Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scenes From a U2 Concert... aka "The Girl In The White Hoodie"

“The girl in the white hoodie has your cell phone!” Jamie proclaimed while pointing at a female standing a few yards ahead of us as we were being herded like cattle on the connector bridge from the Oakland Coliseum back to the BART station.

The U2 “360” tour had just let out and like a pack of sardines concert goers converged together on the trek back to the train station in hopes of getting a seat before the clock struck midnight so we wouldn’t be stranded like a bunch of pumpkins hitching a ride back home. BART signs had been posted everywhere threatening that they closed at 12am. It was now 12:02am, we were all stuck together on a bridge in a human traffic jam, and I had lost my cell phone.

How could I have let this happen? How did I let my baby Droid X smart phone, who I had just recently named, “Rosita”, all dressed in her jelly pink protector, fall into the hands of the perfect stranger wearing a white hoodie? And now I could finally see Rosita within my reach, but I couldn’t get to her.

However, it was becoming the perfect ending to a rather serendipitous evening…

On June 7, 2011 and Jamie and I arrived at the Coliseum around 5:45pm. I had texted others I knew were going to be there as well, like my friend Christine who was coming from Fremont and my semi-long distance boo, Doug, who had come up from San Jose and had showed up to the venue ticketless, with his friend, Sam, in hopes of scoring some good same-day-of show-ticket-karma from the scalpers. Everybody and their grandma were apparently going to this show, but most of them had general admission tickets while Jamie and I had assigned seating that we had bought two years ago. Would we be able to at least meet up with our friends before they claimed their spot out on the floor so they could stand for five hours while waiting for U2 to come on?

Jamie and I were not that committed to standing that long for a rock concert, so we decided to check out our seats first in section 207, row 5, seats 1 and 2.

It was a slightly disheartening experience.

The 60+ female usher nodded to us that we were in the right section as Jamie and I took our seats. We looked down at the stage. It was so far away and the night was so young. What were we going to do? I hadn’t sat this far back at a concert in years, but I was older now and didn’t know if I had the same mad skillz as I did back in the day to try and sweet talk a security guard into letting us get onto the floor.

As I attempted to muster up a plan B for the night, thinking maybe we could get some cheap GA tickets, Jamie and I left our seats and started walking around the common area where the food and drink were. I decided to scope out the place. Then my cell phone rang.

It was Doug. He was outside the venue still and now the GA seats were sold out and scalpers were selling them for $75. He and his friend were not going to about to spend that much money, so plan B was out. My heart sank. Would they be able to get into the show at all or would they be left outside, denied, and head back to the south bay?

Then Jamie and I bumped into Christine, Bennett, Kim and Larry. I wanted to monopolize their time for as long as possible while sipping a Dr. Pepper with them, before they had to dig their heels in and commit to their spot on the lower level, where all the cool people hung out.

Cool People

They finally took off and Jamie and I put our drinks down by our seats. “Well, at least we have a reserved spot and can come and go as we please,” we thought, trying to console ourselves that we were still sitting soooo far back. “We can go to the bathroom whenever we want, we can get food whenever we want..” yeah yeah yeah.

Then Doug called me again. He and Sam got in, but with tickets for seats in a different section. At least he wasn’t on the floor and maybe, just maybe, we could all sneak into each other’s sections and sit together? Maybe? I mean, what’s a 60 year old usher gonna do to us anyway?

The first band came on (I have no idea who they were), and Jamie and I took our seats. Our section was pretty empty so I started to get my hopes up that as the night went on, they wouldn’t get filled. I borrowed Jamie’s binoculars and could see Doug and Sam in another section to our right. So, close, but so far away. I was sad.

Jamie and I decided to take pictures of ourselves and our friendly usher volunteered to take photos of us. We were becoming chummy. Maybe our seats weren’t so bad after all.

The opening band finished and I had texted Doug and suggested that we meet at the one Irish Pub in the food and drink area. I thought it was a lot closer to our seats than it actually was. When I ran into him on the way to the pub he told me he was heading to the field. I was confused. I thought we were meeting at the pub? Maybe he was just going to try and bully his way to the floor? “I’m following you!” I declared. “No,” he corrected me, “the name of the pub is “The Field.”


The line at “The Field” was almost out the door just to get a beer and I started to think this was a bad idea. I just wanted hang out, even if it was for just a few minutes before being separated again. His friend Sam made friends with complete strangers in line almost immediately and started taking pictures of everyone.

The line in the pub was so long that Lenny Kravitz hit the stage and we were still in line. A few songs later, we finally got our drinks and went back to our seats. Separated, once again.

