Jay Z and Beyoncé recently announced their new tour, OTR II. Tickets have gone on sale with new dates and cities released yesterday.
To get in the spirit of another Beyoncé (and Jay Z) stadium tour I thought it would be a great time to look back at when I saw Queen Bey during her last tour, the Formation Tour, in Ireland.
The Set Up
I decided to make my first trip to Ireland, and I was so excited. I would be there for a week and set to work planning my itinerary.
I always think it’s fun if I can see a concert while I’m traveling, so I did some digging to find out what might be going on in Ireland while I was there. Of all the concerts I came across I saw that Beyoncé(!) was going to be in Dublin while I was in Ireland.
I could not believe it. Beyoncé is my favorite artist and her tour was going to coincide with my trip? What are the odds?!
I was so excited, and I couldn’t believe my fortune. The only problem was that her concert in Dublin would be the same day I was flying back to the US from Shannon.
Major bummer. It looked like I would have to miss the Queen. But did I really have to?
Buying a ticket for the concert and changing my flight would mean spending additional money on this trip, which I wasn’t prepared to do. But this would be such a cool opportunity.
At that time I had already set up a dedicated travel fund to put money away for my adventures. I came to the realization that that money was meant to be used for moments like this. When life gives you the opportunity sometimes you have to just live. So I did!
Securing a Ticket
Any member of the Beyhive will know that securing a ticket to a Beyoncé concert is NOT an easy task. It involves presale dates and special codes and access to certain credit cards and making sure you have a solid internet connection and getting on Ticketmaster right at the on sale time and hitting refresh until the tickets are available. All for the tickets to be sold out in a matter of seconds.
I was very skeptical about how I was going to successfully buy a ticket so long after they had gone on sale without literally having to sell appendages.
I asked someone I know at Ticketmaster if he knew of any set aside inventory that I could purchase. He said for a Beyoncé concert that would be impossible.
I checked StubHub, but they don’t operate in Ireland. I didn’t know what the Irish equivalent would be that sells legitimate tickets, so I decided to check the Ticketmaster site one more time.
Would you believe that there was a single ticket available in the Beyhive section? The Beyhive section is a cutout area in the sides of the stage.
Once again I couldn’t believe my luck. This was all happening in a way that was even better than I ever expected.
By the time I bought the concert ticket there were no more rooms to be had in Dublin, at least nothing that wouldn’t cost me $300. It seemed the entire population of Ireland was going to descend on the city to see Beyoncé.
Since I couldn’t stay in Dublin the night of the concert I would have to take a bus after the show back down south in order to take my flight home the next day from Shannon.
I had been using Bus Éireann throughout my time in Ireland and would just buy a ticket as I was boarding the bus. My friend, Niamh, suggested that in this case I should buy my ticket in advance and print it out. It would probably be hectic at the bus queue after the show, and she said if there are limited seats they’ll give priority to people with printed tickets.
The day of the show I checked out of my hostel, put my bag in the luggage storage, and printed out my bus ticket.
I didn’t receive my actual concert ticket ahead of time and was instructed to pick it up at the stadium. While I still had wifi I took screenshots of the pick up instructions.
The instructions also said you can’t line up prior to the pick up time of 3:30 pm. I thought arriving at 3:00 would be safe, so I took a cab over to Croke Park.
I asked the cab driver how I should get back to catch my bus after the concert. He said it would be a 20- or 30-minute walk but that would be better than the mess of trying to get a cab.
The stadium, Croke Park, is in a residential neighborhood, so the driver dropped me off as close as he could, which was blocks away. The roads were blocked off so I showed the Garda (police) the screenshot of where I needed to go.
Turns out I wasn’t close. I had to wind my way through the ins and outs and dead ends of this neighborhood to get to the opposite side of the stadium.
After huffing and puffing and running I made it. There were people already waiting ahead of me, which made me a little perturbed.
