What Will People Chuck At Booers Now? Comment Count

Brian August 3rd, 2010 at 3:18 PM

People are annoyed about the change to Michigan Stadium's policy about bringing water bottles into the stadium. This includes myself. Also this crotchety old man grousing about dolla dolla bills ya'll:

“I thought it was a mistake, so I called to check,” he said. “The lady who answered the phone said it wasn’t. She said they had been getting a lot of calls on it.”

Starting with the season opener against UConn on Sept. 4, bottled water is banned, university officials confirmed. They said the policy was enacted for a variety of reasons and free water will be inside for the 100,000-plus fans attending each game.

“I understand why they are doing it,” Ulisse said. “They just spent all that money on the stadium. I’m sure they want to get some money back from the concession stands.”

For the record, the stadium expansion is going to make money and it's not like hawking a few extra bottles of water is going to make a dent in 226 million dollars anyway. I pinged Bruce Madej about the change and he got back to me instantly; in that response were a couple notes about what they're doing to cope:

· Newly installed water fountains located throughout the concourse (28).
· Complimentary cups of water available at each concession stand that has soda dispensing (Still finalizing numbers but they will be quite high)

In addition, the Absopure stands have been increased from four to "more than thirty."

As to reasons for the change, Madej had three:

  • We have long lines and we can reduce wait times entering the stadium.
  • We can reduce the potential for harmful materials to be brought into the stadium.
  • We can reduce the distractions for our police officers so they can concentrate on other security measures.

In sum, Michigan is "really trying to increase the speed of getting people into the stadium."

I remain skeptical since it seems like the main effect of the policy will be to move the lines from the stadium gates to the concession/water stands, and if the complimentary water comes in a little tiny cup there are going to be a lot of thirsty people by the end of a noon game in September. The best part about bringing in your own water is being able to stay in your seat without braving the gridlock outside. Also if you get into the stadium before the band hits the field there aren't any problems.

For what it's worth, Madej did say they were looking into the logistics there, acknowledging that the current setup is impractical. If you can roll in and grab a 20-once cup of water with a lid, everything will be fine. Judging from the widespread anger and quick response from the department, at least they're devoting some time to the issue.



August 3rd, 2010 at 3:24 PM ^

This time you have gone too far, RR.  Why must you change EVERY SINGLE THING that we Michigan fans hold dear.

First the #1 Jersey fiasco, then not wanting to beat OSU.  But now you take away our constitutional right to bring our own water into the Stadium?  Fielding Yost allowed us to bring water.  Fritz Crysler allowed us to bring free water.  Bo allowed us to bring free water.  Gary Moeller, during his short stint allowed free water.  Even Lloyd allowed us to bring our own water. 

I have had it with him undoing decades of tradition.


August 3rd, 2010 at 3:27 PM ^

that will please people, is if they essentially have a table set up right inside every gate stacked to the max with thousands and thousands of cups of water.

I wonder if they realize that offering free cups of water because they refused to allow water bottles will actually HURT their concessions because all of the people that would go up to buy a pop when their water bottle ran out before will now just go up and grab a fresh cup.


August 3rd, 2010 at 3:34 PM ^

Then there's lines to fill the bottles of course, but it sounds like there are plenty of places to do that already. If that's good enough for TSA, it ought to be enough for stadium security.

I continue to think it's a dastardly concessions concession. Sure, you may not get up at the end of the half to grab a hot dog because you're just a bit peckish, but if you are dying of thirst you will go. And while you're there, you'll grab a dog too, because you're already up.

This stinks for the people (like me) who prefer to hunker down in the stands for the entire game - it means we'll either be really thirsty, PLUS, people will be crawling over us all game, OR, we'll have to join the throng in the concourse, possibly more than once per game, depending on the size of the complementary cups.


August 3rd, 2010 at 3:38 PM ^

I'll annoyed, but I'm trying to contain my outrage.  Now I walk into the stadium and they're giving away free flimsy little cups of water and selling 20oz bottles for $4 a pop right next door, then I'll upgrade to outraged.

