Massachusetts: Is Fenway Park Or Gillette Stadium Better For Concerts?
The homes of the Red Sox and Patriots also host some epic concerts. This year, some of the biggest artists in the world have opted for the stadium experience. But is Fenway Park or Gillette Stadium a better concert experience?
I’ve broken down the criteria into a few pertinent categories. Location, sound, lineup, and general atmosphere. Both Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium are hosting concert events in 2023. The land of the Green Monster has already the likes of P!NK and Dead and Company (to name a few). They still have legendary acts like Guns n’ Roses still to come. This week we see three nights of Morgan Wallen take center field.
As for Foxboro, back in May there was a three-night weekend stretch of arguably the hardest ticket in town. No, I’m not talking about Monster Jam. As you well-know, people are still raving about Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. Still to come at Patriot Place this year is two nights of Bruce Springsteen. Next summer, Bill Belichick will be raising the horns for two night of Metallica in the round.
As for my experience, in full disclosure, I have been to about a dozen rock concert nights at Fenway Park (including Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters), and six shows at Gillette Stadium (including a festival).
With all due respect, this is a no-brainer for me. I live 20 miles outside the city and Fenway Park is still twice as convenient for me to get to. Furthermore, there are numerous mass transportation options available that give the option of car-less experience. Any concert venue where the time it takes to get out of the parking lot after the show is longer than the actual concert itself, is a red flag. One point goes to Fenway here.
I am not picky here. Although we are comparing 35,000 capacity to 65,000 capacity, we are dealing with stadium-sized PA systems all the same. Given the bowl shape of Gillette and the open air, as compared to the walls and congestion of the city, I will give a slight edge to Gillette here.
As I mentioned, the biggest names in music are coming to both of these venues. Fenway Park is a landmark. It’s really all about personal preference. Fenway has consistently billed a nice mix of rock bands who have never played there, as well as acts that have made it a tradition (like Zac Brown). I’m buying the Fenway ticket here.
Lansdowne Street bar crawls vs. acres of open parking lot tailgate space. I simply prefer options. Although there are a great number of bars in Patriot Place to get your pre-game on, the Fenway area has done a remarkable job of accenting the park with everything you can imagine. In fact, there’s even the MGM Fenway Music hall right up against right field. I recall looking up at the sky as Red Hot Chili Peppers rocked “Dani California” last September and being in awe of how the city skyline was blanketing the overall experience. I stood three-free from second base as Eddie Vedder teared up about how the teenage kid in him never would have guessed he would be singing from center field at Fenway. Sure, there are better sounding rooms in many New England places, but to me, on the right night, there’s a magic to a concert at Fenway Park.
Three to one, Fenway Park is my champion, edging out Gillette Stadium as the better place to catch a concert of your choice. While I am for (evermore) in awe of what Taylor Swift brought to Foxboro, Jeff’s version is simply captivated by the Folklore of Fenway.