I took my place in line and started noticing the papers people had in their hands. I realized they were Ticketmaster confirmations, which I didn’t have with me. I took screenshots of the pick up instructions but not of the actual ticket confirmation. My heart sank and my stomach twisted.
I needed to get to that email, but how? I tried to connect to the stadium wifi with no luck. I didn’t want to turn on my cell data and incur the international charges, but this was a Beyoncé emergency and desperate measures were needed.
I held my breath and activated my data. Still nothing! What could I do now? Would I have to go all the way back to my hostel to use their computer to access my email? That would take so much time and I would lose my place in line.
The Beyhive section is all standing, so positioning is key if you want to get a good spot to see the Queen.
Was there a place near the stadium with wifi? How would I even find it? I was freaking out.
Then an angel emerged.
The girl in front of mr offered to let me connect to her hot spot to access my email. I was taken aback for a moment because I was so touched my her willingness to help me.
“Just make sure to stand next to me so that you don’t lose the connection,” she said. I was so moved.
I started talking to her dad while we were waiting. They drove over four hours that morning from the southernmost point in Ireland. He said he’s been a Beyoncé fan for a long time, and now that his daughter is 14 it was a good reason to finally see Beyoncé in concert and have bonding time with his daughter.
I stayed near them until it was time to pick up my ticket. I showed my confirmation email and got my ticket, wristband, lanyard, and a Beyhive gift pack, which included a drawstring backpack, poncho, and towel. I guess they wanted us to be prepared for rainy Ireland.
The color of your wristband indicated which side of the stage you would be on and the larger group was split up.
I was still annoyed by the number of people ahead of me, but I felt better when I realized that not everyone was in the Beyhive section. Whew! It looked like there was still a chance to get a good spot after all.
While waiting I struck up conversation with a guy in front of me named Leandro. I don’t remember what we first started talking about, but it may have had something to do with the fact that we were both wearing sequin tops: him in silver and gold for me.
It turns out Leandro is originally from Brazil, so I got a chance to practice my Portuguese. He moved to Dublin six years earlier speaking no English and now owns his own hair salon. How cool! The American dream in action in Ireland.
As we continued to wait a few of us started to wonder if Beyoncé was in the stadium right now getting ready. Then as Leandro was scrolling through his phone he said, “Wait a minute. She’s at Wimbledon.”
Ha! As we we’re standing outside waiting to be let into her concert Beyoncé is just casually over in London watching Serena Williams win her Wimbledon final. When you’re Beyoncé you can do whatever the heck you want.
After a little more waiting there was some movement. They were finally going to let us into the stadium.
From here on out everything devolved into pure chaos.
Everyone was shouting directions on where to go.
“Beyhive, this way! Gold Circle, to the right! Blue wristbands over here!”
The problem was that the stadium staff was not all on the same page, so fans were sent scrambling in all different directions.
We were sent into another holding lane for Beyhive with blue wristbands. Some people who were in front of us had been sent to the wrong place, so now they had to get behind us in line. I felt bad for them, but… ::Kanye shrug::
Some of them successfully pleaded with the staff to reclaim their place at the front of the line.
What a cluster. And it wasn’t about to get any better.
At this point we were under the stadium and were about to be moved into the open air.
Some stadium staff came over to start moving our group. Leandro and I were a team now, so we grabbed onto each other so we wouldn’t get separated.
We were continuously told not to run, so the group looked like a slow-moving mob as everyone was trying to angle their way to the front while *not* running.
Soon enough the floodgates burst and everyone hit a full sprint. The running of the bulls had nothing on this.
While we were running people started realizing that this wasn’t the Beyhive section. We were running to the wrong place!
Someone yelled out, “Beyhive this way!” and like a flock of birds or a school of fish the whole group changed direction at once. I think a security guard may have been knocked over.
Leandro and I found our position in Beyhive stage left, and it was PERFECT! We were right at the front corner where we had full line of sight of the entire stage as it branched out in four directions.
