They finally built it.
A brand, spanking new music amphitheater that Syracusans can call their own opened last night across the highway from the New York State Fair.
No more having to drive 90 miles east to Saratoga Performing Arts Center or 60 miles or even farther west to Constellation Brands — Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua or Darien Lake Performing Arts Center outside of Buffalo to see a big-name outside show in modern comfort.
The Lakeview Amphitheater opened Thursday night with a concert by country music star Miranda Lambert. And it was very grand.
I wrote my Mark It Up community column for Syracuse Public Media site WAER about the pavilion and grounds. You can click the link below to read my story and see more pictures.
It took $50 million, including taxpayer money, to get this piece of work up and running on this peninsula of land on the shore of recently cleaned-up Onondaga Lake.
Click on any gallery photo for a description. Click on the bottom right photo in any gallery for an enlarged slide show.
The weather was spectacular for Sept. 3. It was warm as country music lovers walked the path from the parking lot toward the lawn and pavilion for the very first time. Perhaps a tad humid, like a warm blanket.
But once my dear wife Karen and I got to the lawn, the view of the seating and stage and the lake beyond was pretty cool, indeed. I had to investigate more with my iPhone 6, of course.
The woman guarding the entrance to the moat let me cross the path to take one step into the coveted pavilion despite having a lawn ticket. It looked nice. One of the facts they repeatedly flashed on the three video screens attached to the pavilion so we on the lawn could better see what was happening on the stage down there said the seats were constructed to mimic the waves on Onondaga Lake.
Do you think so? Hmmm.
People seemed calm, even when faced with long lines at the concession stands.
Perhaps the view of the setting sun had a soothing effect.
Folks were hootin’ and hollerin’ when opener RaeLynn came to the stage.
I did not much like her squeaky, young-girl-sounding voice, though the crowd seemed to enjoy her 30-minute set.
During intermission, I enjoyed the bucolic views. Then I visited the port-a-potties. There was no line. I was proud of myself for navigating my way to some 15 or so feet directly behind Karen. I heard her calling my name in the dark.
Miranda Lambert came to the stage after a two-video tease — thanks, SONY, I liked the co-star turn with Carrie Underwood — and was all that.
She rocked, she rolled, she soared.
Maybe I imagined it because of all the publicity that attended her split from equally famous husband country star Blake Shelton, but her quiet songs seemed to carry an extra tinge of bittersweet.
My dear wife Karen and I quite enjoyed it all.
Oh, yes, her covers of Mountain’s grand Mississippi Queen and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Travelin’ Band made this old rocker very happy, indeed.
So, too, did her lovely harmonies with her two woman band mates on Smokin’ and Drinkin’.
The video start of local women caught in the parking lot declaring their claims to fame amped up Famous in a Small
Town, and the old clips of Lambert at the beginning of her career made it all the more special.
The House That Built Me, a great and poignant song always, was even more significant on this opening night for Syracuse’s new hot spot.
Here’s a song snippet I shot from our chairs-from-a-bag on the lawn.
And here’s a later song excerpt I shot later when I ran up to the side of the pavilion.
Have you attended an opening night for a venue, and if so, what did you think? Are you a Miranda Lambert fan, and why or why not? Which is your favorite photo, and why?