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Audible_nectar
Member
Username: Audible_nectar

Post Number: 66
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 12.217.110.64
Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 1:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well, I've returned from the "D", basking in the afterglow of my fourth Super Bowl host city week. Given my postings here prior to the game, I thought some might want to hear a more complete review and opinion from an experienced Super Bowl attendee and "outsider/visitor". So here goes.......

We "lucked out" a few weeks ahead of this trip and found a local family willing to rent us space in thier home - a mere 5 miles or less to the festivities. This simple fact elevated/improved this trip by leaps and bounds - the easy access from within the city made it easy to access the "party zone". With exception to some most unscrupulous parking operators (which I will detail later), this arrangement gave us better and quicker access than anyone using limos, taxis, or other forms of transport. NOTHING is better than doing it yourself.

One aspect that made this Super Bowl weekend so enjoyable was the close proximity of the Downtown events. Between the Winter Blast, NFL Experience, Kid Rock at the Joe, and the Bud Bowl festivities, everything was in a very tight area - we were even able to walk from Tiger Stadium to Downtown with no issues - in fact, it was a nice walk with the other revelers. Excellent layout......Roger Penske and the Host Committee get an A+ for thier work on this. I haven't seen a better downtown/central area Super Bowl "vibe" and layout since the Super Bowl in New Orleans four years ago - and in many ways, Detroit beat it. Given the climate, it was as good as could be imagined.

The people mover, however, is a bit of an enigma. I kept thinking that the PM really isn't that helpful when it's busy because you can't get on it, and when it isn't busy, you probably wouldn't need it anyway for most trips downtown. I was unable to access it most of the weekend - it seemed every time we wanted to board, it was a half hour to 45 minute wait. We could walk faster than we could riding the PM - so we walked. Next big special event, add MORE TRAINS to the system!!!

So now, the details!

Our weekend began with the VH1 taping of the Pepsi Smash at the State Theatre. We arrived a bit late, so we ended up with seats behind the TV boom operator (and therefore no view of the stage, but we could see video screens). It was somewhat interesting to "be there", but not necessarily the best musical "performances". Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, though, and everyone was in a Super mood. Nice theater as well - good room to see any show!

So we called it a night and slept in on Friday, in preparation for a long night at the Bud Bowl....

We arrived at Tiger Stadium at about 6:30, which made us about the first 200 or so to be allowed access to "Club 1620". And ohhhhhhh, was it worth the trouble to procure the tickets.....and the wait outside.

Budweiser spared little expense doing this. We were greeted with a coat check, then escorted down a hallway where we were greeted by the Bud Girls. Everyone got a pic with them, and a free pint sample of your favorite Bud product.....and then you were escorted into the club.

The scene in the club was really FUN. It was hard to believe at times that it was "temporary". Tables with cool Bud logos lit from INSIDE the table through the tops, numerous bars and great service, and a dance floor area with DJ and numerous Bud Girls dancing and setting the mood. Even my wife was impressed :-) Cool video screens as well, splashing Bud images and pics of the stadium. Now even I sometimes begrudge "megacorps" for thier overhyped sponsorship events that really don't deliver - but Budweiser delivered in spades here - and deserve big props for what they did here.

The best treat of the entire evening, however, was the back deck of the club. You could go outside to a rear smoking area and back deck, which led to a viewing area directly behind the pitchers mound at Tiger Stadium. You were looking at Home Plate, the press box, the two dugouts, and most of the seating from foulpole to foulpole. It seemed that if a friend or acquaintance were sitting up in the last row of the stadium that you could recognize him - the building was THAT intimate. It was like walking on a field of dreams.......

And then, of course, we got treated to an hour and forty five minutes of Snoop Dogg, the live entertainment of the evening. Another nice topper on a GREAT evening.

Saturday, we "blew off" the NFL experience due to a prior late night, and impending nasty weather. We hung at the house and planned a quick trip to see Kid Rock's Super Bowl Saturday Night show, then we walked from downtown to the Joe through the slop. Tix were available at the door, and great seats, too.

Say what you will about Kid Rock: Maybe he isn't "all that", "all original" or critically acclaimed.....but I will say this: He is a PERFORMER. Dude does have skills working a crowd. Kid Rock is purely for fun, folks - and it was impossible NOT to have fun, even if I was a bit "rough around the edges" from the night before! Kid Rock woke us up and had us dancing in the aisles in no time - and I saw EVERYONE standing, all the way to the top row of the Joe!!!

