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May 13th, 2005

GA questions @ 06:41 pm

canadanne:
I'm currently feelin: nervous nervous

OK, it's just over a month until I get to see U2 - I've got GA tickets for both the London shows - so it's time to start planning properly. This will be the first time I've done the GA thing, so I have a few questions for those of you who are more experienced at it!  Bear in mind these will be UK stadium shows, so I need to know the specifics of how that's likely to work - it might be a totally different setup from US / arena gigs. Though obviously any general queueing tips are welcome!

I'm really keen to get a spot at the rail (whether I'm inside the ellipse or not), so I plan to be hardcore and line up in the early hours of the morning for both gigs. Unless I change my mind when the time comes, this means I probably won't be going anywhere near a bed after the first gig - it'll be a case of trying to get a couple of hours' sleep in the GA line.

So, questions...

1) Any tips for how to sleep comfortably outside a stadium, without the use of a sleeping bag or any kind of bedding (as I can't exactly lug such things around with me during the concert)?

2) At some point in between the two shows, I'm gonna want to have a shower and get changed, which means nipping back to the hotel. It's a 15 minute train ride each way, so this would probably mean disappearing for about an hour altogether - can you get away with leaving the GA line for that long, or would that be pushing my luck?

3) I'd really like to try and meet the band at some point during the weekend. I don't think the finding-their-hotel thing is really an option, so it'd have to be either when they arrive or when they leave the stadium. What are my best chances?  I've heard conflicting stories about when they tend to leave - some reckon it's straight away, some say it's worth hanging around for a couple of hours. On the other hand, trying to catch them on the way in sounds even harder - surely you'd have to wait for ages as there's no telling when they'd arrive, and wouldn't you risk losing your spot in the GA line while you were on this mission?  How do you figure out where the right entrance is, anyway?

4) Since you can't take large bags into the shows, I plan to buy some kind of bum-bag type thing to keep my essential items in. But I need to know what those essential items are, so I can ensure I get something the right size! Obviously I'll need my tickets, money, hotel key, comb + mirror... what else?  If it's really hot I might stick one of those mini-fans in as well. I just hope it won't rain... I suppose I should take a cheap plastic mac to London and just leave it in the hotel room if the forecast is good...

5) Is there likely to be a certain time of day when we should definitely be in line (e.g. due to numbers / wristbands / whatever being handed out)?

6) Food and drink tips?  How much / what kind of stuff should I bring with me?  I'll probably want to avoid eating and drinking too much, considering toilet breaks will be pretty much impossible once we're inside the stadium (which will be hours before the show even starts). :/  But I'm also aware of how hungry I can get when I'm bored!

7) Is it worth getting ear plugs, or do people generally not bother?  I'm just slightly concerned about the loudness factor, being right at the front, for two nights in a row. But I don't particularly want to wear them unless it's strongly recommended.

8) I am five foot tall; how much would I be able to see from different parts of the floor?  If I was lucky enough to get into the ellipse, I quite like the idea of standing somewhere along the walkway (chance of extreme Bono closeness!), but would I still have a decent view of the main stage from out there?  Conversely, if I stood right near the main stage would I be missing out on all kinds of fun at the tip of the walkway?

Ummmm... anything else I should know?

Thanks in advance!!
 
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From:walrusoct9
Date:May 13th, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC)
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We camped out overnight for all of the Chicago shows. The way it's worked at most, if not all of the U.S. shows, is that the first person there becomes the appointed line director. The way we've been doing it is that when people arrive, we give them numbers, we write their number and name down on a list and write the number on their wrist.

Until about an hour before the doors open, the "line" wasn't really a line, it was more like a few hundred people gathered along a couple of blocks. The important thing was that you were there and knew the people who were in front of you and behind you, and that they knew who you were. No one cared if someone left the line to get food or shower or do whatever, all that mattered was that you were there for a decent amount of time and the people around you could verify it. Obviously this involved a lot of self-policing, since no one goes down the line every hour to check if all the numbers are there. But this is what we did in San Diego and all the Chicago shows and for the most part it worked really well. I was able to leave on most days to go take a shower or go to class for a couple of hours, as was everyone else in our group, and we had no problems.

