Hundreds turn out to see Chicago for first post-pandemic concert at PNC Arts Center

The band Chicago performed at PNC Bank Arts Center Thursday night – the first concert at the venue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Jul 16, 2021, 2:39 AM

Updated 1,013 days ago

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The band Chicago performed at PNC Bank Arts Center Thursday night – the first concert at the venue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The performance is the first of 23 shows for the season. The venue was used as a coronavirus test site during the pandemic, and now the concert crowds have returned.
The gates for the concert did not open until 8 p.m. But many people were out in the parking lot tailgating before the show.
Wanda and Russ Shirley showed off the drinks that they brought with them.
“Crystal Light. Vodka, there’s the other vodka,” Wanda Shirley said.
The Shirleys were at PNC two years ago to see Jimmy Buffet.
“You know what, it’s been 18 months and this is our first time here in two seasons and we want to play,” Wanda says.
Other concertgoers say that they felt good about getting back in a crowd once again. But COVID-19 was still on some people’s minds. And for good reason.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise in New Jersey. There were 441 new cases reported in New Jersey on Thursday. One month ago, that number was 278. The rate of transmission jumped to 1.16.
"This is going to be my first time actually coming out to a large event with a bunch of people, so I’m kind of nervous but feel OK and looking forward to it,” says Leslie Davis, of Flanders.
PNC Bank Arts Center has been preparing for this day. Millions of dollars have been spent to upgrade the venue. There are all new concessions and bathrooms, including the addition of 100 new stalls.
"We re-conceptualized the plaza to change the queuing so that the bathrooms queue around the building and not into the concessions lines,” says general manager Jorelle Aronovitch.
There is new sod on the lawn and even some new seats.
There are even some new food options such as brisket nachos, tacos and chicken and biscuits.
“We are seeing food reviews for gas stations these days in ‘Food and Wine.’ Everyone expects good food at every venue they go to whether it's the hospital, gas station or concert venue,” says executive chef Dan Doyle.
Doyle says that his favorite dish is the chicken and biscuits.


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