Also I spent my entire undegrad perfecting the art of smuggling booze into that stadium, I can get H2O in there if I need.   Who are these clowns kidding with the harmful materials line?  Come October when everyone is wearing bulky coats and hoodies, you could easily get a handgun or worse through the gate.

name redacted

August 3rd, 2010 at 3:38 PM ^

anyone know, are we able to bring our own water containment device to the stadium? sans h20?  oh say, an empty water bottle we can fill up with their vokda-less, terrorist pastorized, free water sources inside the stadium?


August 3rd, 2010 at 3:42 PM ^

While generally I like Madej, and the work he's done thus far, this is just a joke.  It's a small inconvenience, sure, but geez.  My seats are in row 1 in the end zone.  LONG way to get a water and not miss any action.


August 3rd, 2010 at 6:52 PM ^

Really, this is all a ploy to make the stadium experience more egalitarian.  It devalues the seats we previously considered "good" (like those in row 1), because these seats are further from sources of water, and increases the value of row 80 seats, which are further from the action but much closer to the hydration.

Or maybe it's a way to motivate a few more people to buy boxes, with their highly convenient beverage arrangements.  Think you'll get thirsty during a game?  Don't want to wait in line?  Then buy a space in a luxury box!

Meanwhile, if they use little paper "water-cooler" style cups to dispense free water, then the Big House is going to be trashed after hot September games.  The extra cost in cleanup time would definitely balance out any added value to the concessioneers.

lexus larry

August 3rd, 2010 at 3:43 PM ^

As commenters here and on AA.com have posted, I also never had my bottles of water (or ice) checked, lids, bottoms or anything else.  About the only thing the ticket-taker or cop ever asked was to get rid of the flimsy grocery bag I was using to carry them.

Could it be the cops were padding their year end reviews, with such grand statements as "thwarted hundreds of co-eds from sneaking gin and tonics into Michigan Stadium, by checking the bottles they brought in, but it really backed up the crowds at the entry points into the stadium."

For what THAT'S worth, I've never gotten the sense that throughput getting inside the iron fences was considered a MAJOR concern...again, as posted, the back-ups are far more severe trying to get into Section 18 than anywhere trying to get in through Gate 2 or 4 or whatever.  (And note, during the first year of renovation, game 1, they actually bolted the gate at Stadium and Main shut (AFTER telling me I needed to go through the gate closest to my section, and walking past 3 other perfectly useful gates).)


August 3rd, 2010 at 7:52 PM ^

As a longtime vet of that section, 17 and  19 can have nobody waiting, just hit the stairs, and 18 will be curving past the next gate. I don't know why the hell the traffic doesn't move there. Half the time I just sneak in an cut sections as my seats are towards the end of the section anyway.


August 3rd, 2010 at 3:52 PM ^

This just means even fewer people will remain in the stadium to watch the bands' halftime shows. (The solution, of course, is relevant or engaging music with interesting sets, but good luck with that.)


August 3rd, 2010 at 4:05 PM ^

The MMB has about as captive an audience as you can get outside the borders of North Korea. At some point, if they aren't getting the patronage they desire, the leadership of the band has got to start re-evaluating their product. So, I guess I agree with the your parenthetical statement.

Monocle Smile

August 3rd, 2010 at 4:20 PM ^

As an MMB member, I am continuously frustrated by the negative reactions from both the students and alumni. We can't please both and you know this.

We did a boy bands show and the alumni wrote self-righteous, uppity letters to our director. We did an opera show and the student section fell asleep. The Big Ten outlaws electronic amplification. What the hell do you want from us?

Monocle Smile

August 3rd, 2010 at 8:17 PM ^

was actually the #1 requested show before we performed it.

Any drum corps fan will tell you that the opera show kicked ass. So did the latin show. And the Cirque du Soleil show in 2007.

The most well-received show in my tenure thus far was the Ferris Bueller thing during the 2008 show, and it was gimmicky at best. Before that, it was Led Zeppelin, and we almost always do a classic rock show. But you can't do that all the time.

