Day Off - Berlin
Woke up to find the sun shining rather over zealously and a Berlin barely recognisable from how I remember it of old. Our hotel is right by the Brandenburg Gate, in what used to be the "no man's land" just on the East side of the Wall. I have been to Berlin perhaps half a dozen times over the past ten years so seen the gradual change and regrouping of this extraordinary city, but now the metamorphosis is almost complete. Old postcards show the route of the Wall and the bleak open space beside it, whereas today there's not a trace left and it seems absurd and inconceivable that anyone could have just bisected the city one night.
Went into the venue later as the crew was loading in today, on account of this being a rather unusual gig. It's a stone amphitheatre built as part of the Olympic Stadium complex for the '36 games. The stage area is very small so whenever a band comes in here it tends to be a fairly stripped down affair, but the vibe of the place is incredible. The sides of the amphitheatre are very steep, so the audience appears almost to loom up vertically to great height - from the performer's point of view its about as "in your face" as it gets. We had done a good deal of advance work to figure out how on earth we could fit the heart-ramp in here and it really worked out well. The ramp looked like it had been designed to fit on the smallish lawn floor in front of the stage. All very encouraging.