Then all of a sudden another fan started complaining to the production staff about the side of the stage he was on. He said the blue wristbands were supposed to be on the other side. Someone looked into it and determined that yes, we were sent to the wrong place and would be moved.
That was fine for them, but I was supremely satisfied with where I was. Plus if we moved we would now have to be behind the people who were already on the other side.
People started moving, but Leandro and I stayed put. A woman came and asked us to move to the other side. “No, thank you,” I said. “We’re fine here.”
We were then told we didn’t have a choice, we had to move to the other side.
We went behind the stage and ran with the rest of the crowd to stage right. Once we got there we were told to turn around, so we ran back to stage left. Then we were told to turn around again.
I felt like a ping pong ball, and I was tired of running.
After much yelling and back and forth we were finally let into the Beyhive stage right, but by that point there were already people standing in there.
Leandro found a spot against the stage in the back. I wanted a full view of the stage toward the front, so we were sadly separated. There was now a row of people in front of me, so I wasn’t standing right against the stage, which was a let down.
After the dust settled I was relieved to see that the father-daughter pair had made it and were standing near me.
There were still a few hours to go before the show, so I started getting to know the people around me. I told them about getting a last-minute ticket and rescheduling my flight; I met Zain from Australia, who was visiting his sister in London and came over to Dublin for the show; and I met two cousins from Ireland.
After hours and hours of waiting the show started, and everyone went bananas.
If you’ve ever seen Beyoncé in concert you know that she’s one of the greatest performers of all time. You can feel it wherever you’re sitting in the venue, but being up this close I could see how much she interacts with people in the crowd and seems to genuinely appreciate her fans.
The show was amazing, but I couldn’t help but continuously glance over at my original spot. I tried to keep in mind what a friend told me when she said, You are exactly where you’re supposed to be in life. As I watched Beyoncé spend time with the crowd on the other side of the stage I kept thinking, But I’m supposed to be over there.
Anyway, it was time to enjoy the show.
My phone battery was low, which was REALLY inopportune, so I tried to ration my picture taking. I also tried to avoid taking pictures when Beyoncé was directly in front of me. There’s a video of Beyoncé scolding a fan for not being in the moment at a concert, and I was not about to let that be me.
There was one point when Beyoncé was singing Party, and she started walking toward us. I was singing along as I was looking at Beyoncé. She then looked me right in my eyes and pointed the microphone at me to sing.
AND SING I DID!
That’s my heart temporarily stopping. It was so amazing. I couldn’t believe what just happened.
Andrea, one of the Irish cousins, shook me and said, “THIS WAS WORTH CHANGING YOUE FLIGHT FOR, WASN’T IT?!?!”
It sure was.
Blessedly she caught the moment on video since my phone was in my pocket.
The concert continued, and I was floating the rest of the way.
Beyoncé ended the show with Halo, and I got really emotional. I thought about my mom who passed away some years before and how excited she would have been about my whole Ireland experience and especially this night. I thought about all the pieces that had to fall perfectly into place to get to this point. I thought about how far beyond expectations the concert had been, and I started to cry a little.
When the show was finished I just stood in joy and awe. What an incredible night.
But now I had to get to my bus!
I could only bask in the post-concert glow for so long before I had to get my bus back to Shannon. I tried to hustle my way out of the stadium as fast as I could.
As I made my way through the neighborhood around Croke Park I asked people how to get to the bus, but no one could tell me.
I saw the Spire poking out in the distance and used it as a beacon. I would just keep heading in that direction.
As I kept walking though the Spire seemed to move farther away. I finally decided to stop and get a cab. We covered a lot of ground until I got closer to the bus stop and hit traffic.
I got out, ran to the hostel to get my bag, and ran to the bus.
Just as Niamh predicted there was a swarm of people waiting, but I was let on because I had a printed ticket. Thanks, Niamh!
As I took the nearly three-hour bus ride into the wee hours of the morning I was finally able to soak in all of the events of the day.
Thank you, Ireland, and thank you, Queen Bey.