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vertigojds

Josh's GA And RZ Notes And Random Thoughts From The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

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Hi, I'm Josh!  I attended four JT tour shows in the past few weeks, two of which I had regular GA for (Philadelphia and Foxboro) and one of which I had Red Zone tickets for (East Rutherford 2).  I've been happily answering some questions about the experience of lining up and finding a good spot on the floor via PMs, and realized that this info might be useful to other people here as well.  So here are some random musings, observations and notes from those shows.  I'd like to add the caveat that these experiences were specific to the concerts I attended; it's entirely possible that everything from the venue rules to the band's setlist could be different at yours.  Always check with the local venue before making plans, in case their rules are different than what I encountered. 

About Capacity
-This may be the single most important thing.  Getting close is a numbers game - the higher your number, the closer you are.  Generally, these large stadiums hold around 10,000 people on the floor.  At the shows I did GA for, when the doors opened at 5pm, less than 1000 people had lined up already.  This meant that if you showed up right at 5pm, you would still be in front of about 90% of the people there, which is an incredibly good position to find yourself in.  It turns out that because the stage is so large, there's a huge amount of rail space lining both the main stage, the ramp connecting the two stages, and the b-stage.  It takes well over a hundred people to fill all of the rail spots.

About Lining Up
-Most venues have specific policies about when and where they want people to begin lining up.  For each of the shows I attended, I had purchased the tickets from Ticketmaster, and the week of the show, Ticketmaster sent me an email with venue policies specific to that show.  The venues also had that information posted on their websites, and also shared the same information on social media.
-Most venues do not want fans lining up overnight or in the days before.  The venues have generally been very clear about this.  A select group of fans have taken it upon themselves to create advance lists and check-in systems.  If you've seen me post here before, you probably know I'm not in favor of this.  My issue isn't about people waiting longer than others.  My issue is that if 10,000 people get an email from Ticketmaster or the venue saying not to show up before a certain time, it's not right that maybe fifty or a hundred people can come up with their own rule and expect that to be honored.  Some venues have honored the fan-run lists, while others have not.  Personally, these list lines have not been fun for me in recent years but your mileage may vary.  If you do decide to participate in one, be aware that the venue may not honor it in the end.
-I don't think the list thing is worth getting involved with, even if the venue has decided to condone it.  I arrived at the Philadelphia show at about 1pm and was given number 666.  This ended up getting me a spot about 2 people back from Bono's center microphone position on the main stage.  The person in front of me had waited since the crack of dawn.  The person behind me wandered right in when the doors opened.  At a certain point, waiting extra hours in line stops paying off - there's a point where each extra hour is only buying you inches closer to the stage, not feet.
-For Philadelphia, I got there at 1pm, was #666, and had an amazing spot two people back from Bono
-For Foxboro, my friends and I decided not to line up at all, and simply entered the venue at 5:30pm.  Much of the floor was still open.  We could have been as close as five people back from the main stage center, or had the rail to the right of Adam.  We intentionally picked a spot to the right of Larry's drum kit on the tree stage, about five or six people away, so that we'd have a good view of both the main stage and b-stage.
-For the East Rutherford Red Zone, due to a bus delay I didn't get there until 5:30pm.  I was able to get a rail spot along the ramp that connects the b-stage and main stage.  If I had preferred to be by the b-stage, I would have been no further than one person back.

About Where To Stand
-There are a lot of good spots on the floor, and this is really all about preference.  Do you want to see the band members up close?  Do you want room to breathe?  Do you want a view of the entire stage and screen?  There's no wrong answer.  With that said, let me tell you more about my spots and my choices so that at least you've got a basis of comparison.
-There's a lot of rail!  Not only that, but the rail is a good distance from the stage.  There's enough room for security people and roadies to stand between you and the stage and then some.  It's not close to the stage the way it was for the indoor Innocence & Experience tour.  If you have a rail spot, you will still not be able to reach out and touch the band members.  There's still a bit of a distance. 
-The b-stage is a mirage!  OK, that's exaggerating it, but I know that a lot of people spend a lot of time waiting specifically so they can be close to the b-stage.  I don't really get it.  It is true that the b-stage is lower than the main stage, so when the band plays there, people standing by the b-stage are a little bit closer to the band than people by the main stage are when the band is there.  But the band doesn't spend a lot of time on the b-stage.  They will play approximately 4 songs at the b-stage to open the show, and then may or may not play the last song of the night there.  Additionally, Bono will sing parts of Exit on the b-stage, and Adam and Bono may travel to the b-stage for parts of One.  Depending on the night, Bono may or may not sing parts of Beautiful Day, Elevation and Ultraviolet on the b-stage.  On the other hand, the band will play about 17 songs on the main stage, most of which they'll all be present for.  For me, I'll take being close for 17 songs over being close for 4 songs.  One thing also worth nothing: because the b-stage is lower, it's harder to see the band there when you're more than a couple people back.
-The main stage is higher, so if you're in front of it, you'll be looking up at the band members rather than being at eye-level.  But I don't think that's a problem.  Standing 2-3 people back from the center of the main stage, I was able to see the band members up close, and could still clearly see what was on the screen behind them, even being that close.  I think the ideal balance of screen and stage might be more like 5-6 people back in the center.
-Because the floor isn't being divided into sections at most venues, the crowd can start pushing forward once U2 start playing, especially when they move to the main stage.  This is one thing I didn't like compared to past tours.  It never felt unsafe, and after a few songs at the main stage, the pushing forward and crowding started to calm down.  (I guess people in the back realized there was no way they were getting to the front row and that it wasn't worth the effort.)
-When I was in the Red Zone, I opted for a spot on the rail adjacent to the ramp connecting the stages.  This, to me, ended up being an ideal spot.  I had a perfect view of the b-stage, but didn't have any of the crowding that was there.  Then, when the band moved to the main stage, I had a perfect view of the stage and screen.  When U2 play Red Hill Mining Town, Bono sings that song to the Red Zone, and it really did seem as though he was singing right to us.

