Vertigo Leg 1: 2005, US


'And So To Bed...'

18 February 2011
'And So To Bed...'
Cape Town. Show day.

On throwing back the hotel drapes this morning I was greatly relieved to observe static palm trees around the spa pool, much in contrast to their head-banging activities of the past couple of days. The gale-force winds appear to have blown themselves out, leaving us a tranquil (and noticeably hotter) day in which to stage our rock extravaganza in safety. Another meteorological bullet dodged.

I had breakfast with an old friend who I know from R.E.M. days which was a welcome brush with reality. We didn't actually leave the hotel but it was a gesture at least towards having some contact with the outside world. All too soon though I was back in a van and stadium-bound. My band-related duties were relatively light today, as we'd pretty much confirmed today's set list and strategy last night. Tonight's show is being broadcast to Africa (though only on the radio, which is me off the hook) so the band came in to soundcheck and for a brief rehearsal with Yvonne Chakka Chakka, a South African singer who was to duet with them for one song (if indeed it is possible to duet with four other people).

Somewhat more prosaic activities filled my afternoon, mostly concerned with the next leg of the 360 tour. I figured out my flight routings to South America (a wise man gets this sorted out early, as there are limited numbers of flights, so with the quantity of us all trying to go on the same dates it can end in tears if you dilly dally). There was also Brazilian visa stuff to do (no visas for Chile or Argentina, just for Brazil for some wonderfully random reason) and also this years U.S. visa application (no visas needed for Canada though... again wonderfully random). I was also planning on turning in my receipts for this leg but when it came to it I just couldn't be arsed. This is a little atypical for me, but I suspect I won't be the only person trying to cash African Rand cab receipts with our tour accountant when we get to Chile.

After the show there was a soiree on the roof of the Hotel Overdone. We were jokingly calling it the end of tour party, even though we've only done two shows on this leg. I managed to locate my guests and spent a couple of hours hanging out, ending up at a table with Michael Mittermeier, his wife & his manager. Michael is a German comedian & a friend of the band (I can't remember now how they met exactly, but I do know that at a show in Germany on the Joshua Tree tour, Michael was the guy Bono pulled out of the audience to play guitar. Whether this helped instil a desire to follow a career in comedy, we'll never know for sure. They're a very pleasant bunch and we were having a splendid time when Bono arrived and in keeping with the last time we spent an evening together (in Munich, I dimly recall) he decided that whiskey was the order of the night. The single malt arrived and rather nice it was too.

Shortly after the whiskey drinking began, I realised I'd left my phone in my room and should go and retrieve it (perfectly normal tour phone separation anxiety). I made my way down a couple of floors to my room, found my phone and then... well, I just saw this great big bed made up and ready to go. It was 2.30am, the bed was turned down, pillows plumped, the lighting was soft, and the giant plasma screen set to "ambient media" producing something sounding akin to Enya on Quaaludes. I was a bit knackered and the lure of the pillow exceeded my will to resist, so I just got into bed, giggling with delight, without so much as a 'gute Nacht'.

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03 March, 2011
Good night
Hi Willie, as a subscriber I was so happy for having the privilege to listen to the show in Cape Town in real time. I was very thrilled to be part of such a special global event. When listening to "I Still Haven;t Found..." I was amazed by the duet with the South African singer Yvonne Chakka Chakka. With her strong voice she really put a lot of soul in the music. It is also great that you mention U2;s longtime friendship with the German comedian Michael Mittermeier. On TV I once heard Michael talk about his luck to play guitar together with U2 on the Joshua Tree Tour. This performance must have been the beginning of a great relationship. I also know that he wrote a book called "Achtung Baby" (it deals with fatherhood). On YouTube you can see a very funny video where he presents this book in a comedy show. Thanks for this great diary entry! Gute Nacht, Willie!
23 February, 2011
The wee small hours
Oh, Willie, how much I enjoy your tales. Makes me feel like being a fly on the wall every time. Even more so when you write about the charming twist of fate that brought together Michael Mittermeyer and U2 so many moons ago, leading to an ongoing friendship. The man himself has spoken about the event numerous times and it drew me even more into loving the band, thinking that anything is possible with these four humble, amazing guys that form U2. Thank you so much for sharing the magic with us mere mortals. :-)
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