We receive many questions and requests here at U2log.com but the number 1 question asked is ‘How do I get into the heart?’ or ‘How do I get a ticket for the heart?’. We realise we’re a bit late as there are only a handful of gigs left on the European tour, but for the Brits and the Irish, and the 3rd leg Americans, listen carefully, ve vill zay zis only once:
There is basically only one way to get into the heart (without cheating). First of all, you need a GA (floor/field) ticket. Secondly, you need to queue early.
And we mean EARLY. You need to sit your arse outside the venue before everybody else. And then you wait. And wait. And wait. Until the doors open. Be prepared for a day outside. Bring rain clothing. Bring plastic bags. Bring food and drinks. Dextro glucose tablets are very handy. Bring a book or a game to play.
People keep a good eye on who was there early and who wasn’t. Generally, it’s okay to leave the queue for a short while (to get refreshments). Often, fans will sort themselves out because local security won’t. At all the gigs we’ve been at, one person would write a number on early birds’ hands, #1-300 or so. Remember, this doesn’t give you the right to be in the heart, it’s just to try and keep the queue in order.
Around 4.30 pm, people will get nervous and fidgety. Any sudden movement or noise can cause the human equivalent of a stampede. You need to be aware of this, and have your gear ready. It’s best not to carry bags through security. They will want to check inside the bag and this means you lose precious time. If you have to bring a bag, go through security presenting the bag to them, opened. Usually you will not be allowed to bring bottles, even plastic ones, so drink ’em or drop ’em before going in.
If you cannot handle pushing and shoving and being stuck in between dozens of smelly sweaty bodies, don’t queue. Young girls in particular are prone to fainting. We suspect they don’t eat or drink enough to sustain them through the day. Do eat. Do drink. No, that doesn’t mean drink alcohol, silly.
Things can get hectic and the presence of barriers and gates can cause dangerous situations. Not all venues have enough or adequate local security. In Paris, where people panicked around 1 pm (!) and never settled back down, there was no supervision at all – consequently we queued standing up and squashed in the pissing rain for another 6 hours. In Antwerp local security were clueless and unprepared. In Holland security were extremely well organised, but the sheer number of people queuing up made it dangerous nonetheless.
Some venues hand out wristbands BEFORE the doors open, on presentation of your GA ticket. Again, this DOESN’T mean you have immediate access to the heart. It gives you access to the floor, and this is just to make the initial rush on the doors easier on local security.
When the doors open, you will be told not to run, or to at least be careful if you run.
There will always be people jumping the queue, jumping barriers, trying to run THROUGH you. They’re usually twice your size. Best thing is to ignore them and just take care of yourself.
Every venue looks different, so we can’t tell you where exactly to run, just go either to the far left or the far right of the heart (the catwalk protruding from the stage). There will be a gate there, where security will let you through (and count you). Once inside, pick a good spot. When the heart is full, security will start handing out wristbands at the heart’s gates as you go out. This will let you walk in and out of the heart (to go pee, or to get refreshments).
Don’t leave getting a wristband too late, because they will run out and then you’re stuck.
What time exactly you need to start queuing is hard to say. It depends on the country. In France and Germany, arriving around 10 AM was enough. In Switzerland, even at 6pm you had a fair chance. In Holland between 8 and 9 am. (By 1 pm, more than a 1000 people had lined up). In Belgium 2pm or later seemed ok.
Please note that we do not know whether there will be a heart section for the Slane gigs at all. Perhaps they will use the Turin set up, which didn’t have a ‘heart’ but did have a secured section up the front that held some 2000 people. In Arnhem, there was a second section behind the heart that held around 1600.
Lastly… even if you follow our guidelines, things can go wrong. On the first day in Arnhem, the Netherlands, a security fuck up meant most people who had waited 8 hours did NOT make it into the heart, whereas those that arrived at 6pm did. Don’t be too disappointed when you don’t make it inside the heart. There are good spots outside the heart, at the tip, for example. Find a free spot at the catwalk barrier to lean against and you’ll have a great view.
(ps. attending 8 gigs so far on this tour, your U2log.com editor has queued a grand total of 47 hours. We got rained on, stood on, bruised, cursed AND sunburnt. We also got a better view of U2 than we ever had before, since 1987.)