10 August 2010
Commuting from NiceFrankfurt. Show day.
Today saw the first of many 'commuting' days from Nice. These days are a little crazy and can feel akin to a military manoeuvre, but there are advantages to being based in one place for a while (not having to lug so much gear to every show being probably the most noticeable). It also means that the band can bring guests with them for the day, so I was surprised and delighted to see Michael Stipe on the plane. I worked with R.E.M. for about ten years, so know their organisation well (lovely folks). I also knew that (like me and a few other passengers on the plane) Michael had turned 50 this past year so we traded observations on the weird wonder of finding yourself being far older than you feel inside. I turned 40 at an R.E.M. show in upstate New York and we agreed that this only felt like a heartbeat ago.
The stadium in Frankfurt has quite a small footprint with steeply raked seating close to the pitch. This gives it a cauldron-like feel and is the perfect kind of venue for our show, only slightly marred by the gigantic scoreboard hanging directly in front of the pylon.
Overall we had another great show, which will be good for communal confidence, though I still want to play with the set some more. I'm not sure that we have 'Act I' quite nailed, and besides, it helps to keep the show alive if we don't let it settle down too much. Spectacular blunder of the night went to Team Stage Management who apparently spaced out on the fact that New Year's Day requires the piano. The song was placed very early in the set and I guess somebody somewhere didn't put two and two together, so when Edge when upstage to play the intro the piano was conspicuous by its absence. Without missing a beat Edge improvised on guitar, which lent an interesting punk feel to the song, until the piano emerged from its trapdoor in underworld.
I joined the 'runner' back to the plane during Moment of Surrender, and a couple of hours later was back on my balcony. That's a pretty full day.