21 April 2005
Denver Pepsi Centre II
Being the second night in the same venue, nobody had to go into the gig particularly early. Given that most of the crew began work at 5am yesterday morning I can't imagine that last night was much of a party night, but even so I'd be surprised if anyone got up much before noon.
I spent a couple of hours online catching up with e.mail whilst listening to Melvyn Bragg's 'In Our Time' on BBC Radio 4. Cell phones and the internet have completely revolutionised rock touring every bit as much as they have revolutionised the rest of the planet. I remember on the War Tour sending out lists of dates and hotel addresses to friends and colleagues who wanted to be able to send things to me by post. Hearth and home comforts (like Radio 4) became nostalgic icons of another world lost in the distance. We were way out to sea, relying on calling cards, production office phones and the occasional treasure of an English newspaper for any brief contact with the mainland.
During production rehearsals in Vancouver this year, when we were working round the clock whilst simultaneously attempting to beat jet-lag, I found a way of synchronising the internet broadcast of that morning's BBC Today (news) programme with local time. It was oddly comforting to have familiar voices reading the news and giving the time, even though in reality they were already eight hours in the future. Cell phones and particularly Skype'-like internet telephony make a complete mockery of time and distance. Its funny that it no longer seems strange to make a phone call to somebody and to have to ask them where are you?. Aside from the general awesomeness of the flood of new creations, here in our world all of this fab new gear is simply convenient. Fantastically convenient. In fact, given that we citizens of Rock inhabited a world where time and geography are of absolutely no consequence, its hard to imagine any other walks of life where on-demand global communication could be more useful. Apart from physical presence, you can pretty much have everything you need from home out here. It now seems more extraordinary that we ever managed without it.
On the Elevation Tour we thought it was a real treat (and very funny) to very occasionally be able to receive wireless Broadband at the mix position. On the Vertigo Tour we couldn't do the show without it. Even I was slightly staggered to witness Ash (the guy who wrote the control system software for our video set-up) updating the system yesterday. Why so strange? Well, the system was set up in Denver and Ash is in San Francisco. Or possibly London. Actually I have no idea where Ash is, other than being nowhere near Denver, but there he was - moving the on-screen cursor, writing code, installing new elements. Its witchcraft, I tell you!!