MÉRIDA, YUCATÁN – Last night was the concert by “God Save the Queen” (“Dios Salve a la Reina”) at Mérida’s new flagship event venue “Coliseo Yucatan”. For those who don’t know, “God Save the Queen” is noted as ‘the world’s best tribute band’, and those who have seen Queen live in concert confirm that the performance is spot on. Having seen Queen’s famous Wembley Stadium concert on video, I concur that “God Save the Queen” looks and sounds like the real thing.
Somewhat bizarrely, God Save the Queen is from Argentina, and lead singer Pablo Padín is a dead ringer for Freddy Mercury, emulating his moves on stage perfectly. The concert lasted around 2 hours, and included all the famous Queen songs, such as ‘A Kind of Magic’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, Radio Gaga’, ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Killer Queen’, ‘We are the Champions’, ‘Another One Bites the Dust’, ‘The Show Must Go On’, ‘I Want to Break Free’, ‘Somebody to Love’, etc. Not a word of Spanish was spoken from the stage during the concert, adding to the illusion that it was really Freddy Mercury and Queen up there in front of us.
This was the second time I have attended an event at the ‘Coliseo Yucatan’, opened with much fanfare in February this year. Much has been written about the venue’s teething problems, some of which appear to have been addressed. We opted to park nearby and walk to the venue rather than using their parking, however the traffic entering the parking seemed to be moving fluidly, and we saw no evidence of the previously reported traffic chaos outside the venue. The event was not sold out however, so there was less traffic than at some previous performances.
Strangely, landscaping at the front of the venue is still to be completed, with a large area of rubble still remaining some 7 months after the official opening, giving a poor first impression to arriving visitors. When I was last there in June, entry to the venue was challenging, due to issues with checking tickets, each one requiring a laborious manual check; this seems to have been resolved, and last night, there were plenty of ticket checkers on hand with barcode readers, scanning was fast, and within a minute, we were inside.
Access to seats is confusing; a large map inside the door indicates which stair tower should be utilized for each section; it fails to note however that certain stair towers are not accessible to the general public (being reserved for VIP box access only), which means that when you walk to your assigned stair tower, you may well not be able to climb it, and will be directed to a different one. This was the case for our seats in section D11, located immediately adjacent to the ‘Coliseo’ stair tower, and which we attempted to use. We were instead directed to the ‘Sol’ stair tower on the opposite side of the building, and when we arrived at the D level, needed to cross through 4 other sections to access our seats. A strange and unnecessarily confusing situation. Seating, while fairly comfortable, also seems somewhat dangerous, with stadium style sloped seating, however without safety rails on each row, and limited space to pass in front of other seated audience members. Speaking with a promoter from the event last week, I learned that in fact there have already been a number of accidents in the venue where audience members have fallen forward onto other people sitting below them. This is a major design flaw, which should be addressed before a serious accident or injury occurs.
Perhaps the biggest problem the venue still faces is the air-conditioning; last night, from the moment we arrived until the end of the event, we felt hot, and judging by the amount of ‘fanning’ being done by other members of the audience, we were in the majority. We experienced the same in June, and had hoped the problem was resolved; it is not however, and provides a major comfort obstacle when attending events at the venue. It seems that the air-conditioning system is just not sufficient to cope with the size of such a space, which was strangely designed to be ‘semi-open’ with large access areas from the (open air) stairways to the hall itself. They are covered by nothing more than a curtain, allowing precious cold air to escape. Perhaps in Mexico City, this arrangement would be fine, but in the tropical city of Mérida, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Final score? God Save the Queen: A+, outstanding. Coliseo Yucatan: C-, improvement needed. For a flagship venue, charging very high prices for some events (for example the upcoming Ricardo Arjona concert tickets run from $770 pesos to $2860 pesos), these issues, in particular the air-conditioning problems, just should not exist.
By Stewart Mandy
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Born in Europe, raised in the Middle East, and a long-time resident in the Americas, Stewart has been based in Mérida, Yucatan since 2010, and has lived and worked worldwide in the media, travel, tourism and transportation industries for well over 20 years.
His local contacts and global knowledge provide him with unmatched access to the stories ‘behind the stories’ and he likes to take you to the places that others don’t or won’t go.
From the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego, from Moscow to Melbourne, from Bergen to Buenos Aires, Stewart has been there. Chances are, wherever you are heading, he knows the score.
In addition to The Yucatan Times, Stewart contributes (or has contributed) to “The Examiner” (www.examiner.com), “Business Briefings”, “Cruise & Ferry Magazine” and “The Apollo Magazine”. He is a former editor of “rolling pin CRUISE” magazine.
He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can join him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/meridawriter, follow him on Twitter @stewartmandy or visit his website at www.stewartmandy.com or his blog at http://tolocsandaluxes.blogspot.mx/
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