09 June 2005
Brussels, production rehearsals
Tired today. Normally weve been going to bed about 7am, but not having to get up till 2pm or so, which kind of works, though predictably there is construction work going on right outside my hotel room window. Today was to be the day of our one and only dress rehearsal, so we all needed to be in a little earlier. The band came in and sound checked some more. Bono walked around the final configuration of the new b-stage set-up. The eventual winner is a design using two low curved ramps with target stages on the end which some would say bears a remarkable likeness to the original design.Patience and non-hysteria seems to have paid off, as Id hoped it might. We had 100 or so invited guests to witness the run through which, although being utterly lost in a stadium, did at least provide the tiniest bit of atmosphere. It went pretty well and most of the feedback and comments were about things which either arent finished yet or that I wanted to change anyway.
After the run through we did a quick video shoot with Bono for a last minute spontaneous sequence. Its for the opening of Zoo Station, the idea being to recreate the iconic image of him as The Fly in front of TV static. We didnt really know it till we did it, but the new character we shot tonight is essentially the same guy, but 15 years on, tired and cynical after a life of excess; some jaded Nazi in a bus conductors hat whos been dragged out of retirement from some dodgy tango club in Buenos Aires to go through the motions one last time. It all came together in the moment and it was very funny. Bono nailed it first time, instantly getting right into character, pressed up against a huge video wall with Zoo Station playing on a boom box and me yelling instructions, whilst all present howled with laughter.
This was followed by our final programming night in Belgium. We were all completely wrecked, but there was a lot of cleaning up to do, and final (for the moment) versions of video pieces to be made. Weve introduced three new camera positions and several new gags, so all this has to be worked into the set up. The key has been to programme everything in such a way that allows us to operate it with a degree of spontaneity, which again is pretty much unprecedented, especially in the world of video playback. Ashs control software is extraordinary. And he just sits there, making it up as he goes along.
It got light. We packed up. We got in the van. Bed at 7am, maybe later.