POPMART Leg 2: 1997, Europe

May
12
2005

Chicago United Center IV

So, finally a normal show day. We went in a little earlier than usual, largely to undo all the alterations wed made to the show for the filming. Smasher and I took the opportunity to do a lot of general housekeeping and tidy up the layers and layers of video programming into a more logical form. Also started documenting the show and the cues, which at present are only stored in my head. Right now I feel like Ill never forget them, but after a summer in stadiums, coming back to this show in September will require some reminders, Im sure.

Everyone was in a good mood, and it felt very much like the quiet after the storm. Or as Rocko put it, somewhat more graphically, 'we have passed the kidney stone.' All in all the Big Video Shoot was comparatively painless. Hamish Hamilton and the rest of the team did really well and we have high hopes for the end result.

When it came to show time, there were two members of the audience who had a significant effect on my mood. On the way to the mix position I saw a guy aged maybe 45-50 yelling at his kid. He was really screaming at him and using horribly inappropriate language. The boy was maybe eight years old, at most he could have been a small ten year old, and Dad was losing it. 'You asshole!', he was going, 'what the fuck is your problem!' Just screaming at him. It was horrible to witness and shook me up a little. (What could possibly have happened to warrant that kind of behaviour?) I was a little distracted by it for the first few songs (incidentally, opening with Vertigo, All Because & Elevation, which completely rocked the house). I kept thinking that the little boy didnt look particularly upset, so perhaps is used to it. Anyway.

Later in the show, another random audience member salvaged my night. Each show, when Ive finished gathering the surveillance images of the audience I leave the surveillance cameras running. I have been shooting more footage of the band for my rival DVD, so I leave the system on. Just by chance, in one of the camera shots, I happened to notice a guy aged maybe 30, who was jumping around more than his neighbours. Smasher noticed it too, so we zoomed in and I have rarely seen a human being more transported by pure joy than this guy. If hed smiled any wider his head would have fallen off. I kept the camera on him, because it was so uplifting to watch him. His unguarded delight in every moment, every note, really helped me forget about the upset of Asshole Dad. By the time we got to Streets, our new friend on camera was practically in tears. Smasher and I were laughing, but only because it was so utterly delightful to see another human being in a state of such complete bliss, living utterly in the moment. Plus of course we know whats about to happen, so can watch him react. Jumping up and down, singing, waving his arms about. Its was just wonderful. We had no idea where he was in the building, well never meet or see him again, but what a privilege to have a job that possesses the capability of making complete strangers so happy.

Back at the hotel there was a low key (by our standards) gathering in the bar, though someone had been thoughtful enough to dig up some sushi so I was a happy bunny. It was meant to be an early night, but three oclock came, then four

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