Breakfast with Joe O
Wednesday 30th September 2009. New York. Day off.
Everything blurring into one a little bit. I slept pretty well and got up at a reasonable hour (well, it was nearly noon but it was another very late night, so don't judge harshly) and went across the street to the breakfast pub. I was all but done with my poached eggs on toast and about to depart when Joe appeared, by himself and joined me. It's funny, I've been travelling with Joe since 1982 and see him every day at the moment but it feels like an eternity since we last sat and had a good, uninterrupted chat.
We compared notes on the Giants Stadium shows (which both of us felt went very well), talked about the tour dates for next year which are just being published and then spent a while just talking about the year so far and the tour in general. It turns out that we share the same overall impression that the tour has gone remarkably well, all things considered. Not just on the surface with the generally triumphant reception of the whole 360 experience but also amongst the touring party. Given the humungous scale of the project, it would have been quite understandable if the perception from within the tour was of being just a cog in a machine.
Remarkably though, the morale and general vibe within the crew is the best it's been for years - people seem genuinely excited and delighted to be with the tour and even though it's hard work, they're keeping up with it and enjoying the challenge. I was aware that this was the case within my extended team but it really does seem to permeate the whole tour. It doesn't matter who the band is, on any tour the overall vibe and feeling tends to come down from the top and the fact that our band still care so much about what we're doing out here does seem to make a difference.
After a couple more cups of tea, I walked back across the road and spent the rest of the day in my room putting together the lighting plot for Gavin Friday's show at Carnegie Hall on Sunday. It's a benefit so we're just using the house equipment as bringing in even one more microphone adds a zero to the facility cost. Consequently I've got three rows of lights to play with so colour is my only weapon. It's quite fun doing a lighting plot, even with limited resources. It's like solving a puzzle, making sure that you'll have all the ammunition you need to get through the show (although in truth I know so little about the show that, having finished the plot, I'm still none the wiser as to whether I've got it right).
My head was buzzing a bit when I got done with Gavin's lighting plan. There's been so much going on this past couple of weeks that we all feel a little like deer in the headlights. I was going to go and see Laurie Anderson in conversation with Hiroshi Sugimoto this evening but by 7pm was overwhelmed with stasis. My room at the Hotel Fabulous is a little weird in its layout and rather under-furnished, but is up on the 52nd floor with windows on three sides. I've been sitting here all day, ploughing away with a head full of work, occasionally looking out at the bustle of New York way down below, until the sun set over the Hudson and the gold of the sky mingled with the million lights of the city. All these moments...