23 June 2005
London to Dublin.
Leaving the London hotel was a bit of a shock as we have been nicely tucked up there for a week or so now. Its a famous old establishment, globally famed for its formality and level of service, but has recently been bought by a chain which, frankly, has not been a good thing as far as we could see. Its also frightfully expensive. I am sure we got a deal on the rooms, but of course the incidental charges are stellar. Frances, our publicist, was howling in stunned disbelief at having amassed an incidentals bill of over a thousand pounds, including a charge of £110 for sending one fax. It was 44 pages, but even so - it was being transmitted to another hotel less than a mile away. It would have been far cheaper to send it by bike. In fact, it would have been cheaper to purchase a bike, ride round there in person then just throw the bike into the Thames afterwards. Vertigo Air took us to Dublin, though for some reason we left at the crack of dawn, which was highly un-rock and roll. On arrival at the hotel in Dublin the reason for our early departure became clear. We needed to get here to allow plenty of time to sit in the lobby till our rooms were ready. Zzzz
I went to the venue around 6pm to find that due to the nature of the building and not being allowed to build on the pitch, the stage is a full three feet higher than normal. For similar reasons the follow spot / camera towers are way further from the stage than normal, so its a bit funky all round. On the upside though, the stadium is brand new and spectacularly good as a venue. There will be 82,000 punters jammed in here three nights over and the whole city is clearly well up for a party, so these details I am sure will sink into insignificance come show time.Another thing I have my eye on tomorrow is a rumour of a protest by local residents. There are houses right next to the stadium, I mean literally on the other side of the very narrow street, so to keep them sweet the GAA (the Gaelic football people who own the venue) apparently promised them 3,000 free tickets. This hasnt happened, I am told (and its absolutely nothing to do with U2, I hasten to add), so word is that the local residents are planning a block the streets and stage a demonstration 'using children' (as what, we wonder? Projectiles? Placards? Riot shields?). Again, Im sure itll blow over, but itll give the local papers something to print.Morale was really good amongst the crew despite the occasional drizzle drifting in, and I didnt stay too long at the venue, having clearly outlived my usefulness. Early night.