POPMART Leg 4: 1998, South America

Apr
10
1997

Las Vegas

10 April 1997
Las Vegas
Las Vegas pre-production - Icon in the making. The huge golden arch arrives - and looks awesome, visible from some distance beyond the stadium.

Pre-production, Vegas.
The blur rolls on. Its going fine, no major disasters, but still agonisingly slow. Its like pulling teeth waiting for the disparate parts of the production to arrive from literally all over the world. Yesterday's great and glorious victory was the installment of the upper arch - the (huge) top piece of the arch that sits above the P.A. It arrived on Tuesday and was assembled on the floor of the stadium, making quite a sizable and extremely yellow building, with ample room to wander round inside. After much muttering about wind loading and some rumbles of doom about not being able to use it everywhere, all of which I chose to ignore, the thing was hoisted aloft by crane and all was well. Its pretty magnificent, the scale and the colour are wonderful. Its visible from a long way away - outside the stadium - which of course it will be in many of the stadiums that we play. An icon is in the making. Last night under lights it looked fabulous and the ropelight chases are just out of this world. Mark Fisher, architect of the staging and another key collaborator, were just laughing ourselves silly. Should give the band a thrill to see it from outside the stadium when they get here. The stadium sits on the arrival flight path for the airport, so with a bit of luck they'll see it from the air. A plane lands in Vegas every 90 seconds, bringing in the hordes of cash wielding hopefuls...

Video world continues to crawl along.
There's been much angst and concern over screen feeds, software control and many other things which are way out of my hands. However, the one third of the screen which is up and running has been tweaked and adjusted and looks very good. Clear, bright & stable, so there's enough encouragement to keep morale high, though Monica Caston, our show video director, has been firmly planted in hell for a good while now. I'm doing O.K., frustrated and encouraged. Its a waiting game and time is not on our side, so I am careful to chose my moments of direct involvement wisely. An amount of pessimism and nay-saying is coming from the usual quarters, - the endless angst and drama over the simplest tasks - but overall morale is high and whingeing is encouragingly low (certainly compared with the ZooTV pre-production experience). We have an extraordinary amount of great people on staff, who are are most keen and helpful in finding solutions, rather than pointing out how difficult all this is. Consequently much of the old battle ground has given way and my task is mainly to keep the vibe buoyant and firmly squash any negativity when it emerges. Still, we have very definitely won - getting through the early battles at the design stage has reaped huge benefits here.

We have got a good deal of lighting programming done, and a daily routine is emerging. We programme through the night, go to bed around 4 or 5am, get up at noon or 1pm, bagel with Bruce at 3, catch the shuttle bus to the venue at 5pm, dinner in catering and start all over again. Its looking good. People keep asking me how I feel now I can see how it looks after so long in the design process. The odd thing is, having looked at the models and CAD renderings for so long, when you see it in the flesh, you feel like you've seen it before. It looks EXACTLY like the CAD drawings, so as well as being new and exciting, it does also look terribly familiar. As they say, "it'll be nice when its finished".

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