06 November 1997
Rotterdam/St Louis - Mistaken identity.
Rotterdam/St Louis - Mistaken identity. The band wins MTV Best live band award among a dizzying array of artists. An attempt to join the Spice Girls goes embarrassingly wrong.
Going live. The European MTV awards. These events are so surreal, not least because in the backstage compound every other person you see has a famous face. The place is just crawling with celebrities, and dozens of other people you know from previous tours and previous lifetimes. U2 had the dubious honour of opening this show - first performance of the night, and actually it was the perfect thing to do, playing Pop Muzik / MoFo which is the opening of the PopMart show. We'd spent much of the day hanging around at the venue waiting to do the final run-through, so by the time show time came around we were more than ready to get on with it. The band did pretty much their regular entrance - the walk in through the crowd, and it translated well on the TV. Into the song and it really looked OK, and the TV sound was stunning. Before you know it, its all over and you're left wondering what hit you. Everyone was happy with the performance and after that, the advantage of going first becomes apparent - you can sit and watch everybody else knowing your part is over. There were a lot of great acts on the bill - Bjork, Skunk Anansie, Aerosmith, the bizarre combination of Blackstreet and Slash, and of course the Spice Girls, who excelled. Not quite sure what at, but they certainly made their mark. Baby Spice actually fell over during the performance on live television - a feat I don't even recall Bananarama managing. Not that often, anyway. Fun Loving Criminals were around too, and it was great to see them again. They're really on a roll now, having just scored "Best New Band" at the Q awards this week. U2 won the MTV award for "Best Live Band" which was gratifying. "Live is where we live" says Larry. Well, that's certainly true in 1997.
Once cleared we did a runner to the airport, to get back on our stupidly big aeroplane to fly back to St. Louis to carry on with the North American tour (where am I again). When we were leaving the venue we saw the Spice Girls leaving at the same time. On the way to the airport we were being followed by a fleet of limos full of people with big hair, which we assumed must be them. At the airport, across the tarmac from our 747 was a small jet. We headed for our plane and the fleet of limos went to the jet. The members of U2 hadn't arrived yet, so the crew thought how funny it would be to invite the Spice Girls over for a pre-take off party. We thought it would be a laugh to have U2 arrive and find the Spice Girls on their plane. So, in the absence of a volunteer from the studio audience, I ran across the tarmac to invite the Spicers over. Having composed a good opening one-liner, I heroically sprinted up the stairs of their aeroplane... and found myself looking at Aerosmith. "Ah... erm... doors armed and cross-checked", I mutter, before fleeing in a fit of embarrassment. Nice try. So, all aboard we head for St. Louis. This really is an experiment to see just how jet lagged a group of humans can become in a 5 day period. Were we on tour in America? Yeah, that was it... "Click".