BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
A little more than two years ago, Billy Joel returned to Atlanta for the first time since a shared performance with Elton John in 2008 and exhausted a sold-out Philips Arena crowd with a parade of timeless pop gems.
Expect no less when Joel and his ace band revisit the city on Friday — only this time, he’ll unspool those singalongs in the shiny new digs of SunTrust Park.
This is the first concert at the new Cobb County stadium, and the more than 41,000 fans expected to attend will understandably be on a learning curve.
So before we start waving Brenda and Eddie goodbye, here are some pointers to help you navigate your visit.
WHEN: Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Showtime is 8 p.m. with Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness opening.
TICKETS: The show — a rain, shine (or heat) event — is close to sold out, but there are some scattered seats available for $54.50-$139.50. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.ticketmaster.com and by calling 1-800-745-3000. Fans who opt to print their tickets at home MUST do so prior to arriving at the venue. No tickets will be reprinted at the ticket office. Tickets left at will call can be picked up beginning at 9:30 a.m. Friday.
Fans who need to drop off or pick up tickets at will call (as in, “My husband won’t be here for another hour, so I need to leave his ticket at will call so I can go in and start drinking”) may leave two envelopes for free; three or more envelopes will incur a fee of $5 each.
Those with field level tickets must be wrist banded on the day of the show in order to enter or exit the field. Information about wrist band redemption locations will be available at the park. Lost, stolen or misplaced wristbands or tickets will not be replaced.
WHERE: SunTrust Park, 755 Battery Ave., Atlanta. Attendees are encouraged to use the Waze app to navigate directly to their Braves-controlled parking lot.
PARKING: Yeah, about that … we cannot stress enough that fans MUST purchase parking in advance. Parking at the concert in Braves-managed lots is permit-only. To pre-purchase parking, visit www.ticketmaster.com and search for Atlanta Braves parking. Most lots are $16-$25.
The lots have different opening times for the concert — the Battery Red Deck opens earliest at 9:30 a.m., while several others open at 6 p.m. Visit www.braves.com/billyjoel to find specific opening times for each lot.
TAILGATING: If you want to start jamming to the trumpet solo in “Zanzibar” early, you’ll have to do it in Braves North 29 and Braves West 85, the only two lots where tailgating is permitted.
FOOD: Regular game-day rules apply – outside food is allowed as long as it fits inside a clear, gallon-sized plastic bag. Fans may also bring a sealed plastic bottle of water (one bag of food and one bottle per ticket). No alcohol or coolers may be brought into the park.
BAGS: Any type of bag or backpack is allowed as long as it doesn’t exceed 16” x 16” x 8.”
VISITING THE BATTERY ATLANTA: Fans who want to hang out at the surrounding restaurants/shops before the concert can park in the Battery Red Deck for free for up to four hours before 2 p.m. and up to two hours after 2 p.m. Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors who park longer than two hours will be charged up to $50, but can receive validation by spending a minimum of $50 among the tenants at The Battery Atlanta.
PROHIBITED ITEMS: Include firearms and other weapons (including knives and mace), glass bottles, aluminum cans, laser pointers, drones, camera lenses exceeding 5 inches.
MORE INFO: www.braves.com/billyjoel
For a review of Friday’s Billy Joel concert, check out The Music Scene blog at AJC.com.