Elevation Leg 3: 2001 North America


Day Off, Buenos Aires

Managed a good nights sleep in my shiny new room (identical to my previous one but an exact mirror image which is most weird. I keep walking into walls when aiming for the bathroom, etc). Spent the morning in the room working on show stuff and putting some thought into some longer term ideas about future U2 tours. This sounds a bit dramatic, but theres no better time to discuss live shows with the band than when we are in the thick of a tour. Right now its a very real, tangible subject, rather than the vague memory that it will be by the time we start the design process for the next time round. Ive no idea where well head next, but its interesting to think about, so I may as well make the most of having access to the whole band every day.

Spent the afternoon in another meeting discussing the forthcoming TV and film shoots, before finally escaping from the hotel and managing a stroll to the local park. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon and whilst weve been running round in ever decreasing circles, it seems that the rest of the world has been having itself a pleasant weekend. The park was busy, with a guitar player entertaining a recumbent audience and lots of little arts and crafts stall selling a familiar selection of homemade goods with a local slant. It was very very nice to get out.

Come 8pm or so the concept of dinner reared its head and I felt like it was time to make the effort to find a different part of the city. Ive been here for days and have barely left the block where the hotel is situated. Got a tip to find the Placa Dorengo in the San Telmo district that, I was told, had walking streets and typical restaurants, which sounded pretty on the money. Allen and I went by ourselves first of all, later being joined by some of the film lighting crew. Our contact had not lied to us, as Placa Dorengo turned out to be a small beautiful old square of picture book quality. We strolled around a bit and found a whole load of quaint looking places, plus some carnival activity, but in the end settled for the little place in the corner of the square and found a table outside. The square was very quiet as it was still early by Buenos Aires standards, but there was no shortage of fine food and vino tinto so we just got on with it.

Our companions arrived about 10ish, by which time things were livening up. A small band appeared in the square and before long a couple were tango-ing their feet off on a makeshift dance floor by the bandstand. The square was getting busy, as were the cafÈs and we could see through one of the cafe windows a couple tangoing on a table. It was a beautifully warm and still night and eventually, along the little sidewalk, a few other couples began practicing their steps. It was all overwhelmingly charming and hard not to feel like we were sitting on a film set. Here we are in Buenos Aires, where people really do tango in the streets. I think we all felt the absence of our respective better halves more keenly than usual, as this was a magical place and very much the kind best shared.

By 1am the place was really starting to get going, but we bailed as some of us have an early start in the morning. Ive bookmarked the Placa Dorengo though, and have a feeling Ill be back here before the weeks out. I have such great memories of tango in Buenos Aires from the PopMart tour when 20 of us took lessons from the very brave Delores, who dared to attempt to teach a road crew to dance. Her partner Juan turned out to be something of a name in tango clubland and took us to a few fabulous places. Sadly however, we have not been able to trace Juan and Delores this time round. I tried Google, but searching for tango lessons in Buenos Aires is like doing a search for taxis in Manhattan, so it seems were out of luck. Maybe theyll come to the gig and find us, you never know

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