We called it a night (leaving during the encore so we could access the People Mover), in preparation for Super Sunday. We knew we would need to be up early, in order to secure parking Downtown (since our parking company screwed us out of our prepaid space - more on this later).

We found our way to a $70 parking space on Gameday, not too far away from "Mr. Tailgate" and the Lions fans hottub setup just off Cass. We said hello to that crew and had a quick photo op, then hopped on the PM to the Renaissance Center: NFL Headquaters, and Seldom Blues.

Now I have heard that Detroit has a restaurant deficit, and I found that to be somewhat true unless you really know the city - but Seldom Blues makes up for this in quality. The Channel 7 pregame brunch was simply OUTSTANDING - an absolutely PERFECT way to get pregame eats in a cold climate. I like tailgating as much as anyone, and had this game been in Miami, I would spend all weekend with Mr. Tailgate. But since it's cold, we wanted INDOOR pregame eats - and this was the best I could possibly hope for. Continuous service, great atmosphere that wasn't too "stuffy", and EVERY food item prepared PERFECTLY. Not to mention an appearance by Govenor Granholm - no particular political affinity, but it sure made us feel important ;) You know it's Super Sunday when I run into this many celebs in one weekend.... But more to the point, everyone should do Seldom Blues once. It's not my normal "price bracket", but every once in a while, it's nice to do something that is truly quality. It is befitting of the Free Press Restaurant of the Year - they deserve it!!!

Since the People Mover was full, we walked the mile or so trek to the stadium area in preparation for Super Bowl XL. That of course involved a pregame specially chosen cigar, pics with Mr. Tailgate and the Lions hottub crew, and a few other pregame snapshots and conversation with the Steeler faithful, who were out in BIG numbers. Since there was a stringent security regimen in force at the stadium, we made our way into Ford Field.

You all saw the game, I'm sure, so you can form your own opinions - but I will say this about your stadium: WHAT A MARVELOUS FACILITY!!! You all should be proud of the jewel that is Ford Field. I normally have an extreme dislike for domed stadiums, but this place is a MASTERPIECE. We had amongst the worst seats in the house - Section 318 four rows from the top - and was the amongst the best end zone views in any stadium. Numerous bathrooms and food/beer stands with GREAT service for a stadium. I found the upper concourse to be a bit crowded at times, especially pregame and around halftime, but that's minor compared to the pleasure that is Ford Field. It is a first rate football pleasure palace. I could only wish the Bears ran a stadium like this one.

And then finally.......

THE PEOPLE. You folks were, on balance, 99% awesome to work with (other than the parking companies and the unwillingness of law enforcement to assist, which I will detail later). I felt the spirit and energy that the City of Detroit has. It's different than anywhere I've ever been - and I'm well traveled, at least in the US - but it was sure fun! You folks all deserve applause for welcoming us with open arms! YOU made it happen!!!!

Since I have been so positive in this thread, I am going to leave this thread as is, and post the "negative stuff" for another thread later this evening (which is much less in quantity, but I feel should be discussed, as it might have bearing on future Super Bowls and civic life in general).

So I'll end this thread by giving the City of Detroit an A- for the week for us, and a B+ for "the whole" and explain the "markdowns" later this evening. Congratulations, Detroit, you did a helluva job!
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Broken_main
Member
Username: Broken_main

Post Number: 798
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 69.222.11.226
Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 1:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Beautifully stated!!! Looks like you had a very enjoyable stay in Detroit!!
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Kimmiann
Member
Username: Kimmiann

Post Number: 14
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 155.139.50.15
Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 1:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm so glad you enjoyed yourself. The true acid test question is, "Would you come back for a visit without some event pulling you here?"
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Motorcitymayor2026
Member
Username: Motorcitymayor2026

Post Number: 462
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 71.10.63.140
Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 1:59 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Glad you posted Audible. I was hoping you would. It will be interesting to see your negative remarks. Also, how was the family and home u stayed in?? Better or worse than expected??

Also, where would you rank this experience with your other 3 SB experiences
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Jt1
Member
Username: Jt1

Post Number: 6667
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 198.208.159.19
Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 2:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Glad to hear you had a good time. Maybe you can make it back for some festivals in the summer and enjoy Detroit in better weather.
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Motorcitymayor2026
Member
Username: Motorcitymayor2026

Post Number: 464
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 71.10.63.140
Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 2:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, Audible, you should definitely come back. Perhaps a long weekend this summer, check out the festivals and a couple of Tiger games. Weekend games get very strong crowds in the summer and include a firework show. Fun for all
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Lowell
Board Administrator
Username: Lowell

Post Number: 2260
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 66.167.211.50
Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 2:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Great post Audible_nectar. Thanks.

