POPMART Leg 4: 1998, South America


Gothenburg post-show - Paparazzi showdown.

Gothenburg post-show - Paparazzi showdown. Willie goes horticultural and Bono plus friends outwit a bunch of pesky snappers.

We stayed the night in Gothenburg, and will travel to Oslo tomorrow, so there was a free morning here. A few of us wandered into the Botanical Gardens, next door to the hotel and found ourselves in the most exquisite rose garden. Maybe a thousand varieties with such strong scents. It was a beautiful day too, so very relaxing to slow down enough to "smell the flowers while you can". Its extremely difficult to let yourself slow down at all on a tour, for fear of losing momentum and spiraling off into space. Consequently, being faced with 'Nature' is always a bit of a challenge, which really could go either way. Some days you just can't handle it at all, its all so....well, so horrifyingly 'Natural', but today mercifully it proved to be an entirely untraumatic experience. Perhaps the Botanical Garden vibe is a good one to remember for future days off.

Later on a classic U2 moment occurred when Bono and a few other folks went out for the evening. The band had been pestered by a couple of paparazzi photographers all day, so for the evening's outing we went by car to avoid any further hassle - after all, the gig was yesterday, so theoretically the fuss should have died down to some extent. Anyhow, our paparazzi friends were not to be deterred and jumped into their car to follow. The result was of course a car chase through the streets of Gothenburg, which got increasingly out of hand. Coming down a side street, Bono spotted a pile of red traffic cones by the side of the road. Without a word he pulled the car over and signaled everyone to assemble a road-block with them as the paparazzi car appeared around the corner. Mayhem ensued, with people running all over the place wielding traffic cones and the photographers taking aim as best they could. Then the fatal blow. As the photographers got out of their car to get a closer view, Howie B. circled round, ran past their car and in one graceful motion swooped in and stole the car keys. Everyone jumped back into our vehicle and sped off, leaving the photographers gutted to find their steed disabled. I can still hear Howie laughing now.

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