Travel day. Auckland to Melbourne.
There were a lot of tired soldiers outside the crew hotel this morning when I rolled up to join them on their charter flight to Melbourne. The band members have gone straight to Sydney but I€™ve decided to go off-piste again, as Melbourne is one of my favourite cities on earth (and besides, there€™s plenty of Sydney coming up).
The crew loaded out from Mount Smart stadium last night then a selection of them had to do a €˜cross-load€™ at the airport, where all the gear gets put on to air-freight palates. Under normal circumstances, the cost of air-freighting this much gear would be prohibitive, but U2 were not prepared to miss out on playing New Zealand on this tour. There€™s a duplicate set of steel which has already gone to Australia by sea, but all the gear that there€™s only one of (the stage, screen, lighting, sound, pylon, backline, etc.) has had to come with us today. At the airport, as we gathered at the gate pre-flight, we could see our gear being loaded onto a cargo plane, far out on the runway. Good god there€™s a lot of it.
Team Jay-Z joined us on the charter, but it was a very quiet flight, most people being unconscious for the duration. On arrival, after hotel check in, I went straight to Mario€™s on Brunswick Street for breakfast (it being around 4.30pm). Took a nap, met a friend, headed out to do Melbourne things. The Toff, Mario€™s (again), Fitzroy bars, ran into some roadies€¦ love it here.