POPMART Leg 2: 1997, Europe

Jun
15
2005

Manchester Stadium of Light.

Didnt sleep overly well, which was a drag, but I made it through the day OK. I think I am just in anticipation of the London week, being able to go home and all that.We started the day with a band meeting in Bonos room to talk about the set list for tonight. Last nights show went well, but it was the first time wed really had to deal with a lot of daylight during the show and it was felt that some of the songs hadnt worked quite as well as they might have. In any case we are overdue a bit of a set-list shuffle, so it was time well spent. We decided to put in 'Still Havent Found' and also to dust off 'All I Want is You, both of which the band rehearsed at sound check. It was an overcast day, which turned to rain as sound check began. The show must go on though, so the band and backline guys just continued undaunted, shuffling umbrellas at the same time as handling instruments. (In the U2 tradition, for aesthetic reasons our stage has no roof. The equipment is all protected, but the musicians themselves get wet with their audience if the heavens open.)I had dinner in catering and saw an extraordinary sight at the next table. Half a dozen of our truck drivers (a motley bunch if ever there was one) were sitting round the table, eating, drinking tea, etc., but no less than three of them had lap-tops and headsets, chatting to their loved ones in places unknown. Truck drivers on Skype! It was a fabulously 21st century moment, truckers with wireless broadband using internet telephony over tea.A little bit of sunshine broke through the clouds, so a couple of us sat out by the tour buses for half an hour, just to remind ourselves that its theoretically summer now.Prior to 'Idlewild' taking the stage I did a TV interview at the mix position with Cat Deeley. Shes really fun and we had a few laughs as I talked her through all the control gear we have out there, including a midi keyboard and Playstation handset. I also took the opportunity to teach her a little Flemish, mostly obscene, which should provoke some reaction if the piece ever airs in Belgium.The U2 show was fabulous. 'Still Havent Found' turned into stadium community singing, which is something we havent yet fully experienced on this tour. It was wonderful to hear 'All I Want is You' again, an old friend whom we havent heard much of in far too long.I joined the posse for the runner to Manchester airport directly from the show, which was a little odd as this airport has no private flight section so we had to enter through the main terminal. This was no hardship, but given that the band memebers were in dressing gowns and in various degrees of undress, its just as well it was pretty quiet that time of night.We celebrated Paul McGuinnesss birthday on the short flight then headed to our hotel. Rumour has it theres a day off tomorrow, so I for one will be keeping a low profile.

P.S. I am finishing writing this in the van driving down the M1 motorway into London. I have just noticed that since I started typing I have received two e.mails, so we must have passed through a wireless hot spot somewhere. Another 21st century moment!

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