Things may be different in London, seeing as there's way more floor tickets, and I don't know what the attitudes are about this kind of thing, but hopefully someone who gets there early on will start a numbering system and the people in line will respect it.

Incidentally, the band arrived at the venue in Chicago between 2:30 and 4:00 each day.
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From:canadanne
Date:May 13th, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC)
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That's quite reassuring, I hope it'll be the same here. Thanks!
From:walrusoct9
Date:May 13th, 2005 06:01 pm (UTC)
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Are you going with friends? Even if they don't do numbers, if there's a couple of you, you can always just leave one person at a time to go shower, eat, etc. and you should be okay.
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From:canadanne
Date:May 13th, 2005 06:06 pm (UTC)
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I'm going with *a* friend, so that's a possibility, although I'm not hugely enthusiastic about travelling around London on my own. I'm hoping to line up with another friend or two as well, but until we get there I don't know if that'll work out.
From:u2nicky
Date:May 13th, 2005 06:30 pm (UTC)
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It should work out no probs. If your doing the overnight thing for the second night. We should meet-up after the first show, tho chances are we will be quite close anyways I would imagine. You and Coral can go away and do whatever on the sunday morning, then I can do the same when you return?
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From:canadanne
Date:May 13th, 2005 10:49 pm (UTC)
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That would be ideal!
From:u2nicky
Date:May 13th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC)
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1. Take 1 piece beding if you *really* need it. But remember you'd have to leave it on the street. Cardboard is usually what people use. You *will* sleep after the 1st show, whether it be in a bed, on a slab whatever.

2. Leaving the line isn't a problem. As long as you have somebody to verify your place in line. If your gonna go away for a lengh of time, do so early morning.

3. Pot luck there. The band may come to the GA line like they have done this year, or they may not. Do remember the doors open at 5. Band are not on til 9pm. There most likely to arrive whilst we're inside the stadium. Hanging around anywhere else away from the queue will likely result in you missing wristband handouts.

4. Camera? Small food items? U2 have got a policey for this tour, your allowed a point and shoot camera.

5. Doors open at 5. I wouldn't leave the line at all after 3pm. They've gotta hand out the bracelets and stuff out before 5pm. They dont announce when they do this!

6. Do yer main eating in the morning. Have some small items of food on your for when your in the stadium. You wont want to leave your spot.

7. No. You'll have sore ears for a few days. But I've never had anything that's laste longer than a day. The loudness is part of the fun. earplugs would ruin that imo.

8. We're not having an ellipse in Europe apparently. So you'll have the choice if your there early of course. First night in London they will probably do most of the show on the main stage. Its usually the second night they spend more time out on the tip. Its really hard to say about what kind view your going to have. You'll know better once pictures surface of the first shows in Europe.
From:u2nicky
Date:May 13th, 2005 09:07 pm (UTC)
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Opps! Doors open at 4pm not 5! Gonna be a looong time inside the stadium.
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From:canadanne
Date:May 13th, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)

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It's crazy isn't it??  I don't know how people are expected to manage, stuck in the same spot for hours. Nobody's gonna want to lose their place, but people have needs...
From:u2nicky
Date:May 14th, 2005 12:13 am (UTC)
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You should be ok to leave your spot for the first hour or so. But yeah once the support starts, thats usually when the place starts to fill up. So you should expect to be stuck in that spot from about 7.

Hopefully we get 2 support bands! Would make it go much quicker.
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From:canadanne
Date:May 13th, 2005 10:53 pm (UTC)

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Cheers for all these tips... I hadn't even thought of cardboard!

We're not having an ellipse in Europe apparently.

Oh really??  I hadn't heard that... quite surprised if that's the case, they did scale up the heart for the outdoor Elevation shows!  Still, at least it would remove some of the decisions!
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From:playingthetart
Date:May 13th, 2005 06:30 pm (UTC)
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1. Bring a jacket and sleep on that. Sometimes people will all curl up together.

2. Usually jumping out of the line for an hour isn't that big of a deal. Everyone else in the line understands the need for a shower, but there's an issue if you show up, get a number, and aren't seen for the rest of the night.

3. The best way to meet the band is to be discreet. In all honesty, it's posts like these that have people not missing the band. By alerting everyone to the fact that you can wait and meet them, where and a time, means double or triple the amount of people will be doing so. When people get loud and anxious the band spend less time outside for security reasons. And they generally enter the arena around the same time span.

