We attended a Billy Joel concert in the newly opened T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, April 30. The show was great, Billy never phones it in and he played for about 2 ½ hours without a break.
But, what’s the arena like? We know hockey fans everywhere are wondering.
The exterior of the T-Mobile Arena is spectacular. The plaza area is inviting and spacious. The copper look cladding on the building contrasted with the stone, metal, and active screens looks REALLY cool.
The park area outside the arena is well laid out, with vehicular traffic squeezed down to a twisty parklike road. There is plenty of room to hang out, lots of places to eat and drink, and enough shady areas to spend time outside without roasting.
There are “patios” sprinkled around the outside of the building that blend well with the look of the arena and can handle plenty of smokers between periods.
Parts of the interior of the building look unfinished. There are large areas of what appears to be plywood covered with event poster and the like, leading us to believe there is more to come. Keep in mind this arena is a month old and completed within two years of groundbreaking ceremony.
The overall impression is more sanitary than welcoming at this point, there’s a bit of a warehouse feeling stemming from the high roof being visible from nearly anywhere in the building.
The seats are comfortable and have enough legroom for almost anyone.
The stairs on the top level are STEEP.
The luxury boxes and clubs look great, there are a couple “patios” hanging in the rear of the building close to the roof that look to be interesting spots.
The scoreboard is large and in charge and REALLY HD.
Perfect. We had a “center ice” seat. We didn’t see any seats in the building that would have less than great views for hockey.
We didn’t count, but there are PLENTY of restrooms around the arena including family restrooms. Our impression is there are significantly more restrooms. There’s nothing special about the restrooms, but they’re nice.
While on that subject, our “center ice” seats were within the “Jack Daniels” club area behind a rope, you’d need a hand stamp to be in our section 5. There were also restrooms within the club area that were much nicer than the restrooms on the concourse.
We had lower bowl seats, and rode an elevator to the concourse for our section. We prefer ground level access to the lower bowl, since waiting for elevators is often a challenge when entering or leaving an event. On this occasion, there was no problem upon arrival, we zipped right up to our section.
There is an abundance of family bathrooms, all accessible. T-Mobile Arena has more accessible restroom facilities than any we’ve seen, at least from an impression. Maybe we’ll count them on an upcoming trip.
The rails in the wheelchair section were easy to see through, but should be equipped with cup holders.
We ate before the show at “Tom’s Urban” within a short walk of the arena doors, so didn’t partake of food in the arena.
There IS a Shake Shack. The usual pizza and hot dogs are available, and a carving station was available in our “Jack Daniels” area.
The acoustics for a concert were good, but not Gila River Arena good. There was an annoying echo from the back of the house that affected treble more than bass. Sibilant sounds, in particular, echoed back to our ears on the middle side of the house late enough to be a real annoyance.
That said, this is a new arena and a look around the roof area and rear of the house didn’t find much baffling. It’s possible parts of the roof are devoid of sound insulation right now. It’s not likely any sound anomalies will remain in this building for long.
Parking is likely to be an issue. We were staying across the street at Monte Carlo, chosen specifically for the proximity to the arena. The Monte Carlo parking garage has been modified to provide paid parking, with occupation lights on the ceilings so a quick glance down a row of parking spaces will show “green” or “red” lights. It eliminates a lot of unnecessary garage trolling for parking spaces. However, with hotels sharing their FREE parking with what we assume will be paid event parking, there will undoubtedly be parking issues to be ironed out for events with a larger local (versus hotel guest) attendance.
We’ve been told that NYNY and Monte Carlo employees are being instructed to park anywhere but employee parking at those two resorts.
There is decent access to the arena area from I-15 already, there’s no need to deal with Strip traffic to get to the arena at any time. A good thing. I’m not sure I’d follow the recommended directions on the T-Mobile Arena web site, but you’re welcome to.
There are enough entrance doors to accommodate people arriving for a large event with barely any lines. The staff is quick, every door is equipped with a metal detector, and the flow of foot traffic is well paced.
Plenty of escalators are available for moving people in and out rapidly.
As far as accessibility, an elevator operator told us there were 21 elevators available in the building. He told us that after we waited a half hour after the show for an elevator to get me and my scooter to ground level. That’s too long to wait to exit the building after a show. Part of the problem can be attributed to a lot of people needing to travel UP, opposite the DOWN exit direction all the escalators were running. It’s doubtful that condition would occur as the arena gets more use, we imagine there were parties in the upper suites to celebrate the new arena.
It’s notable that, again within the “Jack Daniels” lounge section at center ice, there was an elevator that the attendant stated was for use “if you have a limousine waiting”. We assume the exit for that elevator would be at the “VIP” entrance.
We’ll see how it goes next time we visit.
We can’t wait to attend a hockey game there, one that does NOT feature the Los Angeles Kings. We would go to another concert there in a minute, but would be listening for the acoustic weirdness which was, to our ears, distracting enough to be a deal breaker for an expensive show.
T-Mobile Arena Contact
3780 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89158