U2360° TOUR Leg 3: 2011


'It Would Take Longer To Paint That One'

24 March 2011
'It Would Take Longer To Paint That One'
Santiago. Rehearsal day.

We finally got ourselves a full complement of band members this afternoon, which always ratchets the on-site energy up a notch. They came in to get reacquainted with the stage and rehearse through the evening. Suddenly it only seemed like a couple of days since the Cape Town show, rather than a whole month, and happily everyone got comfortably back in the saddle almost at once.

There were a couple of new things to try, including a short instrumental version of Mothers of the Disappeared which will form a segue between One and Streets. It seems like the right kind of reference, acknowledging the history but now very much in the spirit of a country that has moved on. We are also going to put in One Tree Hill, partly for the Victor Jara reference, partly because of the mining empathy with New Zealand and not least because it's a great and under-played U2 song.

The opening of the shows in South Africa, featuring a recording of the Soweto Gospel Choir, was absolutely stellar. Much as it's often fruitless to hope lightning will strike twice, we did have a fish around to see if there might be something along those lines that we could do to create a unique opening for Latin America. We discovered a young Chilean singer called Francisca Valenzuela who is a very popular new artist here, perhaps with something of the Sinead O'Connor about her. She came to the stadium this afternoon (apparently from college where she's studying journalism) and immediately clicked with the U2 guys. So much so, they recorded some vocal parts on the spot and by tea-time we had ourselves a whole new intro. 'Gracias a la vida' is the lyric, based (I gather) on a Chilean poem. The vocal is quite something and Francisca ('Fran') was fantastic - articulate, confident and seemingly not at all intimidated by the spontaneity of the event. Clearly she's a star in the making.

Just before rehearsal, we were visited by our old friend Rene Castro, a Chilean painter, muralist and graffiti artist whom we have known since the eighties. I knew him in San Francisco and he became part of U2's world for a while, eventually painting the stage set for the Love Town tour and some of the cars on the Zoo TV Tour. He grew up here, where his political activism got him into trouble, including being incarcerated in this very stadium when the Pinochet regime was at its height. He escaped to San Francisco where he continued his activism, having returned to Chile about five years ago. I haven't seen him in such a long time, but he was as funny and delightful as ever. He laughed when he saw the humongous 360 stage. 'It would take a bit longer to paint that one...'

In an unprecedented fit of self-confidence we actually knocked off early. Sound curfew wasn't until 10.30pm but by nine the band members were starting to glance at each other with looks of 'I'm OK if you're OK'. Besides, some of them only flew in today so there's no point in caning it just for the sake of it.

During rehearsals, incidentally, the sonic experience of having my new in-ear monitors was every bit as astonishing as I'd thought it might be. Vocals are particularly startling - or actually, more so when somebody speaks - as you hear their voice emanating from deep inside your own head. It's incredibly odd, but wonderfully liberating for me, having been at such a disadvantage on stage up until now. Also, I noticed again that you don't have the volume particularly loud to get all the impact you need.  It just made me want to smile the whole time - and the sound of someone breathing is a pretty wacky sensation too, let me tell you.

Related Topics


27 March, 2011
Unique art
Hi Willie, I am glad that you were able to meet Rene Castro in Chile. I like the huge and colourful painting he did for the Love Town Tour. The image of the guitar was so powerful and truly suitable for the tour. And the paintings on some cars of the Zoo TV Tour were also very expressive. It is great that the show in Chile offered some changes like the instrumental version of "Mothers Of The Disappeared". This track is really so suitable for a country that had to go through such hard times.
26 March, 2011
Heavy breathing
A co-worker accidentally set off the intercom in my office recently and not realizing it, was just sitting there breathing rather loudly. The two of us in my office didn't know who it was or what they were up to. So creepy sounding and we looked wide-eyed at each other. It is an elementary school so I knew it had to be a teacher and nothing sinister so I leaned over close to the speaker and started to "heavy' breathe back into the mic and the gal on the other end FLIPPED out We laughed our heads off. Turns out it was the Pre-kindergarten teacher soooooooooo not expecting creepy sounds coming out of her intercom either! Can't imagine hearing it "in" my head like you are.
25 March, 2011
gracias, gracias. gracias
Guillermo, you're having too much fun with those new ears! 'Bout time ya got em, though! Great show tonight, good job! Looking forward to seeing some YouTube of Fran! xoxo 2 u
Newer comments    1 - 3 of 3    Older comments

Current News

16 Apr, 2013
We've got winners in our #U2FTGU competition.
11 Mar, 2013
Photos and clips 'from the ground up' arriving every day. Love your work...
18 Feb, 2013
Ever made anything From The Ground Up? (See what we did there?) Check out our latest competition.
29 Jan, 2013
Those five bonus downloads when you subscribe to U2.com? All you need to know.
18 Dec, 2012
It opens with Breathe and closes with "40" - but what are the other thirteen tracks on Edge's Picks?
15 Nov, 2012
Fifteen tracks selected by The Edge... but what are they?
14 Nov, 2012
'From The Ground Up' is the inside story of U2360° and in this exclusive extract we go backstage with Adam.
27 Jun, 2012
Saturday marks three years since U2360 took off - we're hosting 'U22 Day' to celebrate.

Current News

30 Apr, 2015

‘Wow, that’s four years since we played that?’ Not bad!’ Interview, New York Times.

28 Apr, 2015

Chegg and the One Campaign launch student contest to win tickets to see the band on tour.

12 Apr, 2015
'It's a mysterious thing, the relationship between father and son...'
09 Apr, 2015
The Deluxe version of Songs of Innocence arrives on vinyl next week, an exclusive for Record Store Day.
24 Mar, 2015
Sunday, June 7 - second and final show in Denver. Tickets on sale Monday.
23 Mar, 2015
A sixth and final show has been confirmed for London's O2 in November.
19 Mar, 2015
Sing 'Song For Someone' ? We'll be showcasing some of the performances.
17 Mar, 2015
Denver, Colorado has been added to the iNNOCENCE & eXPERIENCE Tour.