Gaga fans want to be 1st in 'Monster Pit'
Updated 11:12 pm, Sunday, January 27, 2013
A line of diehard Lady Gaga fans started forming early Thursday, a full week before her concert at the Toyota Center with about a dozen youngsters spending the weekend outside the Toyota Center.
For the pop star's concert this Thursday, Houston fans are taking advantage of a first-come, first-serve policy for Lady Gaga's latest tour. Several tents are packed along the sidewalk across the street from the Toyota Center, where ticket holders have created an unofficial system using permanent markers to write down their place in line on the back of their hands.
The first few hundred general admission ticket holders will be able to be in the front section called the "Monster Pit" at Lady Gaga's shows.
"We just want to get as close to the stage as possible," said Cody Anagonstou, 18, who was one of the first few to join the line last Thursday morning.
The fans have a honor system, respecting the order when people arrived with a numbering system and holding a place for others in line as they go to work or, for the high school students, take tests. The handful of fans seem to have bonded as they hugged each other and took a group picture. They have bought each other food, shared tents and taken turns ordering pizzas.
"I'm sure everyone has a personal reason for being here," said Shay Stein, 20, who was also one of the first to arrive. "She's a big part of my life. I have a close personal relationship with the music."
Another motivation for arriving a week early is the opportunity to meet the pop star in person and go back stage. The first person in line at Lady Gaga's shows becomes the "key holder", the fans explained. For the Houston concert, Erika Lopez, 18, was that lucky fan. She showed up to the area across the street from the venue early Thursday morning. The next three fans who arrived after her believe they might be able to go back stage also. At previous concerts, Gaga promoters have chosen the key holder and next three people in line as well.
"I was very paranoid," Lopez said. "I didn't want to turn a corner and see someone beat me here... It's just very overwhelming in an exciting way."
Shaye Ervin, 20, said everyone who showed up Thursday around 8 a.m., more than enough time before the concert, was expecting to be the first person.
Elena Juarez, 28, said she cried during the first Lady Gaga concert she attended in 2010. She said the fans are very diverse at the shows and she has met friends at different concerts. The waiting in line is worth it because of how Gaga affects each one, she said.
"To sum it up, she gives us inspiration to be ourselves and not be afraid," Juarez said. "She helps strip the insecurity from us."
Sarah Wiseman, who will likely get a front row seat as the 25th person in line, drove six hours from Copperas Cove to wait in line for a week. Wiseman, 18, who is home schooled, said she was bullied out of her high school.
"It sort of got me out of a funk," Wiseman said of Lady Gaga's music. "She made me feel like it was okay to be weird."
Her favorite Lady Gaga song is "Born This Way." The singer's other hits include "Bad Romance" and "Judas."
The fans expect the line and crowds to pick up Wednesday afternoon and have faith that their ordered system will be respected. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Toyota Center.