17 February 2011
'Eureka Moment'Cape Town. Rehearsal day.
On going into the gig this morning, I learned that Craig, one of my lighting crew, had been robbed at knifepoint last night, pretty much right where I'd had the near miss with the motorbike scam. Craig was fine, unharmed & recovered to the point of being able to joke about it but it made me feel better about not engaging with biker boy.
In the rehearsal room Dec & I had some rare quiet time to work. Regular readers are probably sick to death of hearing about our apparently never-ending work on the 'Questions' segue, but after about a year of noodling with it, I finally had a bit of a 'Eureka' moment and realised exactly what we needed to do. I talked with the band this week about that particular moment in the show and what we might do to complete it. They threw some ideas around including reviving a short section of Your Blue Room. I thought this had potential, as I felt that the reason Your Blue Room didn't survive in the 2009 show was not that it wasn't good but that it was simply too long to hold attention in a stadium. A minute-long snippet might therefore be worth a look. However, in a fevered dream a couple of nights ago I realised that the answer isn't Your Blue Room, but that it's Fez, from No Line on the Horizon. Ironically, when I first envisaged the opening of the giant 360 video screen, the soundtrack I had in my head was Fez. I dropped this idea when it became evident that Being Born wasn't going to make the show. I thought then (two years ago) that you couldn't have one without the other but this week woke up and thought 'well, of course we can.'
The result is a glorious mash of Fez, the audience-sourced questions, plus samples from Zooropa, odd bits of Achtung Baby and god knows what else thrown in on top. Bono and Edge sat with us to help make it all work and we finally (please god) finished it off. I hope I still like it tomorrow, as tonight I'm really delighted with it. I put the finished sound file on a memory stick to distribute to those who'd need to hear it. These little memory sticks form a daily part of the culture of information transfer in the video and audio departments on tour. When you plug one into your computer, a little icon pops up on screen showing its title (usually the owner's name). These memory sticks get passed from hand to hand and may go walkabout for days at a time before being returned to their owner. When I got this particular stick back, I was amused to note that some wag had renamed it "Animal Porn". Just as well I spotted that before heading through customs.
The band came in and got straight into the new/old song. It felt really good to watch them play something from off the beaten track, so hopefully it will develop and make it into the show at some point. I'm not holding my breath, but it's not out of the question. At least I got to hear it. They also ran through two or three songs from the show that were deemed to need upgrading or work of some kind. We ate dinner at the gig then headed back to the hotel.
I had a wild night in my room doing a Vectorworks tutorial (a CAD drawing programme I use but that I've never mastered the finer points of) whilst listening to Lucinda Williams. Desperately dull as this sounds, I quite enjoyed it, not really being in the mood for company.
The wind is still blowing a gale outside, which could be a huge problem for the 360 video screen. We've never had weather conditions that have precluded us being able to open the screen during a show, but theoretically this is a possibility, so fingers crossed.