26 July 2011
'Maximum Action'Pittsburgh. Show day.
Another ‘commute’ show day but fortunately only to Pittsburgh, which is a short flight and benefits from being in the same time zone as New York. The crew were waiting for us upon our arrival as this was the day set aside for the tour team photograph. We joined them all on the 360 stage, spread out over the bridges, into the mosh pit, the video screen lowered to stage level, bearing the legend 'U2 360 2009 – 2010 – 2011'. It’ll be one for the office wall.
The stadium in Pittsburgh has very high seating down both sides, so my mission for this show was to take Ethan, the tour lighting director, up into the high seats. Ethan has run the show lighting since the beginning of the tour but has never seen any of an actual show from anywhere other than behind his lighting console in the front of house mix tower. Having been in similar situations myself, I sympathise as to how completely unnerving it is to leave the command station during a show and have an understudy step in for a few songs. I’m completely used to it now, but I remember well how mind-bending it was to be walking through the crowd during the show, never mind leaving the pitch to find an elevator to the top floor. Nonetheless, this we did and found some seats way, way up high, looking down on the claw and the stage. Once Ethan had stopped twitching we settled in, moving to several different vantage points and soaking it up. The show is such a different experience when viewed from different parts of the stadium and Ethan loving seeing it with new eyes. We went up for the Zooropa, City of Blinding Lights section, of course, to get the maximum action and I sat there enjoying it all, fully cognisant of the fact that this was a sight I’d never see again. Oh, you look so beautiful tonight.
The band clearly had a great time and even threw in Bad as a final song before taking their bows and heading back to the airport. No high-jinks tonight, as I want to make the most of the few New York days off that we have coming up.