POPMART Leg 5: 1998, Australia, Japan, South Africa

Mar
29
2005

San Diego. Rehearsal Day.

29 March 2005
San Diego. Rehearsal Day.
It's an act of great wisdom to schedule a rehearsal day between the first two shows of a tour. Not many bands have cottoned on to this, but U2 have made a point of it since Elevation. In the event, it was a pretty leisurely day, most people still stunned from last night and the weeks that preceded it, but it was productive enough. We rolled into the venue at about noon with the band due in at three. I spent a couple of hours working on the outdoor production for Europe this summer. I'd lost confidence in my tungsten video screen idea, so Frederic Opsomer, our Belgian L.E.D. genius, produced some new items as a possible alternative. This was all very encouraging and so with the help of Rocko, our stage manager, I went about producing a life size mock up of the proposed screen in gaffer tape. I'll try to snag the band tomorrow to get a sign-off on the thing. No-one has the headspace for it at the moment, but we need to get this sorted as - unbelievably - we load into our first outdoor show in just ten weeks time.

The band came in and played for a couple of hours. Last night having gone so well, there wasn't much of an air of urgency, but all of us welcomed the opportunity to revisit some of the parts of the show in which we were not entirely confident. It was also a very useful tidy-up time after the weeks of high-speed chaos, so most of us left the building feeling slightly more organised.

Later, a spot of dinner down on Fifth Avenue in San Diego. For a Tuesday night, the place was absolutely jumping and it was unavoidable to run into several members of the touring party. After a few drinks, Bruce and I began experimenting with the 'TV-B-Gone' device I picked up in San Francisco. It's a keyring with a button on it which, when pressed, emits the most common infrared signals to turn off televisions. I've had some success with it in catering rooms, sports bars, airline lounges, etc., but never really taken it for a public test drive. It turns out that this thing works through windows (of course it should, but to see it happen was still surprising). We went past a 'Hooters' bar with about a million TV's on inside, so peered over the window ledge and started picking them off one by one. It felt wonderfully subversive and every time the white dot appeared followed by a blank screen we howled with laughter, as the patrons of each bar (I have the faith to assume) thanked us subconsciously, unaware that suddenly they were able hold conversations without constantly, involuntarily staring into the corner of the room.

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