Our seating area started filling up and I started to get nervous. I had hoped there would be some spare seats left, the usher would turn a blind eye and Doug and Sam would be able to sneak into our section. But the people just kept coming and filling in the seats. Nooooo…

Lenny Kravitz ended and I texted Doug again. He didn’t seem to be responding so Jamie and I got up and headed over to his section. We made our way in and no usher seemed to stop us.

For 30 bucks Doug and Sam had gotten “obstructed view” seats that were behind the stage, but clearly closer to it than we were. I started to wonder if we should be trying to sit in their section. After flagging Doug and Sam down, Doug came over as Sam was engrossed in another conversation with a perfect stranger. Doug decided to see where Jamie and I were sitting.

We escorted him back to our seats hoping to just smile at the same usher lady, but instead she looked at Jamie and said, “tickets please”.

Jamie handed her the ticket and the usher discovered, “You ladies have been sitting in the wrong section.” She pointed at our real seats and they were these two seats, the only two seats that had not been filled, in the next section over.


We looked at our old original seats where we had left our drinks. They still had two extra seats to their left not taken. Perfect for Doug and Sam. But U2 had not come on yet. Would the real owners of section 206, row 5, seats 1-4 show up at the last minute and kick us out if we all decided to sit there?

We decided to take our chances.

Worried that the usher would recognize Jamie and tell her to go back to her correct seat, she put on her coat, raised her collar and put on my sunglasses.

U2 started and the three of us started watching the show. So far, so good. Every time a couple of people would look at their tickets as they headed up our aisle I would get nervous, but they always walked past us. Eventually Doug grabbed Sam and brought him over to the one last unfilled seat in our section and we watched the rest of the show in those seats. I was happy. But as the evening almost ended, I was already on to our next task.

The ride home.

BART had threatened concert goers that the station closed at midnight, yet, there was Bono, still going strong at 11:30, and the crowd, thinking the same thing I was, slowly started to disperse.

The battery on my baby Droid X was now down to 15% as I was checking the last trains scheduled to the BART station. There was one at 12:25am. If we leave now, we could make it.

Which is what everyone else must have been thinking.

As the final chords of the last song played, all four of us started heading back to the train station when all of a sudden, we were now part of a human traffic jam as all of our bodies were smashed together and we could only walk as fast as the person in front of us. Uh oh.

The minutes started to tick away but I was still optimistic that we would make our train. Then I felt around my pocket in my coat for my cell phone. It wasn’t there.

“That’s weird,” I thought. “I was always put my phone in my pocket.” So I started rummaging around in my purse for it as I was being pushed forward in the crowd some more.

It wasn’t in my purse either.

“I can’t find my phone!” I declared.

“It’s probably just in your purse,” Jamie assured me, but no, it wasn’t. My purse was not that big.

“Do you want me to call you?” Doug asked.


Doug’s phone was on low battery too, but he had enough juice in it to squeeze out a few more calls. He called and I knew my phone was on vibrate but I didn’t buzz anywhere. And then a female voice picked up.

“Where are you?” Doug asked the woman on the other line. He looked behind us in the sea of people and started walking away from the train station. He seemed to have made a connection with the person who had my phone. In the meantime, I had to make sure I got on the train.

“I’ll get my phone from him later,” I decided and kept pushing forward with Jamie.

About 7 minutes later Doug came back and realized, “I think she’s in front of us!”

We looked ahead, and sure enough, was a girl in a white hoodie sweatshirt holding Rosita, my girl phone.

It was so weird to see a stranger holding my phone. We started yelling at her.


As Doug attempted to push forward to get to her, he leaned on the wrong person as an irate woman turned around and started cussing at him. Mob mentality, adrenaline running high, lady calm down, I just want my cell phone.

I caught up to the white hoodie girl as she gave me my baby back. “Where was she?” I asked.

“On the ground.” She told me.

The girl in the white hoodie’s name was Sara and she was slightly inebriated, but very friendly and wanted to do the right thing so much that she started calling people on my "recent calls" list to find out whose phone it was.

“I called your hip hop teacher!” she told me, “I talked to Tati!”

I hugged her twice. Of all people, she called Tati, and I knew Tati would be understanding.

With my baby droid back in my clutches, we all hustled to the BART station and got there at 12:29am, 4 minutes past the time they listed that the last train would run. But they were liars and another train pulled up immediately, Doug and I said our goodbyes and Jamie and I hopped on it right away. As the train pulled away, I got a email from Tati on my phone.

“T- Your phone has been found. Her name is Sara and she lives in San Francisco. Her number is…..”

I smiled. I got to watch U2, I got to sit with Doug during the show in the only unclaimed seats in that section and I lost, but found, my smart phone…all within a few hours.

Life was good.

I once was lost but now I’m found

The next day we found out on the news that the traffic on the freeway to the show was so bad that people were stuck in their cars for over 5 hours and some never made it there.

I’m thinking that’s what those four seats in section 206 were from.