Vertigo Leg 1: 2005, US

Jun
01
2009

'It's a wet night in Dublin...'

Dublin.


It's a wet night in Dublin, after my final meeting with the band prior to the start of production rehearsals in Barcelona. We've been meeting every week for the past month or so, whilst they've been doing their music rehearsals. It seems to be going well for them. The promo tour was very helpful in creating a foundation for live arrangements of some of the new songs. This they have been building on ever since and, to my ears at least, it is sounding extremely promising. Focussed rehearsal has never been one of U2's stronger suits - I think without an audience it all feels a tad meaningless for them - but this time around they seem to be doing very well.

The topics of conversation at our meetings range from the practical to the fanciful but it serves us well in addressing the task at hand. At this stage in the proceedings I tend to be highly practical, perhaps due to my being overly aware of the limited time and budget that remain when a tour is less than a month from kick-off.

The set list is always my primary concern; call me old fashioned, but I can't help feeling that if we know what the script is, then we might stand a better chance of constructing a great show. Ironically, looking at the available material now presents an embarrassment of riches. U2 could play for four hours and not run out of great songs, so some judicial editing is called for. I made a speech to the effect that in the wonderful world of musical theatre, a show is written and rehearsed over-long. As opening night draws near, cuts are made and you can feel the whole show tighten up. It also means that if something simply isn't working for some reason, then it can be dropped without panic. This is the tack that I've gone in on and, at the time of writing, we have a rehearsal set list of about 30 songs.

Due to over-crowding and the need for some fresh air, we've let go of some of the mighty war-horses of previous tours but fear not gentle reader, heaps of classics remain, as well as some highly unexpected gems. A couple of these have even surprised me, much to my delight, so may the best songs win. No doubt we won't be able to entirely please all the people all the time, but it feels like a rip-snorting set to me. And I've seen a few U2 shows.

When our meetings were done, architect Mark Fisher and I retired to our hotel bar for a nightcap and some late-night philosophising. This 'limbo' time is always a bit of a killer for me - the time between the show design being finished and starting rehearsals at the first venue. I feel like I've been pregnant for two and a half years with this idea, which began to take real shape on the final leg of the Vertigo tour. Self-evidently, the first-hand experience of actual childbirth is alien to me, but it might not be entirely unjustified to suggest some parallels with the process of conceiving and delivering a show. Except that in this case the gestation period has been inhumanly protracted and, weighing in at almost 400 tonnes, I'm not sure that there's an epidural on earth sufficient to dull the apprehension entirely.

Related Topics

Current News

07 May, 2009
The opening night of the tour in Barcelona is only weeks away so no better time for a reminder of life on the road.
7
20 Dec, 2006
Rocko Reedy on the night his band opened up for U2.
20 Dec, 2006
How Come? Well, Tamara Kendall from the UK won the 'Hunt The Lyric' competition for those return flights and tickets ...
12 Dec, 2006
The one hundred and thirty first Vertigo show and it was one to remember. Report, photos.
11 Dec, 2006
Wonderful closing night with Pearl Jam in Hawaii and lots of surprise touches as Vertigo 05/06 comes to a close ...
06 Dec, 2006
The U2 support act you've never heard of. (Until Hawaii that is.)
05 Dec, 2006
New backstage shots before showtime in Tokyo.

Eric Clapton was at the final Tokyo show on Monday and chatted with Edge ...
04 Dec, 2006
Video of the band playing 'Window in the Skies' for Japanese TV at the weekend.

Current News

25 Nov, 2014
Rare live set from 1980, now on double vinyl and digitally remastered. Introducing our 2014/15 subscription offer.
24 Nov, 2014
'It’s one of the proudest moments in U2’s history.' Band interview in new Mojo Magazine.
13
24 Nov, 2014
Take 11 urban artists, all inspired by Songs of Innocence. Result? Films Of Innocence.
5
19 Nov, 2014
Rolling Stone reports on Bono's cycling injury.
18 Nov, 2014
Sensational performance by Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, stepping in for U2 at the eleventh hour.
37
17 Nov, 2014
Band Aid 30 - raising funds to tackle Ebola in West Africa.
3
16 Nov, 2014
It looks like we will have to do our Tonight Show residency another time - we're one man down. Bono has injured his arm in a cycling spill in Central Park and requires some surgery to repair it. We're sure he'll make a full recovery soon, so we'll be back! Much thanks to Jimmy Fallon and everyone at the show for their understanding.
147
13 Nov, 2014
The band were in Berlin tonight, performing at The Bambi Awards.
5