U2 and the GA phenomenon

I suppose one thing that many of my friends and family don’t really “get” about me is my U2 concert … habit. Ok, perhaps addiction or obsession by some measure. My fellow concert-goers know the puzzled look followed by “but didn’t you already go to a show?” they get when they tell someone they’re about to hit the road (or airport) for another U2 concert. “Aren’t all the shows the same?” In short, no. Set lists may be repeated, but the experience is unique every time, especially when you go GA (general admission, “floor tickets”).
Some things are the same:  there’s the anxiety before arriving at the venue to get your number in the queue and wondering how many people are already ahead of you; the early morning roll call when GAers return from their hotels and tents, line up in order of their numbers and get escorted to the venue gate by U2 security (we love U2 Dave!); the lull of the morning when GAers steal an hour or two of sleep on their yoga mats and blankets. As a mother of two, those two hours of being still under the sun are so relaxing, I might as well be on a Mediterranean beach. Soon lunch rolls around, you’ve made friends with the people around you, reunited with old friends, and are eventually putting your stuff away, taking your last sips of water and preparing yourself for the most stressful and nerve-racking part of the day: entrance into the venue.
The last hour and a half before gates open is the only time I really feel like I am standing in line. No straying off to freshen up or watch the crew set up. The sound checks are done, ticket is in hand, and a flock of butterflies have descended in my stomach.
When the gates finally open, I am amidst a surge of restrained urgency and calm hastiness. Walking, jogging, speed walking, slowing down, speeding up, sprinting, often across the length of an entire football stadium. I get my spot. I sit down. And I feel charged, rattled and relieved.
The show itself is what truly feels different every time. Not only do you see the music that you love so much, you’re completely enveloped by it and all of the energy and fervor the band pours out to its fans. You are a part of the show. No matter what spot you get, it ends up being perfect because inevitably, you make some connection or witness a moment that is unique to your view. Far from it seeming like a movie you’ve seen several times, it feels like you’re on the set of the film, the action and the artistry is happening and you’re right in the middle of it. And with this band, that action is not only happening around you, it’s happening for you.
So as U2 plays its final show of the 360° tour tonight in Moncton, Canada, a tour that spanned two years and, for me, began in July 2009 at the 5th show in Paris and ended at the 5th-to-the-last show in St. Louis (with some shows in between), I look back at my world of U2 360° GA and the amazing people who I’ve met along the way – so many of which I am blessed to call my friends.
See you all at the next tour. Bright and early. (:

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Tom Emmet - Superb!

Jen - Negeen, beautifully written I couldnt agree more its more than just seeing the band. The GA unties old friends and helps create new ones. The common bond is a band we all love so much.

Barb - That was perfect! So perfectly described.. from the reactions of those who don’t get it, to the way you feel getting your number.. to waiting with new and old friends.. to the show itself. The best I’ve read! You covered it all perfectly!
And amazing photos as well!
Thank you for taking the time to say how I feel so well!!

vani - beautiful! great pics and the decription… glad to see so many feel like I do, although couldnt enjoy that many shows 😉
greetings from buenos aires!

Virginia - This is great! We were lucky enough to get to two shows on this tour, and have also done GA for the Elevation and Vertigo tours. Your description pretty much sums up my experience, and you are right… those who haven’t experienced it can’t really understand. I loved reading your account and seeing your pictures! Maybe we’ll meet someday when the NEXT tour comes around! :)

amy - Thank you! I feel the exact same way…I hope it won’t be too long before my next GA show. Loved your photos too!

Shastri - Being at a live U2 concert is kind of like seeing the Sistine Chapel with your own eyes – I dont know how else to describe it! Great post and pictures, thanks Negeen!

Anthony De Motta - I’m already feeling the depression of no more 360. After 50 days of U2 (May/June/July 2 trips), 360 Moncton was so final. Edge and Dallas have both mentioned a new tour in 2013 to some friends of mine, but in the end, it’s up to Larry. Was so great meeting you Negeen. Didn’t realize you were not too far behind me in the Arlington queue! Will post my pics when I can, gonna need at least 5 months to recover from the post-360 blues.

