04 November 2009
Cold and Wet November DayWednesday 4th November 2009. Berlin. Rehearsal day.
Most of the rest of our touring party chose to stay in New York after the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame gig and so arrived in Berlin in the early hours of this morning. Consequently, the majority of them are completely wasted, next to which I am the very picture of health and vitality.
Having failed to get to sleep until 5am yet a-bloody-gain, I slept till about 11am and pulled back the curtains of my window in order to monitor progress on stage. I laughed out loud to see large fluffy white snowflakes filling the sky and drifting gently downwards. It's finally happened - we've finally engineered a situation where U2 are going to play outdoors in heavy snow.
As the afternoon wore on the enchanting snowfall turned to a somewhat less charming grey drizzle that looked like it was setting in for the day. Our backline guys were due to set up their equipment today but mutinied in favour of staying in the bar. I had agreed to show up for a camera rehearsal at 8.30pm, by which time it was simply raining. With a resigned sigh I picked up a Hotel Fabulous umbrella from the lobby and swam toward the Gate.
The stage was set up (though devoid of equipment) and on it were standing four young German men acting as stand-ins for the musicians, so that the assembled cameras could rehearse their moves with the director. The stand-ins were bundled up against the weather to the point where they would really only serve as a useful reference if members of U2 decided to do their performance dressed as Kenny from Southpark. However, nobody had the heart to ask them to face the elements, so we made the best of it.
Deciding against showing any moral support, I made a beeline for the dry warmth of the TV truck which was parked round the back of the Gate. Inside, we could see the dozen or so video images from the cameras out in the square and it was immediately obvious that this had the potential to look completely unique. The graphics were reading very well on the Gate and the whole thing had a highly iconic feel about it. We spent a couple of hours going through the lighting and camera moves for each of the songs to be televised, then I texted the band to let them know all was well, before bailing to join the backline guys in the bar.