WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Saturday, the Brad Paisley concert opened up with a giant screen on stage that showed an empty amphitheater mid-pandemic. Then the image switch to a live feed of what it looked like with the venue filled up and the audience roared with approval.
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Brad Paisley came out on stage and said, "This place looks a lot better with you in it."
Saturday, concerts returned to the iThink Financial Amphitheater in West Palm Beach. There hasn't been a large-scale performance at the venue since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Jimmie Allen plays a private concert for listeners of New Country 103.1 WIRK
The venue is allowing 100% capacity, and requiring clear plastic bags to employees can avoid touching peoples things, all points of sale are cashless, no paper tickets, and no mask requirement for those who are vaccinated.
For the first time, in a long time cones were laid out on the roads around the venue, parking signs put into place, flags raised, tents popped up, and corn hole games were set up. Signs of normalcy returning to the iTHINK Financial Amphitheater.
Private show with Jimmie Allen and a look at the tailgate
"Get everybody back together, a little Barbque a little tailgate," said Ryan Orr.
Tailgaters like Anthony Tropea from West Palm Beach are happy to be back, "I'm so excited country concerts are back, honestly, these are the best times."
"I'm so happy. This is like a huge staple of South Flordia," said another tailgater. "It connects the whole entire city together. We're glad to be back, we love it, we love it."
The venue says masks are optional for people vaccinated with the coronavirus but can't enforce them due to Ron DeSantis signing an order preventing such action.
Instagram worthy concert pictures
"I think it's an honor system and I think that says more about someone's character than someone's policy," said a tailgater.
With the Delta variant surging in parts of the country. WPTV NewsChannel 5 asked tailgaters if they thought people would follow the new mask rule on their own.
Sage Mosco of Delray laughed and said "Here? No. Up north, probably, but here no."
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"No, you do what you gotta' do. If you got vaccinated you're vaccinated. If not, you don't wanna' wear a mask... live your life. That's why we are in the USA baby," Orr.
"Definitely not, I mean I'm vaccinated [Meghan] is vaccinated. So I doubt people are. We just want to be safe, so," said Emily Wise of West Palm Beach.
"I feel like at some point we all have to have fun, so if you do it the safe way, yeah, let's do it," said Meghan Pittman.
"We've been stuck inside for so long it's that it's nice to be outside enjoying live music again," said one tailgater.
There hasn't been a concert out here at the iTHINK Financial Ampitheater since October of 2019, that's when concert season ended. "Yes, it's been a long 19 months,"
said Lauren Lins of Coconut Creek.
Couple gets engaged on stage at Brad Paisley concert
Nick Rivers of New Country 103.1 WIRK said, "What better way to kick of concert season at the iTHINK Financial Ampitheater than with Brad Paisley and Jimmie Allen." "It's going to be a big ole party. We're super pumped."
Boy gets guitar pic at Brad Paisley concert
The next show to take the stage is Dave Mathews' annual two-day concerts at the end of this month. In West Palm Beach, T.A. Walker WPTV NewsChannel 5.