Hello, hello! On Monday, Dad surprised me with a trip out to Irving to see the Moody Blues. They’re a band that Dad and I both enjoy. I was raised on them. They played a lot of songs I knew and a few I didn’t. Of course, Dad sang along to all of them. We both had a lot of fun, though Dad couldn’t figure out how all the other fans had gotten so old while he stayed young. But I wanted to talk about the venue, the Toyota Music Factory, and our experience there.
According to their FAQ section, “Toyota Music Factory is an experience – with 25 restaurants and entertainment concepts, an Alamo Drafthouse Theater, and the Pavilion – an 8,000 capacity indoor/outdoor, state-of-the-art concert venue, Toyota Music Factory is the new soul of the DFW Metroplex. From power lunches to happy hours, date nights to show time, it’s sure to satisfy any taste in food, music, movies, and more.” But is it really?
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a fabulous concept. Being able to arrive a couple of hours early and stop for dinner at one of the on-site restaurants is great, especially for people who don’t know the area well (like us). And since it’s not even a year old (it officially opened in September of 2017), minor problems are to be expected. Case in point, the security people on parking duty had absolutely no clue about handicap parking. Even the valet people seemed confused, but there was one cripple spot left up front, so they told us to go ahead and park there instead of in one of the garages. And that was once we were there. The signage to get to the place was absolutely horrible. But I don’t know if that’s a venue issue or a city of Irving issue.
The Pavilion (the music venue itself) was a nice place, but I wouldn’t call it state-of-the-art by any means. It was stark, all concrete and wood. It actually reminded me of some of the small venues I’ve been to, only ten times the size. There wasn’t an actual elevator. Instead, they have a “lift,” which is a base with a wall on either side, but the front and back are exposed to the concrete/doors of the shaft. So, while it’s moving, you better keep yourself away from the front and back. Then there was the seating. Handicap seating was fairly close (second section) with a barrier that didn’t obstruct the view. We were in the center. There was also some handicap seating up in the third section. But even though the floor seating was the same as the companion seats in the cripple sections, easily removed folding chairs (seemed kind of chintzy for “state-of-the-art”), there weren’t any handicap tickets available down there. It wasn’t a bad venue by any means, but it certainly wasn’t what they advertise it to be.
Overall, it’s a venue I wouldn’t mind going back to if a band worth seeing comes through. All of the staff were friendly and helpful, which goes a long way to balancing out the not-so-good aspects of the place. However, it’s definitely not going to be the “new soul” of DFW unless they make some significant improvements. Plus, it’s all the way over in Irving, so the bands will have to be really good to make me go back.