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Two weeks in: Nine things to know about Canalside Live concerts

After two weeks of big crowds and great weather, here are nine things to know about the Canalside Live concerts.

1. Mother Nature the MVP. Last summer, Thursdays were plagued with rain (seven of 10 shows in 2017). After a lousy spring for Western New York this year, summer-like weather has blessed the first two shows. Bright sunshine and temperatures in the 70s lasted well into Thursday evening, a slight improvement on opening night.

2. Big crowd numbers. Thanks in part to that weather, both weeks have had excellent crowds. Following an opening attendance of 11,200 for Method Man and Redman last week, Canalside general manager Matt LaSota said this week's show, headlined by Fitz & The Tantrums, drew more than 8,500.

[Related: Smiles at Fitz & the Tantrums | Shots of the performers in action]

Both weeks had a diverse crowd, with this week seemingly a little younger, which might have to do with a more current band. Last week Method Man and Redman kept shouting out the 1990s (and getting applause for it).

On what was one of the busiest social nights in Western New York when you consider the thousands at the Corporate Challenge run, Canalside organizers were pleased to see a few dozen people with Corporate Challenge T-shirts arrive at around 8:30 p.m., just in time for the headliner.

3. Small security numbers. As in zero. For the second straight week there were no incidents that required security or police, LaSota said.

4. You can get paid to drink beer. There was plenty of chatter about this one whether you were drinking under the Skyway or out by the boardwalk. If your take advantage of a presale ticket promotion, you can pretty much get paid to drink alcohol.

When you buy presale tickets at Consumer's Beverage locations or the Canalside Information Kiosk before 2 p.m. on the day of the show, your ticket also comes with a free drink coupon, good for any beer, wine, soda or water.

The math: With wine and some beers costing $7, that coupon gets the $5 price of your ticket back and actually puts you $2 ahead.

5. Another presale perk, plus a suggestion. Presale ticket buyers also have a happy stroll to the gate, past those buying tickets at the door.

Despite the size of the crowds, entering the venue has been rather breezy. However, the entrance could use some additional signage, or a staffer stationed at the end of the line, to explain that ticket holders can proceed past those in line to buy tickets.

Canalside Live: Policies, tickets and other tips

6. The new layout is helping. Concertgoers who have been to Canalside shows through the years said this year's wider distribution of food and beer tents have helped open things up.

"Before it seemed like all of the concessions were kind of all stuck in one spot," said Erica Malinowski of Cheektowaga. "They're all spread out and the lines aren't so bad."

Organizers even tweaked tent locations from last week to this week. Instead of a food/beverage ticket tent just after the entrance on the right side, it was moved to the left side, well back on the grass, opening things up more and giving fans a clear walk along the cobblestone of Hanover Street as they entered.

"We want to make sure that street was open," said LaSota. "It's one less line and opened up the entire front entrance and Hanover Street was open so people could walk right in and get to the stage or wherever they wanted to go."

In another helpful tweak that helped open up Hanover Street, the area where IDs were checked for those looking to obtain wristbands (to purchase alcohol) was moved from inside the gate to just outside.

7. Take the train to the show. It seems like plenty of Western New Yorkers are using MetroRail to get downtown for the show.

"Every time a train unloaded," LaSota said, "we got hit at the gate."

8. Long lines at Fat Bob's. For the second straight week, an unofficial charting of lines at the food trucks had Fat Bob's Smokehouse with the longest lines. This week, Lloyd Taco Truck and Flaming Fish were close behind. However, at one point the longest line in food truck row was for the kettlecorn stand.

[Related: Check out The News' food truck guide for 2018]

9. No $5 show next week: There will be a concert next Thursday, but it's not a Canalside Live event.

June 21 marks Kiss 98.5's annual Kiss the Summer Hello concert, with tickets priced at $30, $70 and $200.

The Canalside Live series continues on June 28 with rock band Umphrey's McGee, which played Canalside in 2015.

Diverse lineup highlights Canalside Live concert series


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