28 years. That's how long I've lived in Seattle. During that time we've had 4 shows within 150 miles of my house: two in '95, one in '96, and one in 2014. Part of it is that Seattle is tucked in a corner, far away from everywhere else. Part is that The Gorge is just outside of that 150 mile radius and if you have the ability to play there, you're going to be tempted. But also, a huge chunk is that the old Key Arena was just not a fun place for musicians. The acoustics were awful. The loading area was pitiful. Sure, people did perform there because Seattle is a major market, but no one really liked to.
And then the Sonics left town and the attempt to lure the Kings here got the NBA to belatedly realize that teams moving was a bad thing. Forestalling the departure or getting a team transplanted here would have had an arena built, but who knows what it would have been like. Instead we got an expansion hockey team, and they decided to rip down everything about the Key---other than the roof and some windows---and build a completely different building underneath it. Moreover, this was going to be a place as focused on the music as for sports.
They succeeded. The first time I saw a Kraken game last year, I was stunned at how crisp the piped in music sounded. We've gone from a dive of a venue to one of the best sounding hockey arenas I've ever been in. It's a bit of a maze at times, but the weird layout leads to an incredible ease of wandering around. The food - while expensive - is high quality; even the nachos I ordered used queso instead of the weird orange stadium cheese. Like so much of this city, we've moved from a bit of a weird dump to something expensive but amazing. A liability has become an attraction and for only the second time ever, Seattle was getting a two show run!
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