I still haven't been offered a true solution. The majority of the criticism isn't specific, it's mostly "play better music" (or "play louder," which I've already discussed), so I ask for suggestions and receive none.


August 3rd, 2010 at 8:35 PM ^

Any demographic I give out would sound insensitive...

So, of the 110,000...how many of them do you think are drum corp fans? (Whatever that is).  Have to play to your audience.  You're there for them, not the other way around. The fact that Cirque du Soleil was another you mentioned seemed to accentuate the problem.

And of course, you knock the show that was most well-received, as gimmicky.  Here's one for you, since it concerns you more than anyone else here- Have you thought why that show was well received?  What about it worked? And how you could duplicate it? Or does the gimmicky nature of it offend your sensibilities too  much to consider what the people you're playing for may like?

Other shows, without really dwelling on it, that seemed to go over well to me....there was the James Bond theme day....the Under the Sea performance that made it's way all the way out to the Rose Bowl...the Titanic show where the band did the shape of the ship, and had it break in two.  

Opposing bands often are received well...have you paid attention to what people liked about them? Delaware State wasn't technically that good, but sure got a good crowd reaction.  Because they were fun, having fun, and made the patrons have fun.  What can you do like that, but maybe more technically sound than them? Rice's "mob" had a kick ass band performance a number of years back.

I think you get a lot of the criticism, because you bring it on yourself. Because I don't think your feelings of "gimmicky" are solo to you...I think there are a number (but certainly not all..maybe not most) in the band who either feel the same way, or certainly come off that way.  And it's an arrogance that hasn't been earned, because it flip flops the idea of who's there for who (the band is there for the team and fans, not the other way around), and maybe not deserved since Revelli was around. So my solution would be to get off your high horse, and play things people like, but also are playable by a major Marching Band. 

Because to the average fan...the ones your playing for...they like what you don't, and think what you say kicks ass is dreary.  I don't think you need suggestions.  You know the answers. You just don't want to see them. Or seem them, and discount them.  Which is worse.

Monocle Smile

August 3rd, 2010 at 8:54 PM ^

1) I express my frustration and ask for suggestions

2) I get accused of arrogance and told THIS:

I don't think you need suggestions. You know the answers. You just don't want to see them. Or seem them, and discount them. Which is worse.

Which basically says "I have no solution, so I'm going to bullshit my way out of this by attempting to make you feel bad." A SINGLE suggestion is too much to ask, I guess.

I think you get a lot of the criticism, because you bring it on yourself.

Yeah, we show up for school 2 weeks early to practice for 10 hours a day, rehearse during the fall semester for 2.5 hours every weekday, and show up at 7am on game day to prepare for the fans, and yet somehow the criticism is OUR fault. The only thing I accused the fan base of being is inconsistent. Nothing we ever do is received THAT well. Alumni complained about the Titanic show and the James Bond show as well. We as band members have little say in what we perform, and I'm sick of people immediately ejecting the "Play better music, damn it!" line whenever they find out I'm a member.

I know we can't please everyone. That's why I ask for help.


August 3rd, 2010 at 9:20 PM ^

...to be drawn from your exeriences is that for a performing group that gets the sort of attention that the MMB gets and for the size of the audience you regularly perform for, you will always get negative feedback.  And likely, the negative feedback will outweigh the positive feedback because most folks just don't think to say, "thanks, that was great."

I'd say the vast majority of fans think your halftime performances are wonderful.  That doesn't mean that you may have a miss on occasion, but those are generally few and far between.

Keep up the hard work.  It's appreciated.

Sgt. Wolverine

August 3rd, 2010 at 9:45 PM ^

That's so true.  My editors at my small-town newspaper field considerably more complaints than compliments, even when they're doing things right.  I'm only a powerless freelancer, and I still field complaints.  When people are happy, they don't think to compliment you; when people are mad, they're all too eager to let you know why they're unhappy.  In other words, happy people are quiet and unhappy people are loud.


