Cardiff Millenium Stadium
Today was clearly going to be a long one - the old 'three countries in one day' (Get up in Ireland, do a show in Wales, go to bed in England.) Woke up to torrential rain outside and water flowing all over the windowsills. Happily the Cardiff venue has a roof, so if the weather is like this in Wales at least theyll be OK.
Spent the morning hammering out some more details of the Live 8 show. The site (Hyde Park) got a good soaking in a thunder storm last night, apparently, so everyone sounded a bit phased today. There are so many people involved its taken a while to get to grips with getting things done, but I seem to be making headway now. Ive put together a plan for what we might do visually and so sketched up some storyboards to show to the band on the plane, most of which I think might even be achievable.
I didnt get to show them on the flight there, but we did discuss doing another video shoot before the end of the European tour (ah, hell, why not?) to record the outdoor show. We almost got to a decision before landing, but then descended into a lunatic mad rush to get to the gig. We didnt land in Cardiff till gone 6pm but there was a police escort standing by. Or so we thought. For reasons unknown, the police could only escort four vehicles (i.e. the band) but not the rest of us who consequently sat in traffic all the way to the gig, through utterly picturesque scenery.
We didnt get to the gig till after 7pm (I could just imagine the band sitting in the dressing room by themselves wondering where everybody had disappeared to) with an 8.15 show time so it was pretty crazed. This is a covered stadium with a retractable roof (which was closed for the gig) and the place was packed, particularly the floor, so it made getting to the mix position very challenging. The place has a concrete floor and quite an ugly interior, resembling a gigantic pub, or so it felt to me, though that might have been more to do with the quantities of beer being consumed.
The second opening act was playing - The Killers - who were going down a storm. The crowd loved them. Id never seen them before, but I think one of their songs is on our pre-show tape (the one that sounds like the Psychedelic Furs singing the word 'Paella' over and over again). They looked suitably whacky too, like Eddie Izzard fronting Pearl Jam. I hope we see them again, I wouldnt mind a more leisurely look at them.
The U2 show had the luxury of being in darkness from the top of the show, though I was so fried from the crazed rush that it took me half the gig to calm down and focus. Being indoors we didnt have a roof on the mix position so really felt like we were in the crowd, which was very enjoyable. You can tell youre in Wales when you look over and see a guy sitting up on his girlfriends shoulders (I kid you not).
After the show we did a completely mad runner to the airport. I think this sets a record for the shortest period of time I have ever spent in a venue where Im doing a show - approximately 3 hours 45 minutes all in. For some reason we were all allowed in the police escort on the way back, though the almost complete absence of any other traffic did make a man wonder quite why we were driving at 90 miles an hour through winding country lanes. Bruce was in the same van as me and we were being thrown around all over the place, especially when going through roundabouts at high speed (of which there were many). There was a police motorbike either side of us with all their flashing blue lights going, so the whole experience of being hurled round a small vehicle in the middle of the night was effectively under strobe light. Bruce is looking at me going 'this isnt normal, is it?'
Amazingly we got to the plane without barfing and staggered up the steps. It was a brief flight, but I managed to get a 90 second meet with the band who signed off on the ideas for the Live 8 video sequences so now Ive got a whole 48 hours to get them together.
Finally to the hotel back in London and to bed pretty late after a surreal day. To cap it off, we ended up sitting in the bar for a little while, about six or eight of us, everyone just wiped out. The hotel had put some food out for us, salmon and salad-y bits which was nice, so we had a moment to calm down. Bret says 'that was quite a crowd at the show tonight. The floor was packed - I couldnt believe how many cups of beer were being thrown around.' 'Er that wouldnt have been beer, Bret..'