Countdown to Rose Bowl
Thursday 22nd October 2009. Los Angeles. Day off.
We've been pedal-to-the-metal for a couple of days to get everything ready for the Vegas show. In uncharacteristically sensible fashion, we've ruled out putting anything new into the show in L.A. The Rosebowl is our one shot at the YouTube broadcast and DVD shoot which is pressure enough for one day, so experimenting with new show elements on top of that would be daft, even by our standards. Consequently, anything that we want for the Rosebowl has to be ready and in the Vegas show tomorrow night. We've been rattling through the ideas which came up during our Mexico meetings and have most of that sorted. These were mostly just small tweaks that have been surprisingly helpful in tightening up the show and making it a little more coherent.
There are two more ambitious tasks though, which I'm still not 100per cent confident we'll get together, but it's looking more promising today than it was yesterday. One idea is for Unknown Caller, where we want to create a 'Global Chorus' of singers from all over the world who will join in the chants during the song. We got U2.com to put up a request for video clips of people singing and have had a good response. Awkwardly, the response has come in the form of a hundred video clips which all seem to be in different formats so it's been a bit of a marathon to beat it all into shape.
As if gathering video material from all over the world wasn't tricky enough, the second new piece we're making involves collecting video from space (at least the U2.com clips were available on earth...) We were keen to see if we could make a version of In a Little While which would follow the same pattern that we had for Your Blue Room. In a Little While has become important to the show as it touches on the space theme, but very much from the perspective of the human separation. One of the most surprising things about meeting the astronauts and seeing into their world was coming to understand how much their world struggles to balance the two sides of the coin - on the one hand dealing with these very high profile, high budget ventures, but on the other the cost to home and family life. It's exactly the same dichotomy that we mere mortals face in coming on a big rock tour like this, so we've found a lot of empathy with them.
Frank de Winne is the commander of the International Space Station and has already shot a few things for us up there and agreed to do one more piece for us with him reciting the last verse of In a Little While. Apparently they've had a busy week up on the ISS, so we weren't sure if Frank would be able to find the time for another bout of home movie making, but at 10pm this evening the footage came through. It too appears to be in some peculiar video format (well, it did come from space, so fair enough, I suppose) so the whole thing needed reformatting before it was usable.
Whilst the computers were grinding away we went down the road to Barney's Beanery for a late bite. The place was absolutely jumping and the pool tables are back. It's funny, we've been coming to this place for decades and watched it go variously in and out of fashion. There were pool tables in the 80's (I seem to remember nights in here on The Joshua Tree tour with Mickey Rourke) then I guess pool fell from favour for a while. They're back now though, along with a very great number of plasma screen TVs which all seemed to be tuned to different stations. Still, it was what we needed, a bit of noise and human interaction after staring at computer screens for days.