August 4th, 2010 at 7:16 AM ^

We love the band but hate direction the program is headed. I was in Purdue's marching band and was in a very strong BOA band in high school. I was in awe of the MMB my entire life and especially when Nix was director of bands. When Boerma was named director of bands I was excited and thought his experience with the Scouts could really help him produce some exciting shows. Since then he has peaked with the Bueller show. Every fan out there respects the hard work the MMB members put in during three a day's in August. Standing out there in the hot parking lost in August sucks. Our complaints is not against the members but the staff of the MMB. I am also friends with a few alumni members of the MMB. I don't want to speak for them, but they have told me they are not happy with the direction Boerma has taken the MMB. If you want to see the alumni of the MMB get really vocal, then do another opera or Baroque show. I am sure performing Handel will entertain the crowd.  

Boerma's main problem is not in selecting the pieces to be played, but arrangement. The MMB has lost their full powering sound they were known for when Nix was director of Bands. I expected to get an even fuller sound from the band when Boerma was brought in and his experience from DCI. However, the exact opposite has occurred. My MMB friends have also told me the MMB has had trouble recently fielding full low brass sections (especially bones) that are required for a balanced sound from the band. 

You will never please every person in the stadium with your selections. You need to live with that fact. More judicious selection of pieces needs to be exercised. It is better to piss of just a small selection of the audience rather than the entire audience (ie the opera show). 


August 4th, 2010 at 10:00 AM ^

Yeah, I'm starting to think it is the arrangements that are killing the band. There was one moment in the Arturo Sandoval show last year where I said "wow! that band kicks ass" (which is what I used to say all the time about the MMB) It was loud and explosive, but then after that intro part it was quite and weak sounding again. This shows me that the band can be loud, but that Boerma's arrangements make it not loud. Asking for woodwind solos and putting the melody in the tenor saxophones or something like that is asking for trouble. Please, for all that is holy, don't write woodwind only solos! Who is going to hear that in the Big House?


August 4th, 2010 at 10:26 AM ^

No one is questioning the work ethic of the MMB. You guys work hard and kick ass. I was in marching band for 4 years in high school and would have joined the MMB, but got sucked in by Solar Car instead. Anyway, try reading the guy's remarks. He DOES give a suggestion, quite clearly: Play more of the stuff you think is "gimmicky" but the crowd gets into, and less of the stuff that is technically challenging and fun to play (yes, I know exactly what you mean by that), but that the crowd finds dull. Now you may not agree with that suggestion, but don't just nastily reject it and say "why won't you give me any answers?" And the whole "you can't possibly understand us or appreciate good music" schtick is probably true, but also comes off as arrogant.

I LOVE listening to marching bands. The trouble is, it's REALLY hard to hear you guys at half time (at least in the student section). It's almost impossible to hear all the technial flourishes you are so rightly proud of. Now most of this isn't your fault, because it's the noise of 100,000 people rushing to the bathrooms and concession stands and calling their sorority sisters making it hard to hear you. The solution is to get stuff that gets the crowd into it so they stick around and listen, intently. Do I know EXACTLY what that music should be? No - but I do know it will probably be closer to "gimmicky" than to "a day at the opera". If people were coming to a marching band show, you could play some more challenging (for the fans) pieces - but they are coming to a football game and you're a sideshow that's competing against a lot of distractions.

An honest query: when you say "alumni", are you hearing from general population alumni, or from marching band alumni? Obviously these groups may have different opinions. Also, the alumni in the best seats are probably the only ones that can consistently hear you well at half time (it is where you're projecting, after all), so that may lead them to appreciate more musical sets.

Anyway don't take it too personally. Lot's of people love you guys, and at least they care enough to yell at you to play better music, rather than just ignore you.


August 4th, 2010 at 5:55 PM ^

Yeah, it's accurate.  Lady Gaga was the #1 most popular request for this upcoming season by band members.  Opera was actually suggested by some of the students as well, which baffled me (I didn't want that show anywhere near the Big House, no matter how techinically impressive it was).


