At 5:50 p.m. Saturday, security manager Jerry Thraen was on the radio, making sure nobody left Pinnacle Bank Arena with a beer as the 13,000 people who attended the first Garth Brooks show streamed outside. Then he reached over, grabbed a mop and bucket and headed out onto the arena floor.
Black-shirted security personnel, event staff in their green shirts, and arena management flowed in carrying large, white trash bags, brooms and pulling dumpsters. It was all hands on deck to clean up the arena as quickly as possible.
The target was 45 minutes from the end of the first show to opening the doors for the second. That number was reached after consultation with other building staff and the Brooks team.
“One of the big things Garth’s people said was when the show ends, make sure a lot of people come in to clean up,” arena manager Tom Lorenz said while picking up trash. “That really helps them (concertgoers) to know that they should get out so the place can get cleaned up.”
The show switchover actually began before Trisha Yearwood came out to do “Walk Away Joe” with Brooks and then join him and the band for the show closer “Standing Outside The Fire.” Concession stands were restocked as soon as beer sales ended — about 45 minutes before the end of the show — and restrooms were cleaned then as well.
By 5:55 p.m., only a few concertgoers lingered in the arena. By 6 p.m., the building was clear, save for the crew going row by row, picking up trash, sweeping and mopping.
By then Brooks’ crew had reset the stage, covering the drum cage and keyboards and lowering the video screens. Light and sound boards were turned off and the crew was, most likely, getting a meal before the second show.
At 6:10 p.m., the lower bowl and floor, with more than 8,000 seats, were cleaned. At the same time, lines of concertgoers had formed outside.
Cleanup on all three arena levels was done by 6:25 p.m.
Outside the arena, security began wanding concertgoers at 6:30 p.m., allowing them to move closer to the doors. At 6:35 p.m., event staff got their ticket scanners ready, and at 6:38 p.m., the first concertgoers for the second show came in the building — a 48-minute turnover.
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Before fans from the first show even left the arena, a line began to form outside for the second one. The Railyard was filled with concertgoers mingled. Lines at restaurants and bars formed, along with the line to get into the arena for the second show.
The City Council approved a permit late last month to close down Canopy Street this weekend to allow extra room for fans to arrive and exit the arena.
The middle of The Railyard was packed, as fans danced and belted out lyrics to songs the Bucka Ruse band played from the stage.
Katie Wilken and her friends arrived at 3 p.m. to enjoy the music and have a beer before they went to the 7:30 Brooks p.m. show.
“We’re moms, so we don’t get out much,” Christine Gottula laughed.
The women liked having Canopy Street closed, because they felt the already crowded bars would've been uncomfortably packed otherwise.
Leah and Brandon Rivera took a Lyft ride to the concert to avoid chaotic parking and said they might stick around after the concert to hang out in The Railyard. They showed up just after 6 p.m. to wait in line for the show. The Bellevue couple clutched cardboard signs shaped like guitars, saying they were excited to see Brooks perform "Shameless," which was their first dance at their January wedding.
Nearby parking ranged from about $10 to $25 and traffic slowed to a crawl as downtown streets became congested with concertgoers.
Melody Strode, who was working security at The Railyard, said Saturday was crazy. Since this was the first time Canopy Street had closed for an arena event, she didn't know what to expect.
"Yesterday was not as bad (when there was just one show), but today it's probably even worse than a football game here because there's two concerts coming and going at once," she said.