About Credit Card Entry
-I had credit card entry for all of the shows except Foxboro, and though I was expecting glitches, it actually worked perfectly for me.  When I got the gate, instead of being asked to show a ticket to be scanned, the man simply swiped my credit card into the same machine that he was using to scan ticket barcodes with.  A little receipt with my seat number printed out and he handed it to me.  It didn't seem like it took any more time than the usual process of scanning the ticket barcode.  At the shows I went to, they did require that I present a photo ID that matched the name on the credit card, and did appear to be honoring those rules.  I saw one person turned away because he had the credit card but not the ID.  I saw another person turned away because he just had the order confirmation email printed but didn't have the credit card or ID.  It seems like there are mechanisms in place to handle genuine problems (for instance, if your credit card was stolen or the number changed), but that it's the responsibility of the ticket holder to contact the venue in advance and/or visit the box office.  Expect that the guidelines issued by Ticketmaster and the venue about these kinds of tickets will be enforced, and plan accordingly.

 

In conclusion, it turns out that you don't have to get there the night before or at 6am the day of the show to get a great spot.  If you want to be incredibly close, just get there in the early afternoon.  If you have regular GA and arrive when the doors open or shortly after, you'll still likely be in front of 90% of the people who will eventually show up.  If you have Red Zone and show up when the doors open, you'll be one of the few there.  If you have Red Zone and show up during the opening act, you'll still be ahead of most.  I don't mean to discourage waiting in line; if you like doing it, it's not going to hurt and you'll have an incredible spot.  But if you're someone who isn't able to line up all day or who doesn't enjoy it, you can still get to the stadium either when the doors open or a little before or after and still have a very very good spot.

Of course, I add the caveat that your mileage may vary, and that rules at European venues may be different from American venues, and the lineups could start earlier or be run differently there.  But my experience at three different U.S. stadiums was pretty consistent so I'm hopeful that these pointers will at least be accurate for when the band returns to the States.

Edited by vertigojds

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Nice write up @vertigojds!

I still think you should come to Phoenix!

Also, I can't remember if I told you but I'm flying solo to Detroit and doing GA there. What's four shows when you can do five? Make it happen! LOL!

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I wish, but the budget is exhausted!  I don't think I can Kickstart a "send Josh to more U2 shows" campaign :)

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Not with that attitude you can't!

If everyone on this site donated $1, @vertigojds could go to one more show!

Actually no, I just looked at gofundme and each donation costs like 7.9%+$.30 so you'd get like 60 cents of every dollar LOL!

How much could a bus ticket to Detroit really cost? And what's a miserable couple of hours when it means you get to see U2? 

Just giving you grief man. But it's fun.

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Hey Josh! We were at 3 of the same shows! Boston, Philly, NJ2. I did GA and RZ. Your comments are spot on. I think there is overall rail space for up to 200.  I was on it at main stage for Philly (#145), between Bono and Adam, and it was fantastic, amazing.  Also so much easier on the body to have something to lean on all night!  I was just one person behind the rail in the very same spot at NJ2 just by walking in at 5:30.  And actually 2 of the 3 of us doing RZ in Boston did not want to be way over to the side so we went over to GA and had that same spot, just 3 people back from the rail.  I had read complaints that the main stage was so high, they were too far away, etc., but in my experience it was just phenomenal! And amazing to get so much interaction from Adam and often Bono too.  

Also I would love a fundraising campaign for more shows too, LOL.  I have been looking at flights and hotels to Indianapolis (from New Hampshire) today....wow GAs are still available from Ticketmaster!  

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Very nice detailed report.I bought RZ just to avoid waiting ll day as I have to work to afford my vice.

Hopefully I will see you in San Diego and if i may, I would like to buy you a beer

 

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Thanks for your report! Really helps..

Quick question. My father purchased general admission CC entry for my birthday. However my father won't be going to the show. If they are checking IDs, are they simply checking IDs to match the Credit Cards or are they checking faces as well?

Hoping they are just simply checking names as my Father will let me borrow his ID for the evening.

Thanks

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They checked both for me.  I've heard reports at some venues earlier in tour that IDs weren't being checked at all.  So it seems inconsistent how its applied, or maybe they've gotten stricter as its gone on.  I'm honestly not sure.  There's no easy way to say this. but according the policy as written, only the cardholder may pick up the tickets.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

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What if my father made me an authorised user of the credit card account and then I would have a credit card in my name with the same creditcard number. Would that work for entry if I bring my own ID?

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