Elevation Leg 2: 2001, Europe


Great Drop-Off Laundry

29 September 2009
Great Drop-Off Laundry
Tuesday 29th September 2009. Washington DC. Show day.

It seems like I was the last of our touring party to hear the word, but there's a great drop-off laundry in the very next street to the Hotel Fabulous. And there was much rejoicing. I haven't managed to do any laundry at all since departing from London, so let your imagination run with that for a minute and you'll understand my joy.

Today's project was a commute to Washington DC to do a show at the romantically named Fed Ex Stadium. In truth I have no idea where the stadium actually is, though I know for sure it's a long way from Washington DC proper. It could be in Maryland. Or I might just have made that up. All I know is that we flew for about an hour, landed in an anonymous airport whose terminal buildings were all matt black in colour and had no windows, which was more than a little creepy. We then drove at ludicrous speed with a police escort, eventually going through a residential neighbourhood with people sitting on their front porches looking strangely at us as we shot past.

Happily, the stadium itself was pretty good as a venue for the 360 show. I really rather enjoyed the show, which I know might sound a bit daft but some nights (perhaps when the pressure's off) I still see with new eyes this thing we've made and relive some of the early joy of just watching it.

The only downer (and I perhaps shouldn't say this, but it happened with 88,000 witnesses so is hardly a secret) was that when Bono gave a name check to Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the house, who was present at the show, a good portion of the audience booed audibly. Apart from the fact of simply being bloody rude, it seemed so symptomatic of the reflex responses that are so tangibly present in this deeply divided country, even on a big night out. By contrast, Bono name-checked the president of Rwanda (also present - it was a big night) and got a big cheer. I'm really not sure what to make of what's going on here at the moment.

Runner back to New York after the show. We arrived back at the Hotel Fabulous around 2.30am and I was dog tired but somehow it becomes so hard to just go to bed. I guess we're pretty wired from the day but even so it seems so unreasonably difficult to just get into bed and turn the light off. There's email to futz with, online things to poke around, eventually getting in to bed but still having to have a last look at the crossword... drives me crazy.

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08 October, 2009
Stephanie - "fan" for 25 years
Hello Wilie, As a working mother of two young children, I adore reading your posts, as your words "take me to another place" - on tour with my all time favorite band. Today, after reading your "laundry" post, I thought about what you had written and was compelled to "comment". True, America is deeply divided, perhaps we always have been, and always will be. Let me preface, by also stating that I voted for President Obama and am staunchly supportive of his presidency. Speaker Pelosi's "politics as usual", us against them actions, have significantly undermined President Obama's promises of unity. My guess is that is what folks were responding to at the DC concert. For those of us that care, which I believe most U2 concert goers do, there is much fatique with the political division. We expect and want our polticians to work together for the betterment of our country. Yes, booing a person is rude, but I eternally grateful to live in a country where one has a voice - well received or not. Thank you for sharing your perspective and road experiences. I am grateful for that, too.
08 October, 2009
Welcome to the city of discord
Kurtforstmann has it right... DC, as beautiful as it can be, is a mirage. I am passionately in love with what the band views our great country to be, and I wish we could see that reflection in ourselves. But politics and opinion go hand in hand, and for all the great advances we've made perhaps you can see past our bitterness and see it as a giant leap from where we were in '65, even '93. We struggle, but then, don't we all? I found it enlightening to see that the band is not afraid to lead by example instead of critique... it's fresh air, and does get results... a la Bono's DATA effort with O'Neill and company. Love, peace, and compassion to all.
08 October, 2009
Muskoka U2 Fan
Thanks for the diary entry Willie. Such a crazy life on the road. I'll be happy to sign on as your personal laundry doer for free as long as I can quietly and discreetly tag along for the rest of the tour. I'll make sure your whites are whitey-white and your colours don't run. Your undies will smell like they've been hanging in the Irish sun, awash in a slightly salty but very fresh breeze. How can you turn down this offer? Thanks for it all.
07 October, 2009
Dirty Laundry
Yes, it was a pardon my French, a bloody shame the way some people behaved, but to think everything changed with one little election would be naive. I lived long enough to know better. Bono strongly believes in inclusion of everyone--it what makes Bono Bono, well, that and songwriting and the singing and the charm...--and instead of booing, just try to appreciate what he's trying to do. Concert crowds can be homogenous or diverse--with U2 it's gonna be diverse; case in point I blended in when I saw Miles and could easily be pointed out when I saw Springsteen. My point is we have at least one common ground--we're U2 fans and want to enjoy the moment of surrender to their music. At least I do! Waiting for Norman-tick, tock! BTW, Willie, how'd the laundry treat your black jeans?
07 October, 2009
Good Stuff
Willie: You are a good writer. The travelogue you've created for this tour is extremely interesting from your point of view. You seem to be the Chief Grunt who works the "edges" of a moveable feast. Your stories give color and permanance to the otherwise mundane happenings surrounding your job. Keep up the good work! Regarding DC, i am a 40 year native. It is a microcosm of the world due to its racial and ethnic diversity. No where in the States is the division of thought and politics more self-evident. Polarity is status quo and this city's favorite pastime is disagreement. Sincerely, Long Time Listener, First Time Caller.
Mark A Sinnott
07 October, 2009
Willie, if you lived in this country you'd probably understand that Nancy Pelosi is, for many reasons, one of the most despised politicians in all the land. And - this holds true amongst people across the political spectrum. BTW, I am sure Bono knows this. His heart as always is in the right place but perhaps more great music and less politics would be welcome. A U2 show is a great escape from the 'every day' stuff. Let's not spoil it. :) Cheers!
07 October, 2009
sorry the booing put a damper on your night-- it's not uncommon these days, when i was at Obama's inauguration this past January, the entire crowd on the Mall gave a huge boo when G.W. Bush appeared on the capitol steps for the first time. i thought it was hugely disrespectful-- even though i did not agree w/ his politics, it just seemed like he should be afforded some respect on his last day in office. (i did, however, find amusing the chants of "hey hey hey, goodbye" as Air Force one took him away at the end of the ceremony-- at least he was out of earshot at the time!).
07 October, 2009
Nancy Pelosi
Is kind of crazy. In this country, even a large percentage of Dems think she is coockoo. Hope that explains why people booed.
07 October, 2009
Dirty Day
Yes, booing is completely unacceptable. Looks like 360 got to the States at the right time to heal some frazzled minds. Come on, people, we need the USA to be united for these tough times.
07 October, 2009
state of affairs
Unfortunately, you got to experience a great country and people that are tired of a two party system that serve themselves and not the people. Its broken, and we haven't found a way to fix it.
07 October, 2009
Americans have always been somewhat rude with their politicians. Maybe it's a good thing, not always giving special deference to those who wield tremendous power. Plus Congress has both sides of the isles pissed off at their inability to pretty much do anything. Bono named dropped Jesse Helms and John Edwards in North Carolina and got silence. Former Senator Edwards is in a very sad and ugly scandal involving having a baby with a former staffer during his run for the presidency. This while his wife has breast cancer. We're none too pleased with his personal actions regardless of his higher hopes for the world.
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