11 May 2005
Chicago. Day off
I didnt get out of Bonos birthday party till 5am, and with this being the first real day off in a long while I wasnt exactly up with the lark. Around 1pm I left my room, intending to head down to go to Walgreens across the street for a few hotel room necessities, water, etc. I padded up the corridor, practically in my pyjamas, the elevator doors opened and there was Bono. 'Coming to lunch?', he says. 'Oh, go on, twist me arm then'
A dozen or so headed out to The Tenth Best Restaurant in America overlooking an angry looking Lake Michigan. After the week weve had, it was nice to do something so civilized. Everyone is delighted with the way the show and the video shoot went, so theres a real sense of achievement. Youd think that after all these years this kind of thing would get easier, but for U2 it seems to get harder. Thats the curse and the privilege of working with perfectionists. I was pretty out of it, but the surroundings were gentle and quiet enough, despite Simon Carmody singing at the top of his lungs for the duration. 'Who put the ball in the English net?', hed howl 'We did! We did!'. It transpired that this song of triumph referred to a sporting event which took place in 1988. Most odd.
The crew had a sporting event of their own today, in the form of a football match. This started life as a five a side kick around, but by the time it materialised, it had snowballed into a major event; full sized teams and pitch, played at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. There was a barbecue, cash prizes for man of the match, etc., live coverage on the stadium video screens, commentary over the PA, and a TV crew from MTV covering the event. Theres nothing like a low key family outing
Evening activity options included going to see Bruce Springsteen and The Killers (not on the same bill, I hasten to add) but I was a-gonner, so tucked up in my room. This hotel, the Park Hyatt, is one of my favourites. It is only upstaged by its sister Park Hyatt in Tokyo which is spectacular with just the right combination of Feng Shui and opulence. Its the hotel from the movie ëLost in Translation. Weirdly the thing which the vast majority of hotel rooms lack is a comfy chair. This one though has an Eames armchair and footstool which is glorious. My body feels like I just got back from a medium sized war, but tonight Im enjoying a small respite in a comfortable seat. Bill Evans is tinkling away in the background, the lights of Chicago blink outside the picture window and I even ordered room service, which I only ever do once in a blue moon (I always find it borderline claustrophobic to sit and eat by myself in a hotel room, then go to bed. Feels weird to me). Its blowing a gale outside, but in here theres not much wrong with the world and I shall sleep the sleep of kings.
Never did get to Walgreens, mind.