August 4th, 2010 at 7:24 AM ^

I am a drum corps fan (go scouts!) and I thought the opera show was my least favorite show I have seen the MMB perform. The opera show was far from the exciting and entertaining shows that DCI bands are known for, especially the Cavies, Scouts, and Cadets. It was closer to a boring glassmen show than anything. Sure it was technically sound and clean, but the arrangement and the drill was boring as hell (which is ironically what the glassmen are know for in DCI). 

The Bueller show and the Monty Python show have been the two best received shows in the past 5 years because they are fun and entertaining. Perhaps the MMB should look at those shows and realize that fun shows is how you entertain the crowd. The crowd for the most part does not care if members are fazing in their drill or you play a piece with different simultaneous beats (those are always fun for the band members to perform, but it gets lost on the audience). They just want to be entertained. 


August 4th, 2010 at 6:59 AM ^

The entire stadium fell asleep during the opera show. It was embarrassing to see the MMB get owned by a 1AA show band that afternoon. 

The show selection is just the tip of the ice berg of my complaints against Boerma. He is no Jamie Nix. Too bad Haithcok has his head to far up his ass to see Boerma running the band in to the ground. I love the Madison Scouts, but Boerma's direction for the MMB is far removed from the fan favorite shows of the Scouts. 


August 4th, 2010 at 11:42 AM ^

As a former band member under both Boerma and Nix, I will say this: buy the Blue album (all Nix) and the Maize album (all Boerma) and compare. The musicality of the Maize album is MUCH better than the Blue. What we lack in paint-stripping screeching volume we more than make up for with AMAZING tone quality. The real issue is that the crowd noise is much louder with the new luxury boxes, which tends to drown out the band.


August 4th, 2010 at 11:54 AM ^

I agree with you all the way with respect to musicality. The intonation has improved with Boerma but at price of sound. 99.99% of the fans in the stadium could not give two rips about the bands precise intonation level. They want sound. The Madison Scouts are known for their full sound, which kills their scores in DCI competition. I thought Boerma would bring this quality to the MMB. He brought the exact opposite. In essance if you want the audience to "rock out" to you like at a Madison Scouts show, then sacrifices in musicality for sound level will have to be made.

It is not the crowd noise. Especially when PSU's band out blew the MMB.


August 4th, 2010 at 9:52 AM ^

Wait, you thought boy band music would appeal to the student section?  I begin to see the root of your problem.

There's a lot of "classic" music that most us like (stuff from the 1960-1980s).  Or you can convert rap to big band music.  My high school band used to do a lot of Ludacris and Sir Mix-A-Lot.  If you don't tell anyone what it is or sing the lyrics, the old folks have no idea they should be offended and writing angry letter.

Rollout by Luda really lends itself to the Big Band sound.  

Edit:  Also I will personally assure you, if you let the MSU band do their show and as they walk off, take the field playing "Move Bitch" by Luda, the stadium will go nuts.   

Oi, Second Edit:  As a general solution, think about the game, think about the atmosphere.  Who are our heroes in that stadium?  Woodley, Graham, Jackson, Hart, players who have an edge to them.  They rip the heads off QBs, they slam into LBs and pull them over.  The only song you guys play that remotely has an edge to it is "Hail To The Victors".  Varsity puts me to sleep, Temptation and the Hawaiian War Dance are classics, but they don't exactly get me bouncing my seat.  Get some stuff that the drum corps punches out and gets me on my feet and ready to roll for the second half.  Not elevator music that serves as background music while I check scores on my phone.   When I think Woodley I don't think Hanson or Beethoven.  Go look at highlight reels on Youtube and look at the kind of music people opt to play in the background.  Get ideas from that.

End of the day, MMB seems to be all about having the alumni like them.  As long as that's what you are, the student section is going to tune you out.  If you don't like it, step it up and get the directors to change the music.   PSU found a way to get away with pumping Zombie Nation into its stadium and everyone loves it now, you can find away to play some decent music.  Let the almuni band crank the classics for Homecoming.  Yet you're going to get angry letters from some uptight alums that take the "public ivy" too seriously, but you should be pinning those up on the billboard as proof you're playing mainstream music, not catering to those who get offended by anything written post-Fielding Yost.


