Vertigo Leg 1: 2005, US


More 'Rave-Hell Lighting Madness'

20 June 2009
More 'Rave-Hell Lighting Madness'
Barcelona. Production rehearsals.

Up at the crack of 3pm and staggered around for an hour before heading back to the stadium. It's quite disorientating to start a new day with staff in uniform greeting me 'good evening, sir' on my exit from the Hotel Fabulous. The mouldy strawberries are still in my room, now resembling a full on science project. Still, if it spawns any new life forms, it'll be nice to have a bit of company when I get home in the wee small hours.

Full run through. Set list felt OK, though now the adrenaline rush of arrival has subsided it has been replaced by the realisation that we have an enormous amount of work still to do, in order to turn this string of good looks into a cohesive show. One bit of fun was their playing the Oakenfold remix of 'Even Better Than The Real Thing' which I haven't heard for years. We got to show off our rave-hell lighting madness which we programmed last night and the whole thing was pretty hilarious. It didn't quite work (and frankly felt a little dated) but there's definitely something there... it feels like a new place for a U2 gig to go, so we'll chase it over the next few days.

Spent the rest of the night with my team programming and making good progress. The band has decided to take a day off tomorrow ('off' being a relative term with these guys, but they're not coming into the stadium, anyway) so I'm weighing up the best strategy for making the most of the time.

Sunday, 21st June 2009. Barcelona. Production rehearsals.

Having gone to bed at 7.30am I was not a happy bunny to have housekeeping pounding on the door at noon. Twice. The 'No Molestar' sign was hanging on the door but this didn't deter the housekeeping SWAT team from having a go.

The band took a day off today which gave us the stadium to ourselves. Very much in the mood of coming into the office on the weekend, it gave us a chance to get a lot of things done in the peace and quiet of a slow day. Most importantly the sound system, which has been hanging two metres too low since it arrived, got fitted with its new elastic bands to take it up to its full trim height. It makes a huge difference and in one move the whole design seems to have clicked together.

I came in about 6pm and, given that catering were also having a very rare day off, went with some of my lads to a local tapas joint for dinner. It was very valuable to have a little social time outside the venue, as it's been a while.

Although slightly disorientating to commence at 9pm rather than 2am, we had a good programming session and I feel that all the basic lighting states have now been constructed, so we can begin finessing from here. Video isn't in quite such good shape (given that programming video is vastly more complex than programming lighting) but we still have eight more programming nights to complete the task. I'm sure, as with all U2 tours, we'll be continually adding, updating, swapping, changing, refreshing as we go along (usually right to the very last show) but for now we're just getting up and underway.

Video were happily getting on with it, so I bailed at 2am, which felt like a complete and utter half day after my week of 7am bed times. Of course I was too wired to sleep when I got to my room, so here I am typing away at 4am. What a wonderful time-wasting machine the interweb can be.

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