Anthony

Amiee Stubbs - Love everything on this page, Negeen! Great job! And I’m proud to see that my ‘U2 360’ license plate made an appearance in your photos, too. : )

Vanilla - this text is amazing. this is the real feeling that moves us to do this.

the 100th monthly portrait » Negeen Sobhani Photography - […] or Papá took care of the portrait. With the exception of those two portraits on Oct 13, 09 (I was queuing for a concert) and Apr 13, 10 (she and Papá were visiting Italy) I’ve managed to stop on the […]

sholeh and jared sneak peek [destination wedding photography]

Still savoring the beauty, serenity and bliss from last week-end’s destination wedding at Green Acre in Maine. More photos and more story to come. In the meantime here are a few of my favorites…

see full wedding post here

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shadi Safajou - These are amazing photos Negeen joon! Many congrats to Jared and his beautiful bride! and you have captured all the different emotions so beautifully! I love every single one of them.

the mollaian family [edmond family portrait photography]

As much as I love fields of flowers and nifty urban nooks, my favorite location for family portraits remains the home. Looking back at my childhood, I would love to have photos of the green door I would rush through after school to kick off my shoes only to run through it again to meet my neighbor Shay for an afternoon of chatting on the brick wall across the street, or the tall cypress trees behind our backyard fence that I never saw anywhere else in Oklahoma but later became fixtures in the landscape around my homes in Tuscany and Haifa, or even the design of the wrought-iron arch framing the entrance to our formal living room that I remember finally being able to reach, and eventually swing from (much to my mom’s dismay). The things we touch daily and gaze upon over our morning bowls of cereal (or hot tea, feta cheese and lavash bread as it often was) as kids remain as much a part of our childhood as our first-grade teacher and favorite blanket. For Nadia, Omeed, Iman, Jamilah and Jaydan, there are Nadia’s bright orange lilies that burst open for only two weeks of the year, the short stone wall that Omeed built himself for the backyard that Jaydan intuitively knows not to step off from (though we all freeze and hear our hearts pound in our ears when he gets close to the edge), the kitchen table two-seater bench which Jamilah and Iman can share with a third friend and still have plenty of wiggle room, and the front door where you often find them inviting in neighbors, family, friends, and friends of friends, to a space they feel welcomed and cherished. These characteristics make this home as beautiful, strong, vibrant and loving as the amazing family that lives in it.

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Judy Holly - These are very nice. I hope you and your family are all doing great.

Karen Winston - Gorgeous family photographs. The photo’s and the story remind me of growing up and home. Beautiful.

Omeed - Such an incredible photographer and we had sooo much fun during shoot….thanks Negeen!

little miss layla

If you ever want an honest conversation with someone, look no further than a five-year old. Spend some time with miss Layla and while your eyes are doting on the most adorable face-on-a-tiny-body ever seen, your wheels will be turning nonstop to answer her “why?” questions, your heart will skip when she spontaneously tells you, “I love you. I really do!”, and your ego might bruise a little when she asks you if you are your daughter’s grandfather, as Victor can attest to. But what can you do when that face lights up into a smile and those little arms wrap around your neck? You take it all:  the honesty, the affection, the sincerity, and maybe a couple of aspirin for those questions. Love my little miss Layla!

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Buddy - I’m quite pleased with the informaiton in this one. TY!

katie and matt [oklahoma city wedding photography]

Katie and Matt’s beautiful March wedding at Rose Briar Place reminded me of why I love first dances so much. While some couples take the opportunity to get creative and show off their graceful skills or sense of humor by entertaining their guests, others enjoy it as the first still moment of the day when the can close their eyes and just be present. Tense muscles finally relax and tears of relief and joy appear. I know it’s the making of a Hallmark card commercial, but in this brief moment when new couples are lost in their own bliss and fathers sway the daughters they once rocked, I pull out the tissue from my pocket, blink hard so my eyes still focus through the lens, and ultimately feel so grateful to be in the presence of Love.

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Sarah - Negeen, these photos made me gasp, they are that stunning. Look at the one where the bride’s blue shoes are showing! You are truly talented my dear. Love, Sarah

Ali Akbar - The photo in which the bride is resting her head on the gentleman’s shoulder gives such a warm, “I’m gonna miss you” kinda feeling. And the flowers in her hair look like doves at dawn. You deserve a thousand hugs for that photo Negeen. Brilliant.