Zurich. Show day.
Woke up to a fine, crisp day and commented to myself that this is the perfect kind of outdoor gig weather. Blue skies, sunshine, not oppressively hot, it looked like it would be ideal. On arrival at the gig, Nick, my lighting crew chief, told me that heavy rain was forecast for later, but this just didn€™t seem possible and as the beautiful afternoon wore on, it seemed like this was nothing more than meteorological pessimism.
One Republic opened the show last night and again today. They€™re a band I didn€™t really know a great deal about, but I chatted to a few of them this afternoon and they seem like a really nice bunch of lads. From Denver, apparently. U2 came in to soundcheck and do a little bit of rehearsal on some new songs. They played Mercy again and had a go at Mothers of the Disappeared as a potential alternative to MLK.
The weather was still more than fine as we had dinner and One Republic played. Then with timing weirdly reminiscent of Moscow, as the opening chords of Space Oddity rolled, the first big drops started to fall from the sky. Even by the time U2 took the stage it was quite definitely raining and the stage brollies were rising from underworld. It rained steadily and gradually ramped up during the course of the show until reaching an intensity that I can€™t recall ever having seen at a U2 show before (even at Red Rocks it stopped raining periodically).
It was absolutely torrential and utterly relentless, so far from shying away and hiding under the brollies, the band just threw themselves into the show and the weather, and the crowd just loved it. Not surprisingly, it ended up being an incredibly intense and very emotionally charged night, performed with a wonderful sense of complete abandonment.
By the time we got to Streets, Adam had his shirt off and, unless I was hallucinating, occasionally appeared to be deliberately seeking out torrents of water to stand under. All this and a world premiere too, with Mercy being performed for the first time. I was delighted, as Mercy has long been my favourite of the new songs. I€™ve never quite understood why it has taken so long for it to emerge, but these things are often beyond my ken.
It was a wild night and one for the history books. I can hear us saying at gigs in the far distant future: 'Sure, it rained tonight, but it was nothing like Zurich 2€¦'