Christine Spencer left her home in Frederick at 3 a.m. just so she could get a jump on the thousands of U2 fans expected to pack M&T Stadium on Wednesday night.
The early effort paid off. Just before noon, she and her two friends were among the first 50 fans lined up at the gates.
"I hope to get called up on stage so I can dance with Bono," said Spencer, 32. "I've waited years for that."
Spencer was among more than 200 fans, experienced spectators and greenhorns alike, waiting in line early Wednesday for the concert to start, vying for the best general admission spots on the field. Some, like Spencer, came equipped with tents and umbrellas to shield themselves from the blazing sun. Others positioned themselves under trees outside the stadium as the band's greatest hits played over a loudspeaker.
"They're great," said Spencer's friend, Karen Sutherland, 37, from Front Royal, Va. "They treat their fans very well. They are socially conscious. They constantly change their music. They always put on a great show."
Tasha Mettura, the third member of the group, is from San Antonio. "They are the soundtrack of my life," she said.
The three met while standing in line at a U2 concert in Charlottesville, Va., in 2009. They have remained in contact ever since.
"It's amazing how many people you remember seeing from past concerts," said Spencer, who has seen the band 14 times.
"U2 fans are such a close-knit group," Sutherland said. "We have a common passion for the band. We're here for the music."
Tents, collapsible chairs and umbrellas dotted the concrete walkway on the stadium grounds along Russell Street, creating an encampment where all the residents have one thing in common: passion for the Bono-fronted Irish rock group.
Jennifer Jamison, 39, drove from Roanoke, Va., to see the concert, her 42nd show. She was ninth in line.
"It's not that they've gotten better. It's that they've stayed amazing," she said. "Their worst show is better than anyone else's best show."
Tim Cunningham, 29, a Chicago police officer, played a U2 trivia game near the front of the line.
"You'll meet people from all walks of life," said Cunningham, who has met U2 frontman Bono five times. "I'm sure there are 10 to15 different languages being spoken in this line."
Despite having seen the band in concert 31 times, Cunningham said he's a normal guy.
"I don't live with my mother, I'm fully employed, I own my own house and I've kissed a girl," he said.
"It's like eating a vegetable for the first time," said Casey Frary, 29, of Washington, D.C. "You can't say you don't like it until you've tried it."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun