Entering into ” a place called vertigo,” the new VIP style

By Diana Ashjian
October 21, 2005


As tailgaters boozed it up and blasted their favorite U2 hits in the Wachovia Center parking lot on Sunday night, Oct. 16, a more mischievous group of fans huddled around beer-filled coolers to devise their game plan on how to maneuver their way into the sold-out Vertigo tour without any tickets.

“Just stay behind me in line. That way when we get to our guy who’s checking tickets he’ll know not to scan the ones we show,” said the so-called ringleader of the group who has understandably chosen to remain anonymous. “Just play it cool and you’ll get in. No problem.”

Laughing giddily, one girl said, “I feel like we’re about to rob a bank.”

The group of 30 strolled tightly together as they approached the gates each complete with a nice enough beer buzz and old ticket stubs from events past with the name “Erik Jr.” scribbled on the back.

Knowing glances exchanged through the chilly night air as the group approached the ticket clerk and held their breath as they strained to watch their new best friend, the anonymous coordinator, slip his boy the $750 they’d collected to ensure their admittance into the concert.


The ticket clerk gave a nod to each drunken schmuck who just paid his monthly mortgage because they were either too cheap or lazy to buy a ticket when they went on sale. But what did they care as they slid past the clerk’s slick flick of the wrist with his scanner and a shady glance at the infamous scribbled name on the back of each stub “Erik Jr.,” whoever he was. Plus, $25 a head was nothing for the impish excitement that lay ahead.

It was approximately 7:30 p.m. when the frenzied group decided they wanted to chant along to their favorite U2 songs VIP style so they headed up to the first skybox they saw. One by one they glided up the steps past the masses of eager fanatics, stepped over the purple ropes that aimed to close them off from the private party, and finally hopped over the silver metal gate to seal the deal.

Sweet. They were really in.

But not for long. As they marveled about the private bar and catered food they failed to realize that they’d brought their plastic cups of beer from the vendors with them. It was a dead giveaway to security who wasted no time in approaching the majority of the group one by one. When one of the group was asked where her wristband was she was stumped and stammered that her boyfriend had it and that he was in the fifth row. The bald, beer-bellied guard must have been no fool and said, “Why don’t you go back to you’re real seat so that I don’t have to escort you out of the building.”

In a panic she fled. She wasn’t the only one though. As they all met up at the designated spot they’d decided on just in case they couldn’t find seats their faces read of discouragement. Not sure where to go they split up in groups of four to make it easier and less conspicuous. It was 8:10 p.m. and U2 was coming on any minute so they quickly scattered.

One girl, who refused to let their menacing fun falter, let out a screech and exclaimed, “Who cares. We’re at U2. We’ll go dance in the bathroom if we have to!”

The other three girls frivolously agreed and aimlessly roamed the center’s halls until they felt they’d found a clutch spot to reach empty seats. Still though, the security guards who were armed with flashlights were on high alert.

The group of four finally tried a new tactic and asked a woman guard to have mercy on them. “Please let us sit closer to them. Our seats are all the way up there,” she said as she exaggeratedly gestured to the nosebleed seats. Little did the kind-hearted, yet na?ve guard know that no such seats existed, but she happily agreed when the desperate U2 fan slipped her $30.

Ten minutes past when the guard came back ready and willing to seat two of the practically salivating modern-rock buffs. Finally two of the 30 that started out without a clue as to how the night would really turn out were rocking along with Bono and his crew from the second row from the stage.

Realizing that they were in what really cost $250 the two ecstatic fans jumped up and down in disbelief at their luck. They were so close to the stage that if one of them were to spit it easily could have landed right on Bono’s forehead, and all for the grand price of about $32 each.

Singing their hearts out the girls were under a spell that only U2 could cast with their soulful melodies and heartfelt lyrics. They were thankful to the very skillful scam artist who brought them to the concert, glad that they hadn’t had to run from any guards, and loving every moment of the fun they were having.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and never once been turned down,” the anonymous Robin Hood of concerts, who ended up finding a skybox that he wasn’t thrown out of, said. “It’s all about being alive, doing the things you love and having fun. Where there’s a will there’s a way and that’s all there is to it.”

Loquitur welcomes your comments on this story. Please send your comments to: Loquitur@yahoogroups.com. The editors will review your points each week and make corrections if warranted.

Posted to the web by Matt Schill

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Diana Ashjian

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