Thunderstorm cuts short the harmony at Aldean concert

New city restrictions

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A heavy downpour, thunder and lightning may have forced the Jason Aldean concert at PNC Park Saturday night to end a couple songs short, but it didn't stop one Pittsburgh police officer from comparing the pre-concert tailgate to a dream.

"Today has been a dream, actually," he said of Saturday night's tailgate. "For all intents and purposes, it's no different than a Steelers game."

That "dream" probably had to do with new restrictions imposed by the city after the debacle of drunkenness, fights, trash and arrests at the June 21 Luke Bryan country music concert at Heinz Field.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and the Pirates announced earlier this week that, unlike Luke Bryan, there would be no all-day tailgating for the 38,000 Aldean fans in attendance.

The new rules also prevented surface lots from opening until 2 p.m., banned tailgating in parking garages and, much to the dismay of many, beer pong was not allowed.

During the Luke Bryan concert, the police officer said, it took 30 minutes for an ambulance to get to the area. He had to break up a fight and a concert goer tossed a beer bottle onto the above highway.

Before the heavy thunderstorm swept through the city Saturday night, country music fans wearing cowboy boots and hats, jean shorts, sleeveless plaid shirts and more than a few American flags roamed around with beer cans in hand.

Pirates employees also took to the streets, sweeping up trash along West General Robinson Street and the Roberto Clemente Bridge.

In Lot Red 6, tailgaters playing cornhole, drank beer, conversed and laughed. White and black bags filled with trash rested near the wheels of several cars.

In the surrounding lots, smoke from grills billowed over popped trunks while country music blasted, audible down the street. Only a few beer cans could be seen littering the blacktop.

Melissa Rohrig, 35, of Wheeling, W.Va., said stadium employees had been walking around that afternoon handing out trash bags for concert goers to use.

"It looks like a lot of people did take them," she said as she wiped her hands with a disinfectant cloth. "I haven't really seen any garbage cans."

Instead of trash cans, several dumpsters could be found lining most of Federal Street along with port-a-john after port-a-john.

Mr. Lude, who attended the Luke Bryan concert, said people were much more respectful during Saturday's tailgate, aside from the one concert goer ripping up a reporter's notes and tossing a page into the crowd.

Ms. Rohrig's cousin, Jennifer Rohrig, 25, of Wheeling, was actually surprised by how calm the tailgating was. "I read a lot about the Luke Bryan concert so I was expecting it to be really out of hand, for it to be dirty," she said. "It hasn't been bad."

The new rules worked for the most part when it came to the tailgating and trash but not so much for the traffic, which turned out to be a major problem. Cars were lined up bumper to bumper along West General Robinson Street and North Shore Drive by mid-afternoon.

"There was so much traffic we didn't get here until 4 p.m. so we only had 2½ hours to tailgate," said Phil Peckich, 22, of Robinson and Courtney Bucci, 21, of Pittsburgh.

Concert goer Stephanie Snyder, 27, called the traffic backup "not cool" from the window of a green GMC Envoy stalled in the backup outside Heinz Field.

Kelli Kimberling, 20, of Mount Washington said she and a friend were dropped off at the concert because of the heavy traffic, so they wouldn't have to look for parking. It was in short supply by 2:30 p.m. She suggested that opening the lots at 11 a.m., rather than 2 p.m., would have allayed some of the traffic.

Nate Lude, 23, from Youngstown, Ohio, said he and his group left home at 9 a.m. and weren't able to get to their parking spot until 1 p.m.

"It was horrible," he said. "There were people urinating outside their vehicles."

Some showers around 7 p.m. forced the show to be delayed for about an hour, according to public safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler.

Ms. Toler could not provide a count on the number of arrests or citations from the concert Saturday evening, but said city paramedics were busy. She hinted some concertgoers might have "overindulged in alcohol."

A spokeswoman at Allegheny General Hospital was not able to say how many concert goers the hospital had treated, but said there had been "a few" by 9 p.m.

Madasyn Czebiniak:, 412-263-1269 or on Twitter @PG_Czebiniak. Madeline R. Conway:, 412-263-1714 or on Twitter @MadelineRConway. Sean Hamill contributed.

Madasyn Czebiniak:, 412-263-1269 or on Twitter @PG_Czebiniak. Madeline R. Conway:, 412-263-1714 or on Twitter @MadelineRConway. Sean Hamill contributed.

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