08 July 2011
'Nice One Montreal'Montreal. Show 1.
I was quite pleasantly surprised with my personal condition this morning-after-the-night-before. At very least I didn’t actually want to kill myself, which has been known to be the case on previous such occasions. Picking up the pieces with my colleagues, some hilarious stories began to emerge. Sharon, head of wardrobe, related that at about 4am she surveyed the dance floor and realised that the only people left in the building were her department (gorgeous young women all) and about fifty truck drivers. 'There’s no way this is going to end well,' she thought, so promptly rounded up the girls and shoved them into a van. My favourite story, though, was that of a group of the stage carpenters getting a cab back to their hotel some time after dawn and paying the fare with two of the $20 Bono-buck notes. I never did find out if the driver was aware of this at the time and frankly don’t want to know, given the fantastic potential illegality involved.
Not being their first time around the block, the band members didn’t come in for sound check, allowing everybody a bit of a lie in (and god knows some of the crew needed it). Many were a tad green around the gills over dinner but by the time doors opened most were back in the saddle.
This home-built venue ended up working quite well. Transportation was a bit of an issue but nothing close to what we’ve seen before at other similarly placed proper stadia (Istanbul leaps to mind). The Quebecois entered in their thousands and the place developed a really positive festival atmosphere. The excitement was palpable and infectious – everyone just seemed to be in such a great mood. This translated into a fantastic gig - it sounds daft, but going on my nightly walkabout, I was struck by just how happy everybody in the audience seemed to be. All this and a spontaneous rain-storm-tornado to finish off the evening, though mercifully this squall had the good manners to wait until (literally the second) that I’d got into my van in the end-of-show ‘runner’. My friend Edouard Lock came to the show, he of the extraordinary dance company La La La Human Steps, with whom I worked in the mid-17th century. Given the unusual circumstances of this venue, I did something that I never do which was to arrange for him to ride back with us in the police escort. Due to the logistics and limited vehicle space, it’s a bit of a big deal to bring additional personnel in the runner, but I’d made an exception here only to find that, en route from the mix position to the edge of the field, somehow I’d lost my guest. Bugger. I spent a couple of minutes retracing my steps but when the last verse of Moment of Surrender sounded, it was every man for himself. One of the silhouettes that appears towards the end of Moment of Surrender is me, so if I see myself on screen, I know I need to leg it, pronto. I got in the van as the heavens opened, hoping I’d be forgiven for such an appalling breech of hospitality.
We raced through the wet streets, back to the Hotel Fabulous where our traditional nocturnal mini-burgers awaited… nice one Montreal.