Best Concert Venue - 2005
Verizon Wireless Theater
Go ahead, holier-than-thou hipsters, scoff at the choice of a corporate, commercial venue that you may view as an unholy alliance between a cell phone company and Clear Channel (um, that is, the now retro-christened Pace Concerts). But there's nowhere better in town to see a mid-level to major show, be it Basia, Nine Inch Nails or the Black Crowes (who opened their reunion tour there). It's got great sound and sight lines, and its seating accommodates both mosh pits and cocktail tables. In fact, there's not a bad seat in the house. Three or four bars ensure that there's not much of a wait for a drink -- though the prices are a bit steep -- and, most important to those who suffer from IBB syndrome (that's Itty Bitty Bladder), several bathrooms are so close, you won't miss a single guitar solo. And since the Verizon is the only game in town for acts too little for the Toyota Center/Woodlands pavilion and too big for the Meridian/Fitzgerald's, it hosts an awful lot of bands that otherwise wouldn't play Houston.