I got there about 9:30ish, and all my coworkers thought I was a lunatic. But I was still the 123rd person there. About 40ish more people showed up after me within the next hour, and it pretty much slowed down after that until a few hours before the show. Damn the Ice Palace for putting this entry out on the west side of the building, with all the glaring sunlight. Damn me for not thinking of bringing something for shade, lol. So yes, I ended up with half of a sunburn (on my right side) because I didn't rotate enough.
I ended up in a group of 8 people, including the guy I sold my extra ticket to. He had been up and about when I first sat down, when he came back he was like "do any of you happen to have an extra ticket? or know someone?" I became hero for the day. He gave me $60 for it... which is so not what I paid for it. But oh well, I brought joy to another U2 fan.
So, I'm not sure if I'll ever do GA again. The main reason - I am no good in the heat. Not only was it hot out in the Floridian sun, but it was just as bad inside. I did have a good spot, though. Not in the ellipse, but outside the rail by 2-3 people, almost dead center, just the slightest bit to the right. This changed a bit during the show, which leads to my second reason for not wanting to do GA again. GA is "push-or-be-pushed," at least up front. And I am the world's largets pacifist, so I ended up about 5-6 people out from the rail by the end of the show. Which was fine by me. So, let me introduce you to the personalities...
The Heckler - I'm sure every concert has one, and I ended up near him of course. He yelled at Gavin Rossdale, and announced every song. Dude, Gavin can't hear you, and we don't want to. Shut up! He had gotten this cookie thing in Brazil made by Nestle called Bono. He wanted to give it to him, so he wanted us to push him up front, at least he agreed to go back to his spot... but much pushing ensued afterwards.
The Large People - I had this 6'8" behemoth of a man behind me, and he was standing like... against me. So whenever he jumped... I jumped. His girlfriend wasn't much smaller, and elbowed me in the head near the end of the concert. Ah well, I was enjoying myself at that point.
City Of Blinding Lights - Yay opener! It didn't hit me how close I was to the ellipse until Bono came out. He was turning around, and he was facing away from us at one point, and then looked back over his shoulder and gave such a MacPhistoish grin. It was great.
Vertigo - I elbowed someone in the head during this one, and decided to pretty much keep my arms down.
Elevation - the arrangement this year is the epitome of audience participation. The first two verses are just Edge doing his guitar clicks, while he, Bono, and Larry chant the words, and the crowd gets the first two EL - E - VA - TION!s Then they all come in.
Mysterious Ways - total surprisage! The dude over in u2setlists even said something about mixing up the set. This one usually appears in the encore. I, of course, couldn't wait for Edge to go off on his guitar solo. No one got pulled on stage to dance with Bono, though.
Until The End Of The World - I got what I wanted!! Definitely not the Achtung-heavy concert I was hoping for but meh... I got this one. Even if they didn't do the bullfight out on the ellipse *sniffle*.
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / In A Little While (snippet) - eh, one I didn't care to hear, but it was alright. During the intro The Heckler decided to shout out what was playing. Dude, we know, STFU.
Beautiful Day / Many Rivers To Cross (snippet) - I dunno who sings Many Rivers To Cross, but it was a beautiful addition to the song.
Original Of The Species - again, usually appears in the encores. Trying a different arrangement, I guess. Edge is on guitar, and Dallas comes out to play the keyboard. I would've preferred the other, softer arrangement, but I guess the guys aren't as comfortable with that one.
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own / Torna A Surriento (snippet) - not sure who originally sings this foreign snippet either. Bono was RIGHT EFFIN' THERE when he hits that high note. It was beautiful.
Love And Peace Or Else - Yay for close Larry-ness. Everyone else had been out on the ellipse so far, and now we're complete. I'm pretty sure Bono forgot the lyrics during the bridge, but I was too busy dealing with all the pushing as The Heckler was trying to give Bono his gift.
Sunday Bloody Sunday / Rock The Casbah (snippet) - The Heckler went back, as he said, but some other little chick got up there, so more major pushing. This is the point where I just let anyone slide in front of me. Once I was about 5 people back, everyone was nicer, and I enjoyed the show more.
Bullet The Blue Sky / When Johnny Comes Marching Home (snippet) / The Hands That Built America (snippet) - I still don't think THTBA fits in sonically, but oh well.
Miss Sarajevo - I think I prefer the studio version to the live version. But it's still amazing how Bono can hit all of Pavarotti's notes.
Pride (In The Name Of Love) - just some fun "OH!-oh-oh-oh"ing.
Where The Streets Have No Name - I dunno. It's not one of my favorite songs, but it is definitive U2. I expected the crowd to go wild, and it only mildly got more pumped up. It wasn't the amazing revelation it appeared to be in concert DVDs and I was a little bummed. Maybe the song is just growing dated, I dunno...
One / Ol' Man River (snippet) - yay for my favorite song as the set closer. Plus the piece of Ol' Man River is great, but it's more than just a snippet.
The First Time - it's quite pretty live, for a song I don't give a second thought to. Yay for more Edge on the ellipse.
Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of - a dedication to Michael Hutchence.
With Or Without You - I thought we'd get the ever-popular third verse, but we didn't. Someone got pulled up for this one. I'm pretty sure Larry wasn't even drumming for the first third of the song, must've been tracked, poor aching Lars. :-(
All Because Of You - yay for ear-piercing intros (note sarcasm). LOL, still it was fun, more stompy!Edge guitar solos, which you gotta love.
Yahweh - I wanted them out on the ellipse for this one, but ah well. This song is definitely growing on me.
40 - I think this one's growing on me, too, for a religious song. (Heh, funny, it's playing now on my iTunes.) As far as live versions, I'm just used to hearing the snippet in between Bad and Streets on the Boston Elevation DVD. I like the whole thing live. I like how the guys leave stage one at a time, and the biggets celeb is the first to go, and the drummer remains. I also love how Larry stands there a second, and then crashes back into the beat for a final round before leaving. The crowd didn't sing too long after the guys were finally gone, so it almost made me want "Bad" for a closer.
So... while I'm anti-social and overestimated my GA tolerance, I still had a good time. The guys were superb, of course, I only wish they had been out on the Ellipse more. That's my only qualm with them.