POPMART Leg 3: 1997, North America

Mar
27
2005

San Diego

27 March 2005
San Diego
The rest of the rehearsal week in L.A. passed with many more late nights but not too many crises. The band were in from Thursday to Saturday during which time we have beaten the set into shape though playing and much discussion. Also present are Gavin Friday, long time friend and advisor to the band and Steve Lillywhite producer of many U2 albums. Both of these gentlemen know their way round a rock show and are here to aid and abet the process.

The days ran to schedule, with crew work in the mornings, band in at 2 or so for music rehearsals, then one or two run-throughs of the set, often going till midnight. After that the creative team would retire to the dressing room to compare notes, watch video tapes and plan further strategies for a couple of hours. Finally, once the building was quiet and empty again, myself and the night crew would have the place to ourselves to carry on programming and turn the strategies into reality. Often we would work late, one night getting back to the hotel about 7am, just in time to meet a van full of crew about to head into the gig for the early shift. Open 24 hours, we are.

Today we leave and head to San Diego. I got a ride down with Michael Tait, the fabricator of our astonishing stage. Michael is what's now known as an 'industry veteran' and has been making wonderful objects for U2 since the War tour, when he was also the lighting supplier. He's also very funny, and given that the other passenger in the vehicle was Mark Fisher, the tour's 'Architect' (i.e. set designer), it was a most entertaining journey. It was also very productive, as we are currently deep in discussions about the European leg of the Vertigo tour. Necessarily the show will be quite different to the one we are creating for North America as the shows al all outdoors. Not only that, but given the dates are late June in to July, much of the show will be played in daylight. This needn't be a problem, but it does require a different approach and a good deal of thought.

About a month ago we did think we had a plan, but over the past week or so I began to have misgivings about it and have ended up pulling the plug on the original idea. I am refusing to panic about this, but time is now very short and of course everyone is completely consumed with the labour pains of the indoor show. However, two hours in an enclosed space with a couple of industry veterans does wonders for the creative flow, so I have renewed confidence that all will be well as the next idea begins to take shape. Into San Diego, dinner, early night.

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