20 May 2011
Denver. Rehearsal day.
Mercifully the freezing rain subsided to a degree that allowed us to rehearse today. The band came in to the stadium for an afternoon sound check, including The Edge who was sufficiently improved to rise from his sick bed. The show must go on and all that.
After sound check we had a group huddle to decide a set list for tomorrow night. This has been a remarkable tour for U2 in many ways, but not least in the quantity of songs that they have worked up and delivered live. I make it 51 different songs, six of which were unreleased, giving us a set list where every U2 album is represented, including Passengers and the Batman soundtrack.
U2 are famously crap at rehearsing, because with out an audience the pointlessness of the enterprise becomes overwhelming, so they get bored and stop. Consequently, rent-a-crowd was brought along this evening, made up of the local Special Olympics groups and some other invited guests, numbering several hundred. This was a great help and the band got through (almost) the entire set.
There were many, many loose ends still needing attention, so once we had had the dressing room debrief and the band had departed I took on the task of making sure as many of these were addressed as possible. I did rather become the headmaster, sitting everyone down and not letting anyone leave the building until the last details of their area had been completely taken care of. It was uncharacteristically assertive by my standards but experience tells me that after tonight there will be no time to get anything done. Tomorrow in particular is going to be mental, so anything that’s not completely taken care of tonight will inevitably end up being abandoned.
Wardrobe had their hands full, debuting a set of four LED jackets. Tonight the band wore them for four songs, but this will most likely be reduced to just one or two. For my money, they look ideal for Zooropa, having an air of apocalyptic, disintegrating technology, but we’ll see how it goes. The jackets took more than a little fussing with to get prepared, by the end of which time there were two large tables in the wardrobe room covered in wires, batteries, sticky tape & bits of circuit board. Tony, one of our security guys, got a bit of a shock as he walked in and in his own words “thought I’d uncovered a bomb-making factory.” (And the thing is, Tony would know what that looked like…)
So then, this is our show. This is what we will unveil tomorrow night and, due to the pace of the tour, will probably stick quite closely to for the rest of the run. It leaves me with just a little tinge of sadness, to have to let go, but what a fantastic trip this has been. Of course we could go on fiddling with it forever, but in essence this is the final version of 360, all grown up and going out for its last hurrah.