Last Updated on October 7, 2021 by Jeremy
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There are conventional tours at amphitheaters like Star Lake. Then there are larger stadium tours, like concerts at PNC Park. And then there are the biggest, most outrageous stadium tours for the world's most famous performers.
In Pittsburgh, only one venue is large enough for an event of this size, and Heinz Field concerts have historically attracted acts like Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Beyonce, U2, and perhaps the most legendary of them all, The Rolling Stones- who we finally got to see at Heinz Field in 2021.
So in this one, we thought we'd share a bit about what the show was like, thoughts on the seating and sound at the stadium, and other venue-specific points you may want to keep in mind!
Note: Photos in this one were taken at various focal lengths with our phone. True-to-view shots as seen from our seats will be noted in the captions.
Where Are the Best Seats for Heinz Field Concerts?
When it comes to concerts at Heinz Field, you really should just think about seats in two categories- in the stands or on the floor.
Virtually all of the seats in the stands are a sufficient distance away from the stage such that you're likely going to be watching the built screens over actually focusing on the performers. Even being in the front row of 526, it was virtually impossible to get a clear appreciation for the action going on the stage- we simply watched the jumbo screens because we were not close at all. Perhaps the front of the 100 level would be a bit better, especially on the sides closest to the stage, but only just a little.
For those who are on the floor, how close you can get could really depend on the show. For the Rolling Stones, custom standing room sections were built out of barricades. Depending on the ticket you bought, you were allowed access into this one specified area (otherwise you could hit what appeared to be a larger general standing area towards the back of the floor). In this case, how close you want to get to the stage is simply a function of what extremely expensive ticket you buy and how early you arrive for a prime spot.
I have to admit, while I was thrilled with being in the front row of 526 (we always go for the best of the “cheap” seats if we can), there was still something a bit off about sitting here during the show. Maybe it was the sound as the band drowned out vocals a fair bit. There were also the large lighting towers obstructing the view to some degree for virtually all stand seating (except those at the extreme edges- we also heard the sound may have been better on the ends too). Both of these are very tour-specific concerns, we will admit. But overall, while these were objectively good seats, they weren't as good as some other nosebleed seats we've had at other venues.
Was this enough to detract from the experience? Maybe a little. But we do have to admit that we still had a great time even when considering we spent nearly $400 for the best of the cheap seats. If we were to do it all over again, I'm not sure we would've changed anything. Well, perhaps splurging a bit more for lower level tickets on the side to be just a bit closer to the stage.
So, when it comes to Heinz Field concerts, perhaps the best way to think of what makes a good seat is simply the one you can afford to purchase at all. They're all going to have some downsides that you may have to deal with, and acts that come to this stadium will most certainly command a hefty premium as The Rolling Stones did.
Parking and Other Amenities at Heinz Field
When it comes to parking at Heinz Field, assume all game-day rules and logic apply. Every garage in and around the stadium will be full, private garages and surface lots will be charging obscene premiums (think $50+), and nightmarish traffic getting into the stadium near the start and even worse after the concert lets out.
Whether you choose to park in a city garage halfway across downtown proper in walk, Uber in, or brave the T if you are coming in from the South Hills, just be prepared for congestion no matter what. There really is no other way to say it, but events of this size will always be chaos. So depending on how far you live from the city, grabbing a hotel in the North Shore or downtown Pittsburgh may also be a viable option simply to free up some time.
Beyond this, Heinz Field follows most conventional security screenings that we've now come to expect. That is to say, everyone will have to go through metal detectors, no liquids are allowed, only comically small clutch purses are allowed, and everything else must be brought inside via clear plastic bags. For more information on Heinz Field's current bag policies, click here.
Overall, when it comes to seeing a show at Heinz Field, the takeaway we have is that if you want to see a mega performer, you're going to pay for it. For the seats, for parking, and even for the merchandise ($50+ hats and t-shirts, anyone)? While there are some tricks you can do for getting your costs down, you may just want to go with the flow if you have your heart set on seeing one of the world's best performers here. Your only other option is listening to the show from the outside as the sound, thankfully, carries across the city (which we've done many, many times)!
Heinz Field is located at 100 Art Rooney Drive in the North Side. They usually host two or three concerts every year.