It always interesting to hear the views of visitors no matter what the take, especially when it is so well written as yours were. Your whole episode from preparation to finish as you shared on this forum has been a pure delight.

I am sure I speak for others in saying that we are very happy that the event came off so splendidly. As you can imagine, we were all holding our breath and hoping for the best. Its success will be a big boost to our reviving downtown and image and spreads the word that Detroit knows how to throw a party no matter what the weather. [We've all known that but getting others to believe it is another thing.]

Thanks for being a part of our city of a moment and don't be stranger.
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Islandman
Member
Username: Islandman

Post Number: 61
Registered: 08-2004
Posted From: 68.42.171.59
Posted on Tuesday, February 07, 2006 - 2:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Great read, audible! Do you have any pics to share from an outsider's perspective? Would be great to see those.
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Audible_nectar
Member
Username: Audible_nectar

Post Number: 71
Registered: 11-2005
Posted From: 12.217.110.64
Posted on Friday, February 10, 2006 - 8:31 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I thought I replied to this thread - must have been lost in the "upgrade".

I'll have pics of this soon - hopefully by tomorrow. I'm getting them all done on photo CD for easy upload.....

How it compared to other Super Bowl experiences??? Well, lets just say that I talked to my sister from Jacksonville yesterday, who asked me how Detroit did for Super Bowl, and was it better than Jax?

Absolutely.

"It wasn't just because you had tix this year, and last year did not?"

"Not a chance."

"What was better?"

I told her "Jax was the 'City that tried really hard'. On the basis of their people, Jax really was great. But the fact is that Jax did not have the infrastructure to really do it right. They did very well for a city that nobody gave a chance in hello of succeeding - Detroit got MUCH more 'love' than Jax ever did from the press, and now that I've been to Detroit, I understand why (although I surmise the corporate influence of the sponsors certainly did play a role, too - especially GM and Ford). Detroit wasn't necessarily the best Super Bowl venue - but it was what Detroit DID with that venue that made the difference. Detroit had more to work with - and had better leadership at the top (Penske) - and did more with it."

Detroit FAR exceeded expectations, and IMO, was the best Super Bowl weekend of the four I atttended (XXV in Tampa, XXXVI in NOLA, XXXIX in Jax, and of course XL in Detroit). And if you really want to see just how good it is and will continue to be thought of as such, look at next year's plans for Miami: Only ONE festival night downtown, and not nearly the number of public events will be scheduled. Sure the weather looks nice, but the plan looks WEAK - they are relying on the usual Florida outlets for entertainment (which means same thing you can get any other time - just more expensive and more crowded). Miami has set it's sights lower than Detroit has already - and we are one year away. I wouldn't worry about anyone dethroning you - at least anytime soon. Miami has the weather, but you had Roger Penske. Penske WINS.

The family we stayed with was SUPER. We have made new friends here, and and feel quite sure that we will be back just on the basis of that alone. Given our "separate" schedules, we felt like we should have, and wanted to spend more time together. So we've already discussed the possibility of coming back some future time, if for no other reason than to finish up on lost time over the prior weekend!

Sports is always a method of getting me back there (which should not be a problem - I see Pistons and Tigers in my spring and summer future). Music is the other.....I wonder what fests you folks run up there - and it's been a long time since I've seen the old "Pine Knob", too. The west coast traditionally runs the best outdoor festivals (which normally takes me out of the midwest summer loop entirely), but this summer we will likely stay closer to home - so I'll be perusing the Michigan lists in Spring, looking for some musical action.

I am also overdue for a Cedar Point fix, so it would be easy to combine that with some SE Michigan fare, too.

As for the "acid test" question "would I come back here without a special event"? Well, that's kind of a loaded question, since 99% of our travels are for special events. Most cities don't get our business without one (which could be as simple as holding a concert we want to see). Michigan seems to have less of "our brand" of concerts - but one thing that has changed as a result of our visit is that Detroit is on our "list of options" now. Before we rarely looked to Michigan for such - but now we will at least consider it next time. Familiarity + prior overall good experience = opportunity for future visits! Only this time, I'll be sure to avoid lots owned by Woodward Parking :-)

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