Inaugural Concert at Nats Park

Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Friday, July 10, 2009 | , , | 2 comments »

On Saturday, July 11, 2009, Billy Joel and Elton John will appear “Face 2 Face” on the enormous stage in center field for the inaugural concert in Nationals Park. Nats Park hosted another event of similar magnitude in April 2008, however, not with lights and sounds of a rock concert.

I was invited to photograph the finishing touches to the stage yesterday and watch Nats Park transform from an MLB ballpark to concert venue. I have never been a roadie or worked on stage sets, however, cannot imagine that technology has made those jobs any easier. Constructing a stage is a huge process. I counted at least twenty semi-trucks along Potomac Avenue and in front of the will call windows so you can imagine the volume of supplies it takes to put this all together.

Being an "active" construction site, I wasn't able to get on the grass or get up close, but wandered along the warning track and observed. It was hard to miss the port-a-potties lined up in the Nats bullpen. And I thought it would be fun to slide down a harness like this guy.

The video screens had not been installed yet, however, I was told that there would be one large video monitor on each side of the stage. Nats Park has a brand new beautiful scoreboard, however, will not be used for the concert. I am guessing it has to do with sound/sights compatibility, as well as staffing since Nats Park was "rented out" for the night to the concert folks.

According to the concert promoter on hand, the crew started construction at Nats Park on Monday, July 6. That gives them a little more than five days to pull everything together. If you look at the tour schedule, the next show stop is Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday. The promoter explained that they have a second crew and set that is already in progress in Columbus! The stage and supplies from Nats Park will head to Wrigley Field in Chicago after Saturday's show. At least the weather has cooperated this week for setting up for an outdoor concert.

Leaving the field, I happened to notice that a sign was put up outside the visitors’ clubhouse in the tunnel that said “Billy Joel Band Dressing Room” with a picture of a motorcycle. A gentleman standing in the hallway said to feel free to take a photo, so I did. I asked about Elton John's and he said it was on the other side and I wondered if Billy and Elton flipped for the home clubhouse.

Limited tickets are still available. A capacity crowd is expected and guests attending the first-ever concert at the ballpark are encouraged to arrive early to avoid delays, transportation congestion and long lines. All gates will open at 6:00pm and the show will begin promptly at 7:30pm. Fans planning on driving to the concert may pre-purchase their parking. Nationals Park is conveniently located on the Metrorail Green Line, at the Navy Yard Metro Station.

On a personal note, I saw Billy Joel and Elton John play together in 1995 and it was an incredible four hours of two legends on pianos playing songs that you can sing every word. If you haven't gotten a ticket yet, I highly recommend it. I looked up a few reviews and all seem positive. It is hard to pass up an opportunity to see two incredibly talented musicians play, especially at your home away from home!

Check out the setlist from the Jacksonville, FL show on March 2, 2009. Expect show to last approximately 3 1/2-4 hours. A few clips to prepare for big show.


Speakers (I think)

Photos 2009 © Cheryl Nichols. All Rights Reserved.


  1. MissChatter // July 11, 2009 at 8:44 AM  

    Ha! I had the opposite with the Billy Joel sign. Was not free to photograph it :(

  2. Cheryl Nichols // July 11, 2009 at 3:21 PM  

    Sorry Cathy. I just thought it was too funny not to take the picture and the guy said no problem. Can't wait for tonight!