27 January 1998
Rio de Janeiro show - Helicopter shot.
Rio de Janeiro show - Helicopter shot. Willie joins Bono and Edge for an eyeball-to-eyeball encounter with Jesus. The crowd at the gig is wild.
Show day, Rio de Janeiro. For reasons too long and complicated to explain, I ended up traveling to the gig in a helicopter with Bono & Edge (as you do). This was an out-of-body experience on many levels, not least because Rio is so beautiful to see from the air - the water inlets that double the number of beaches as the land folds back on itself, the blue blue ocean, white sand. As if this wasn't extraordinary enough, our pilot decided to give us a treat by circling ëCorcodova' and giving us a close up view of the huge statue of Christ the Redeemer which looks down from the highest point in Rio. We hovered in front, eyeball to eyeball with Jesus, like a sound check for judgment day. Hovering above his head, with the whole of the city spread out far below, I did have to give myself a reality check. Just another dull day with a couple of rock stars in a chopper over Rio. At the gig it had hit 40 degrees, so everyone was lying as low as possible, with the exception of the audience who didn't seem too troubled by the heat. A last minute addition to the show was a group of fifty drummers from a local Samba club which Bono had visited a couple of nights ago. He & Edge had what might loosely be described as a rehearsal of "Desire", and before we knew where we were it was show time.
The gig was a wild one. I knew we were in for a treat when even the appearance of the giant revolving football in the opening video sequence drove the crowd into hysteria. (They're pretty big on footy down here.....) As soon as the band arrived on stage, our mix position compound completely filled with people. All over the gear, up the camera tower, everywhere. I set about clearing out the intruders from at least inside covered area, and was slinging people out left right & centre. Unfortunately, in my enthusiasm I also threw out Bruce's translator for the followspot operators, and the director from MTV, but these were desperate times. Oddly though, I began to realise that although enthusiastic to the point of being crazed, the crowd were extremely good natured - polite almost. To my amazement, our security had cleared the whole area within about 15 minutes and from that point on, we just surfed on the energy all night.