking lot. We must have averaged 5 miles an hour though the tunnel, and then maybe 10 for the next 40 minutes or so. And then it got a little better: 30 mph in a 55 mph zone because traffic going both ways just crawled.

Sue and I shook our heads and sighed, wondering how anyone could possibly put up with that as a commuter. Sure, you have to have a job, and the good jobs are in the city, but to spend hours and hours of your life in stressful bumper to bumper traffic day after day after year is just mind boggling...

The whole of our drive on 93 was slow going, with only the briefest of runs getting up to 55 mph. We didn't get to the hotel until just after 5:30 pm, over 2 and a half hours of just stupid traffic. Fortunately, there was a 99 Restaurant next to the hotel, so we had a short, but nice dinner, and were at our seats inside the Xfinity Center at 6:50 pm. Whew!

Here's a Yelp! review I wrote for the Comfort Inn in Foxboro, MA:

Great spot to stay. Clean, friendly staff, and good breakfast.

We selected this Comfort Inn for it's close proximity to the Xfinity Center and other good reviews. To our surprise, there's a 99 Restaurant right across the parking lot that we took advantage of so didn't have to drive somewhere else for dinner and then get to the concert. And, it's not only about a 7 minute drive from The Comfort Inn to the Xfinity Center, but it's a really direct and simple drive.

The facility is well kept, air conditioner wasn't too loud as many hotels are, bathroom and room in general were clean and presentable. I did think though at $200 it was just a little pricey.

Here's a Yelp! review I wrote for the Infinity Parking facility for the Xfinity Center:

The only reason I gave Infinity Parking a 4 star instead of 5 is that to get a 5 it's got to be covered parking. Other than that, and the fact that it's a bit of a hike to the Xfinity entrance, this is the spot I'd come to even if Xfinity had plenty of parking.

There's a good reason why everyone complains about getting out of the Xfinity parking lot: cars have to wait for 15,000 people to get to their cars; there's no attendants monitoring or regulating traffic. I'd never, ever park in the Xfinity lot.

The Infinity folks, however, have a much better system. Sure, if it's really crowded, it's going to take some time to get out. But it's not going to be anywhere near as bad as getting out of the Xfinity lot.

Pay these folks whatever they want - and they're very fair - and save yourself a stress attack.....

Oh, and be absolutely certain that you know EXACTLY how to get back to the lot from the Xfinity Center. It's sooooo easy to get confused, and once you do, you're just wandering aimlessly dodging Xfinity lot traffic. We thought we remembered how to get back, but it's a lot different coming out at night than it is following the crowd from the lot to the center.

But all of that grief was so worth it! What a show Lindsey Stirling put on, and then Evanescence (Amy Lee) just knocked it out of the park. What a great show! Unfortunately, the pictures we got aren't all that good because security doesn't allow regular cameras so everything had to be taken by our phones. And no matter even if we would have had really good cameras, the grandeur of it all would never have been able to be captured anyway.

Here's a Yelp! review I wrote for the Xfinity Center:

Okay, the place isn't perfect, but it's a great venue to attend despite any drawbacks. There seem to be a lot of complaints about security. Gee, if I was a performer, I'd sure want to know that no one in the audience had any sort of weapon on them and then was turned loose to have a few beers.

Even the ban on umbrellas makes sense: you could poke someone unintentionally or at the least block the next couple of rows back from you views. So, just deal with what they want you to do and have fun.

And not allowing purses? Sure, it's too easy to have some sort of spray tucked away in there that could be dangerous. If attendants had to spend 2 minutes going through each purse, no one would ever get into the place. Leave your purse in the car, bring some cash, and just have a good time.

Now, the parking is a whole other issue.... There's a good reason why everyone complains about getting out of the Xfinity parking lot: cars have to wait for 15,000 people to get to their cars; there's no attendants monitoring or regulating traffic. I'd never, ever park in the Xfinity lot.

Is stuff too expensive? Yup, it sure is. It's $14 a beer so you don't have 6 of them and ruin everyone else's good time by your stupid behavior, like some jack ass that sat a few rows away from us when we were there did because he kept coming back to his seat with yet another tall one....

And the food is expensive as well. If you're wanting dinner, have it before, or just grab a dog from one of the stands on the way in.

One complaint that I do have is that my wife and I felt that the sound for the Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence concert was way, way too loud. Music should be enjoyable to listen to such that you can understand the words being sung, not have them drowned out in the blast of high decibel output noise. Maybe if its a garage, or punk band it's cool to get your ears blown out and "feel" the beat slam into your chest. But noise for the sake of noise at $70 a seat is unnecessary for the sort of acts that don't rely on such distraction to the music itself.

As soon as we got back to the hotel around midnight, we were out; never work up until 7:00 am. We went downstairs and ate a nice breakfast before leaving at 9:00 am. But it was a long drive back home with traffic on 495 all the way to almost Chelmsford just crawling in places. It wasn't as bad as the day before on 93, but it was stop-and-go most of the way.

We swung by Bed 'n Biscuit in Alton and scooped Beau up before heading home. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, he got out of the car and just ripped around the yard. Man, was he all wound up! We were unpacked in about 10 minutes, and grateful to be home out of the traffic.

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From our seats inside the Xfinity Center before the start of the concert.

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Lindsey Stirling getting things rocking!

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Lindsey Stirling racing across the stage while still playing!

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Amy Lee of Evanescence stirs the crowd with her penetrating voice while playing the piano.

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Amy Lee at the mic

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A little better picture of Amy Lee at the mic.

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Evanescence in lights in the background.

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Amy Lee and Lindsey Stirling performing together.

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Another shot of Amy Lee and Lindsey Stirling performing together.

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