12 April 2011
'Monsoon'Sao Paulo. Rehearsal day.
Sarah, one of our 360 personnel, had her 30th birthday party last night at some Irish bar in Sao Paulo. Actually not so much “last night” as “all night” - they didn’t even open the doors 'til 10pm and didn’t kick them out until daybreak. Much as I would love to have gone (having first met Sarah when she was two years old) I took the sensible option which put me in an interesting position today. All week I’ve probably felt the worst of anybody on the tour whereas today suddenly I’m feeling better than practically everybody in the building.
Happily it wasn’t an early start. There’s a big audio broadcast of tomorrow’s show, so we came in today to do a sound check for the broadcast truck and a spot of rehearsal whilst we were at it. Most people had a 4pm call but even so there were some deeply wounded soldiers in the place. Zombies take over Estadio Morumbi. When the backline crew began their sound check I was up in the mixer tower with my lighting operators. From out of nowhere the guitar riff of Zooropa struck up ever so loudly and one of my lads practically fell over, stumbling into his lighting console.
The band was supposed to be doing some recording then getting onto the stage around 8pm. The only slight claw in the flan was that around 6pm the heavens opened. The sky had been darkening for a while then, in a moment, it dumped an inconceivable quantity of water onto the stadium, and it just kept coming. It was like a monsoon, only heavier, and kept it up for hours. At a moment like that the crew instantly goes into “Poseidon Adventure” mode, covers being thrown on, flaps being zipped up and, at extreme moments like this, a huge blue tarpaulin is pulled out to envelop the entire stage area.
Out at front of house we zipped ourselves into the mix position and carried on. I needed to do some more work on Zooropa, as the visual element for its debut was nothing more than a sketch. Happily, despite the deluge, it was still possible for us to work. The screen doesn’t mind the rain (too much) and even though some of the lights might throw a sulk and blow up, the lighting system will essentially keep going too. The only obstacle was that the noise of the rain on the vinyl roof of the mix was so loud that we had to crank our boom box to eleven to hear it at all. In these very unlikely conditions we did get an hour or so of productive work done, entertained all the while by the sheet lightning in the sky which would throw the whole claw into silhouette.
The corridors were flooding, the whole pitch was sodden and we were most amused to note that the drainage system for the upper tiers of the stadium directs the rainwater through overflow spouts that send a torrent of white spume directly into the seats of the tier below. By 10pm it was clear that the cloudburst had set in for the night so the match was finally abandoned.
Zurich and Moscow saw the band and crew (and audience) struggle commendably on through a deluge, but I honestly don’t think it would have been possible (or safe) to play a show in the conditions at Morumbi tonight. It seems we really dodged a bullet there though, that said, I haven’t checked the forecast for tomorrow.