As part of its "Venues that Rock" story, Rolling Stone magazine polled "26 industry insiders and musicians" to vote on the best stadiums and arenas in the country. Let me rephrase: the COOLEST arenas and stadiums in the country. Madison Square Garden tops the list and, frankly, it is difficult to argue given the storied history of the venue and location in Manhattan. But, the rest of the list included a curious batch of other buildings not surprisingly located in or near the entertainment capitals of the country.
After surveying the list, I have to wonder if their panel of insiders and musicians meant a couple country music artist, a few rappers, Jay-Z and a handful of music attorneys.
1. Madison Square Garden (New York) 2. Wrigley Field (Chicago) 3. Fenway Park (Boston) 4. Barclays Center (Brooklyn) 5. Yankee Stadium (New York) 6. Bridgestone Arena (Nashville) 7. KFC Yum! Center (Louisville) 8. Staples Center (Los Angeles) 9. Philips Arena (Atlanta) 10. MetLife Stadium (New Jersey)
I have no arguments with the top 3. All of them are legendary stadiums with long histories in both sports and in music. They are deserving. But, Barclay's Center? It's been open all of about two years. Like I said, Jay-Z must have been on this panel. The old Yankee Stadium, sure, but the new one? Most New Yorkers consider it an abomination and certainly not the House that Ruth Built.
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Then we get to the country meccas of Nashville and Louisville. I'm sure Bridgestone Arena is nice and I can only hope that the KFC Yum! Center is not just a giant, bucket shaped building filled with fried chicken and the hopes and dreams of little fat kids everywhere, but how they made this list is beyond me.
I guess I kinda understand Staples Center since it is in the entertainment capital of America, but by all accounts, it's not a particularly great venue for anything. The Hollywood Bowl seems more appropriate here. And if any rappers were on the "insider" panel, it's no surprise that one of the most bizarre arenas ever constructed, Philips in Atlanta, made the top 10. Oh, and MetLife Stadium in New Jersey? Whatever.
Conspicuously absent was every building in the state of Texas. I'm not saying that Toyota Center or American Airlines Center should make the list, but I am a little surprised the new Cowboys Stadium, that insane palace to Jerry Jones's oversized ego, didn't make it. I will say no one in Austin should be miffed. Frank Erwin Center is not a great building and, besides, in order to keep their indie cred, shouldn't they be required to call their best venue some stinky, dive bar that hipsters love to ironically frequent?
I would like to throw Minute Maid Park's hat in the ring, however. It's one of the best stadiums in baseball and has been having concerts with more regularity recently. But, we aren't Nashville or LA or New York or even Atlanta, so I guess we're not very cool. Thank God.