13 May 2011
'Potted Plant'Mexico City. Rehearsal Day.
In a fit of keenness, the band decided to forego a day off for the sake of some further rehearsals. Much as it would have been fun to spend the day hanging out in cantinas, I was secretly pleased, as there are still quite a few things I’d like to get done before this final leg of the tour hits warp speed.
I’m not sure if it’s the stormy weather or whether Mexican electricity is always a hit and miss affair but working at the hotel this morning we found ourselves dealing with intermittent power outages. This is not great news where video rendering hard drives are concerned and seemed to cause particular difficulties at the spectacularly overdesigned Hotel Fabulous. The design ethos of the hotel appears to be that any principle which has worked efficiently for the past 100 years must be discarded immediately. The elevators, the air conditioning, the phone system and most spectacularly the lighting controls have been technologically over-complicated almost to the point of non-function. The elevators are particularly annoying as they have no buttons within the car, you wave your key at a sensor outside the lift doors and a screen tells you which elevator to get into, without your having to touch anything. Hygienic perhaps, but intensely irritating.
As Team Content worked away, the room lights would come on and off periodically along with occasional sudden silences as the air-conditioning power failed. After one noticeably lengthy outage, fans whirred as power was restored then, to our great surprise and amusement, a large plasma screen gracefully ascended out of a piece of furniture that until then I’d assumed was just a sideboard. Making the picture perfect was a potted plant placed on top of said piece of furniture, which accompanied the TV, rising into the air in stately fashion.
Later, down at the venue, it seemed that the power-cut theme was continuing. About an hour into a work session all screens cut to black with a satisfying ‘fizz’, so we got on to the radio to call the generator guys for assistance. Before they arrived I did a little research of my own, only to discover that a cleaning lady had disconnected our main power cable to plug in her vacuum cleaner.
Naturally it began pouring with rain moments before the band took to the stage to begin the evening rehearsal. Out came the umbrellas and giant tarpaulins but they soldiered on, bless them. It was a good evening too. With three shows here they’re keen to put in some songs that they haven’t played for a while and this is the only opportunity to dust them off. We also ran the new Magnificent a couple of times and got the Desmond Tutu samples in sync. Unknown Caller also got an airing, though I’m not sure if that will make a show here. It was never a particular favourite of mine but after a year’s absence it sounded wonderful. Funny how songs do that, these brief collections of sounds, notes and words that really do have a life of their own.