Paris Stade de France.
Had a bit of an odd nights sleep. The courtyard outside my window at the hotel is covered with vines - five or six floors high - which are home to countless sparrows. I love sparrows, but let me tell you, when they kicked off with the dawn chorus it sounded like white noise over Joe OHerlihys P.A. I got up to close the windows then dozed off again. I dreamed, maybe, that I was wondering if it was time to get up so looked at my travel alarm clock on the night stand which read 9am. Then I was lying on my back staring at the ceiling in the half-light completely unable to determine whether the looking-at-the-clock episode had really happened and it was therefore 9am, or whether I had only dreamed that I had looked and therefore it could be any time at all. ('Time zone indeterminate'.)
On waking again (or perhaps waking for the first time) I met some friends for breakfast at La Duree on Rue Royale, which is the most perfectly preserved patisserie you could ever hope to find.
From there to the gig where all seemed to be running as it should. I had a lot of guests to organize, which was a bit of an operation due to heightened security measures after the London bombing. Even under normal circumstances, on a tour like this its almost impossible to contemplate organising anyone elses life in terms of when to show up, where to meet, and so on. On the other hand though its always great to see people and have them see the show, but I always feel its a little like prison visiting - you meet your nearest and dearest in this rather strange, slightly awkward, high security situation then are only able to talk for a little while before getting dragged off again.
Great show though. At the end of Running to Standstill the crowd on the stadium floor took part in their own Polish-style spontaneous audience participation moment. A large portion of the audience near the stage held up white balloons, which turned the floor into a very eerie looking sea of white spheres. It was a perfectly still and very emotional moment, though I laughed because I could see what was inevitably going to follow it. As the band crashed into Pride, all the balloons were thrown up into the air and were batted about all over the place, turning the stadium into a gigantic Chuckee Cheese childrens party. Well its a celebration of sorts. We absolutely loved the fact that another city had produced its own audience participation spot. God bless the Internet. I wonder if we are going to get into a situation where cities start attempting to outdo each other? Go for it, I say - create your own audience tribute. How about throwing bundles of large denomination bank notes at the mix position? Just a suggestion
After the show I headed for the 'F&F' (Friends and Family room) into which my guests had managed to blag their way. Also present were Hamish, Allen & Ned, my video shoot colleagues and a host of other good folks. The mood was very up and we made the most of it. I dont think we got out of there till 3am and then back at the hotel there was yet another gathering in the bar. Ill be taking sparrow-sound-proofing precautions tonight, thats for sure.