August 4th, 2010 at 10:54 AM ^

Man, I wrote a long response TWICE to you and both times I got crashed and lost it.

Third time's the charm, eh?

First, I want to point out that our baseline for MMB is "you guys are the shit." The Michigan Marching Band is hugely respected and admired by the Michigan fanbase. We think you are awesome; what we want is simply for you to be more awesome.

I think there's some constructive criticism in the thread below that you are reading as simple discontent. I think we need to do a better job of explaining exactly what we want from you.

When I was a kid, before the band came out of the tunnel, the stadium would literally shake. When the band exited, you could hear them from the Fleetwood; if you were at Elbel you might as well be in the building (the stadium probably has more to do with that). They drowned out the loudspeakers. They hurt your ears 20 rows up.

When we say "play louder" we mean rock the fuck out!

We want the horns to pucker up andd fucking blow. We want to see a trail of withered and abused reeds following the wind section wherever they march. We want the line to notice they have two perfectly good beat sticks, and a drum who has been a very very bad drum. We want to see a torrent of spit released from every valve, a cascade of sweat on every uniform by halftime.

What we are asking is that you sacrifice, oh, 25 percent of pitch and notes and synchronity and adopt a punk mentality. I want you to play your instruments as if their bells were in the face of a particularly shitty referee and only maximum sound could Lloyd his attention. If it's between hitting your notes, or hitting our testicles, my vote is with the boys.

On music selection, I'm pretty much down with most everything you choose to play (so long as it's never Good Charlotte, in which case I will find marshmallows and chuck them into your sousaphones so help me G-d!). I loved when you did Thriller and danced to it a few years ago, and the Guitar Hero thing, and when you Rick Roll'd 111,000 people at once.

If I may make a show request to launch this new paradigm, let it be thus:

1) Play "Sometimes When You're On" by Rilo Kiley as a shoutout to the bloggers (when it hits the hard-ass second verse you will wow the fanbase with your newfound LOUD

2) "Like a Rolling Stone" by Bob Dylan. Ever hear the bootleg of when Dylan is responding to the guy who calls him Judas and turns to his band and says "Play it really fucking loud!"? The band then goes on to play a very very loud, very not-perfect rendition of Dylan's first electric hit, and it is more awesome than the album version or any music written until that point. That's a seminal moment in music history. It's the "Snare Heard Round the World." You could perfectly recapture that moment.

3) It's high time you bring back "Michigan Replay" or at least the cheesy blacksploitation funk theme that went with it.

Remember your primary purpose out there on Saturdays in not to deliver a concert, but to provide maximum entertainment. You are essentially cheerleaders, and as such, our mood and cheering tenacity will follow your leadership.

Ultimately what I'm talking about is a paradigm shift. Don't take yourselves, or us for that matter, so damn seriously. Just go out there and play from the scrotum, especially when it's time to sing "The Victors."


August 4th, 2010 at 12:30 PM ^

Just for the record the Michigan Replay music has already been arranged by the alumni band. They decided to name it "Mr. Bo's Theme." Why I'm not sure since its real name is something like "Across on 110th Street" Current Bandos, tell Boerma to ask John Willkins for it. It is both foxy and funky all in one song!


August 4th, 2010 at 1:33 PM ^

That one alumni twirler also get props.  You guys know the one i'm talking about.  That old guy that shows up every other twirler on the field.   I've always wanted to have a drink with that guy.


August 4th, 2010 at 6:38 PM ^

What do you mean by "old guy"? Do you mean gray haired fellow who still rocks it out? I agree completely. Do you mean the guy with the curly brown hair (kinda jew fro) who used to have the glasses but obviously has gotten contacts or lasik, who's always doing the impressive twirls...but is just "old" to someone in college? Because if you mean that guy, no, you don't want to have a drink with that guy.  He was a douche. My dorm roommate threatened to throw him out a window once, and I know someone who knocked him on his ass when he had the band tangling up the cables in the middle of a game on the sidelines.  There are better people to drink with.