4. The only essentials you're going to need ar cash and your tickets. Both can go in pockets. If you're GA I wouldn't suggest having any sort of bag with you, but that's a personal choice. If you want to keep it on while you're at the show, you're going to have to keep generally still. And if you're going to take it of, you're constantly going to have to watch it.

5. No definite time, but the sooner the better. There will be people who have waited out for 24-26 hours and people that show up a couple of hours before the show. That ought to give you an idea as to where you want to be in line.

6. You're only going to be inside the arena for about 2 and a half hours before the show. An hour, the then opening band comes on for about 40 minutes, and then another hour. You should be able to eat and drink just fine throughout the day before hand.

7. It's a concert. Do you want to hear it or have it dulled? It's not that loud, especially if you're shouting the lyrics along with the band.

8. They spend an equal amount of time onstage as they do on the ramp (Bono, anyway). Being 5 foot you've got a good chance of someone taller, somewhere, getting into your way but it happens to all of us.
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From:canadanne
Date:May 13th, 2005 11:07 pm (UTC)
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I don't really want to take a jacket as I expect it'll be pretty hot at the gig... and I don't have any pockets in the outfit I plan to wear!  I'll just have to look for a small pouch that won't interfere too much with jumping around.

Re: question 5, oh yes, I'll be queueing up very early to be near the front. Just wanted to know if there were any particular times when it's a bad idea to leave the line.

I think we're gonna be in the stadium for about 4 hours before the main show starts!  So it will take some careful planning beforehand...

Thanks for the reply!
From:u2nicky
Date:May 14th, 2005 12:17 am (UTC)
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Well I use a small bumbag type thing for all the gigs I attend. Never notice its there. Just don't fill it with stuff and you'll not notice its there. Those are ideal.
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From:playingthetart
Date:May 14th, 2005 06:05 am (UTC)
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You can always wrap a jacket around your waist. Or, at least, it's easier than carrying an entire blanket.

Anytime after 3pm you probably don't want to leave.

Inside the staduim for 4 hours beforehand? That's almost..insanely impossible, because both bands will still be soundchecking at that time.
From:u2nicky
Date:May 14th, 2005 04:12 pm (UTC)
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Inside the staduim for 4 hours beforehand? That's almost..insanely impossible, because both bands will still be soundchecking at that time.

Not really. Doors for the stadium shows open at 4pm. Quite early considering the usual time for doors opening at stadium shows is 2pm here in the UK. Bands soundcheck the day before for stadium shows
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From:playingthetart
Date:May 14th, 2005 06:41 pm (UTC)
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...Even as I read it I completely forgot that Europe was stadium shows.

Ne'eeer, explains serious amounts of confusion on my part.
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From:playingthetart
Date:May 13th, 2005 06:33 pm (UTC)
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3. Not meeting the band***
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From:unorthodox_muse
Date:May 13th, 2005 06:55 pm (UTC)
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Annie I would highly recoomend getting a couple of blankets from a second hand store that you can throw into the garbage when you are done with them. And bring a couple of large sized trash bags incase it rains.
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From:hbpen
Date:May 14th, 2005 06:33 pm (UTC)
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I *always* wear earplugs to gigs anymore. But in Chicago (nosebleed seats), I took them out. The sound was AMAZING. The best SOUND of any show I've been to, and my ears barely rang afterward. Hub thinks any ringing was due to the crowd, not the actual show. He says U2 use these mega-kick-ass-amazing-expensive-no-one-else-can-afford-them speakers that make the sound so wonderful. I'd say, take some with you, just in case, but give it a try without too.
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From:amphibious_one
Date:May 14th, 2005 07:45 pm (UTC)
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I agree with the person sugggesting earplugs. It frustrates me that people take tinnitus after a show as a given (and badge of honour), when concerts shouldn't have to be that loud. We'll all be deaf by the time we're 40...

If you're going to be lining up really early, would you mind my joining you? I'm flying from the other side of the world by myself to see these concerts and it would be such a relief to have someone to line up with.
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From:canadanne
Date:May 14th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
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The more the merrier!
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From:amphibious_one
Date:May 14th, 2005 08:49 pm (UTC)
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Brilliant. :D

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