This was our second time redeeming Starpoints for an SPG Moment. The Moments program started years ago and has featured some pretty awesome opportunities to redeem points for something other than hotel rooms and airline tickets. Not that Starwood doesn’t have some great hotels. This is just a decidedly different sort of redemption.
The last SPG Moment I won was the best use of points I’ve ever had. I bid on (and won) a tennis lesson with Andre Agassi at the US Open. I can still remember the look on my wife’s face when she found out that she (not me) was the one doing the lesson.
It was unbelievable. Andre was very welcoming and friendly. He was a great teacher. And, we even got some priceless video when he scorched one past Michelle near the end of her time on the court. After that, we relaxed in the SPG suite and watched some great tennis.
SPG Moments are probably one the biggest thing I’ll miss if Marriott kills the program once they complete the merger between the two companies. Up until last week, I thought that was likely. Instead, Marriott rolled out their own version with some pretty cool auctions to get started.
I’m going to divide this post up into two parts. I’ll cover the Wrigley Field box that SPG has and some general things about the concert. If you’re a Billy Joel fan, make sure you read to the bottom to nerd out on some video footage from the concert.
Starpoints + Wrigley + Billy Joel = Fun
I redeemed roughly 50,000 Starpoints for two tickets to a Billy Joel performance at Wrigley Field. My wife and I are both big Billy Joel fans. Some people think we might have “spent” a bit too much, considering the value of Starpoints. It’s a valid point, but I lean towards thinking it was a good value. However, I’ve got pictures of the suite and the view that should help you make your own decision.
As a side note, a friendly usher helped us find the SPG suite. She was also nice enough to let us take a picture of the World Series ring the team gave employees.
The suite itself is small. Wrigley is an older ballfield, so that part wasn’t terribly surprising. The SPG box is nicely appointed, nicer than the adjacent suites. There were a total of 12 seats outside the glass. There were an additional handful of seats inside the enclosed portion of the suite.
The food consisted of wings, meatballs, BBQ, hot dogs, popcorn and a fruit platter.
Drinks were a variety of beer, hard cider, 4 types of wine as well as soft drinks.
How’s The View?
There’s no question the SPG suite is a great spot to watch a baseball game. Shaded and sitting just over home plate, the suite is this baseball fan’s dream spot to watch a game. Maybe when the Yankees come to Wrigley….
Is it a good spot to watch a concert? Here are some pictures of the stage, both during daylight and at night. Apologies for some of the picture quality. The stage lights made it tough to get great pictures once the show started.
Lastly, both Michelle and I noted that the music was on the loud side. There were times it seemed the instruments overwhelmed the vocals. After listening to the video (where the sound seems clearer), I’m wondering if the low ceiling or glass wall behind us caused some increased intensity.
It’s entirely possible we’re just old, too. The seats directly below us (right behind home plate) were blocked off for the concert. They didn’t get sold because they were obstructed view from the merchandise tent and tech booth. As the show crept on, it filled up with folks looking to create their own dance floor. With the crowd quite a bit older than any other concert Michelle and I have attended, we dubbed it the “old people’s mosh pit.” Take a look:
Final Two Pennies For Non-Billy Joel Fans
I think I could go either way on the “value” of 2 seats in a luxury box for a concert at Wrigley. Tickets on the after-market weren’t cheap but could be had for less than the price of 2 cents per point at 50,000 Starpoints ($1,000). I have zero perspective on where “great” concert seats are, other than the ones where you can see the sweat dripping off the face of the performer. I wouldn’t call these “great” seats, per se. But, I really don’t think you could argue we overpaid by some huge margin.
Now, If You’re A Billy Joel Fan….
None of this video quality is what you’d call spectacular. I took about 15 or 20 videos on my iPhone 7 plus. We weren’t particularly close to the stage. The lighting made focusing troublesome at times. And, if you see the picture shimmering, that’s the vibrations from the music when I set the phone on the steel girder in front of our seat. It was LOUD! Bottom line, none of the images are that great. But, for Billy Joel fans there are some memorable funny moments.
First up is a short video of Billy and the band warming up their pipes to one of the songs from Lion King. No, I don’t remember the name. I’ll go with “Lion Sleeps Tonight”.
As I mentioned, the concert was at Wrigley Field. Billy decided to have some fun singing “Go, Cubs, Go!” The only song that got louder applause was Piano Man. Awesome.
“Don’t have any money??? Where did all the money go???” More fielder’s choice at Billy Joel:
Billy Joel brought a fly swatter on stage to handle the Chicago bugs. When that didn’t work, he reverted to bug spray. And, then did a pretty darn good tribute to the Beatles.
“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.” Well, not really. More multiple choice for the fans:
A really great riff of 25 or 6 to 4 by Chicago by Billy Joel:
The Really Final Two Pennies
Lastly, we both witnessed a new phenomenon that will totally date me. You see, when I used to attend concerts (already sounding incredibly old) people used to bring lighters to concerts. During slow songs or when you wanted the band to come back out on stage, you’d “flick your bic” and hold it up. It appears that technique has been replaced:
I really liked that he let the audience choose the first 3 or 4 songs. He did all the great hits you would expect, playing for almost 3 hours. As Billy Joel fans, we definitely enjoyed being there. As I mentioned earlier, the music was very loud in the box. However, it sounds much better on video. I’m wondering if the low ceiling and glass behind us caused the sound to get trapped there while we were listening. I’d like to hear him in a more intimate setting if the opportunity presents itself.
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