ATLANTIC CITY - For some fans of pop music superstar Lady Gaga, it takes a little bit of work and sacrifice to get the most out of seeing her live in concert.
The flamboyant Lady Gaga kicked off the 2011 North American leg of her Monster Ball tour with a concert Saturday at Boardwalk Hall.
Fans who wanted to be close to the stage purchased tickets in the standing, general admission section of the floor, but that meant showing up hours ahead of time to stand in line outside the venue if they were not fortunate enough to buy a more expensive VIP package.
Krissy Reed, 17, and Bri Musselman, 18, both of Bethlehem, Pa., showed up at 6:50 a.m., about 12 hours before they were let into the building.
"It's cool. It's been a party. ... If you want to be close, you have to get here early," said Reed, who added she had to deal with sand blowing in her face. "I think this is the longest I have waited for something in my entire life," Reed said.
Reed saw Lady Gaga for the first time in September in Philadelphia and said it was an amazing show that she had to see again. She was wearing a pink Lady Gaga shirt that she purchased at last year's show.
"My cousin got the tickets. ... It was crazy. I was crying. I was very excited. I was off to the side in the sixth row, really close," Reed said.
Musselman's mother provided food, water, Gatorade and Advil while the girls stood in line. As afternoon faded into evening, standing in line changed from being to a party to more of a chore as the wind made it feel colder.
As the temperature dropped, a man standing across from the general admission line held up a sign that said, "Jesus Forgives Sin." Someone in line pulled out an iPhone and started playing Lady Gaga's newest single, the equality anthem "Born This Way." As a retort to the protester, the crowd started singing along to the chorus, "I'm beautiful in my way, 'cause God makes no mistakes, I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way."
Vicki Diodato, 19, of Haddon Township, Camden County, showed up at 10:30 a.m. in a wig with long, blond hair, stockings, a red belt with matching pumps and a black leotard with a hood. She spent three weeks creating her outfit. She first saw Lady Gaga live when Gaga opened for New Kids on the Block two years ago.
"I was like, ‘Who the hell?' Then after that, I was a loyal follower," said Diodato, who also saw Lady Gaga's headline performance in September in Philadelphia.
Diodato has seen other acts in concert, including Chris Brown, Backstreet Boys and 'NSync, but she said a Lady Gaga concert is 10 times better than any other she has seen.
Lady Gaga's fans use her artistically creative and outlandish concerts and videos as inspiration for their getups. They will even pay homage to her TV appearances because she changes her look for every public outing.
Megan Campbell, 19, of Sayreville, Monmouth County, wore one Diet Coke can on each side of her head, like Lady Gaga does in the video for "Telephone." Her lips were painted red in the same shape that Lady Gaga wore in her "Paparazzi" video, and she wore a homemade black "Monster" shirt. Lady Gaga calls her fans "Little Monsters," and she performs a song titled "Monster." Campbell spent five hours putting silver Rhinestones on her shoes and wore Lady Gaga wristbands.
"This is my first time seeing her live," said Campbell, who showed up at 9 a.m. for the general admission section. "We want to be close. We are dedicated fans."
Erica Larocca, 27, of Milford, Del., has seen Lady Gaga eight times and attended the Lady Gaga show in July at Boardwalk Hall. Saturday marked her sixth time seeing the Monster Ball tour. She glued pearls onto her denim jacket to spell out the words "Born This Way" and wore a top with fishnets underneath her jacket.
"She put a lot into everything," Larocca said. "I love it (the concerts). It's always different. She will talk to the crowd."
Larocca most recently saw Lady Gaga in September in Philadelphia.
"I love dressing up. Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I get Halloween a couple of times a year," Larocca said.
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