NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Sunday night marked a huge step in New York’s reopening.
Madison Square Garden welcomed back fans at full capacity for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started. Thousands of vaccinated people gathered to watch the Foo Fighters take the stage, CBS2’s Cory James reported.
The concert began at 8 p.m., but many of the more than 15,000 fans that attended started showing up long before then, a number of them in their gear, waiting for the Foo Fighters to rock the world’s most famous arena.
The show marked the first full capacity event at MSG since COVID-19 capacity restrictions were recently lifted in New York.
Fans told James they were happy to see more normalcy return after more than a year of the pandemic.
“I woke up one morning, heard the radio that said in 20 minutes if you have the Citi card you can get presale and I jumped out of bed and I got them,” said Kim Durso of Long Island.
“It has been a long time now, between the lockdowns and everything else, so it’s just going to be exciting … 18,000, 19,000 people here celebrating,” added Scott Cronin of Mahopac, New York.
“They’re just electric. I love Dave Grohl,” one fan said.
“I want to see him shake his head the way he shakes his hair,” Durso said laughing.
“It’s going to be a good night,” another fan said.
Yvonne Saldivar from San Antonio, Texas wasted no time buying a ticket to the show and booking a flight to the Big Apple for the first time.
“This is a bucket list kind of thing, perfect timing. The city is open,” Saldivar said.
In order to watch the band rock out, concertgoers had to be fully vaccinated. All of them had to show proof of that before going through the door.
But, outside the venue, anti-vaxxers protested, saying the COVID-19 vaccine should not be required for events.
When asked if he wanted to go to the concert, upstate New Yorker John Allenville said, “Does that matter? No, I didn’t want to go, but this is just the first step. Should we be forced to take a vaccine or lose our freedom?”
The opposition, however, did not ruin the excitement for Foo Fighters fans. They were just happy to taste pre-pandemic life again and enjoy Father’s Day.
“I haven’t been to this venue in years,” one person said.
“I actually had the COVID, spent nine days on a ventilator, so this is like monumental for us,” another fan said.
The Foo Fighters also dedicated the show to their stage manager, who recently passed away.
Trey Anastasio, also of the band Phish, is next up at the Garden, Tuesday night.
This story was first posted on Sunday, June 20.