POPMART Leg 1: 1997, North America

Feb
11
2006

Production Rehearsals, Monterey

Bed at 7am and up at 3pm when a bunch of dazed roadies were picked up from the crew hotel. I had all my bags piled up on the sidewalk - the band party arrives today so I am transferring to their hotel.

The cold of last night seemed to have stayed on and it was pretty chilly all day. At the gig, all was noise and activity with soundchecks and preparations for the run through. The band came in around 5 and we had a quick huddle to figure out the set list. Were getting into a situation now where we have so many great songs worked up that the show is potentially too long. The Edge always laughs and says 'Ah, its great value for money!' but the truth is that if even a great show is too long it throws out the dynamics of the whole event. For U2 something in the region of two hours ten minutes seems to work the best. Weve touched two and a half hours on occasion and even though the crowd is delighted, you can feel them getting tired. That said, I have been pretty determined to get 'Bad' into the main set for this leg, so we decided to add it in, even though we couldnt find another song to drop to make way for it.

Regular readers will know that playing without an audience has never been U2s strongest suit, so imagine our surprise when the four of them got up there and played the entire set from start to finish without stopping. We were stunned and the crowd outside the stadium were loving it. (Hearing the far off chant of 'EL-E-VA-TION' was hilarious from inside the deserted venue.)

We had a brief catch up afterwards but agreed to meet at noon tomorrow to make a final plan. It had got really quite cold again by this time, so we sent the crew for cups of tea before settling in to another nights programming. Most of what we did last night was pretty good, but the new visuals for 'End of the World' needed some tidying up and the visuals for 'One' didnt work - it was all too big and distracting. Both of these we worked on and made a big improvement.

'End of the World' uses footage of fall out from atomic bomb tests, taken from a U.S. government archive film reel which - en masse and in isolation - makes for incredibly depressing viewing. By way of redeeming it in the name of art, we abstracted it, chopped it up and put it through an interference blender, so it now has the look of the band coming through your TV during a nuclear war. Its just charming. I also took another run at 'One' and nailed it. Much simpler, less busy, fewer words and more buffalo. How could I have been so blind?

By 4.30am we were seeing double so bailed. Were in great shape given how quickly everybody had to get back into this. Dropped all the lads off at the crew hotel and was glad the runner knew where my hotel was as I didnt have a clue. Its gone 5am, meeting with Bono at noon, so Id better get off line and get some sleep.

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