22 November 2010
'Scarlet'Auckland. Production day.
Spent the night wrestling the bed clothes but did manage to get sufficient sleep, off and on, to launch me into the morning. A spot of hotel brekky and off to the gig. This was our one production day so I made the most of it and took the opportunity of viewing, editing and programming the new show elements. As dusk fell we were able to get a better idea of how these will look in context and all felt a great deal more exciting and confident than it did last night.
At the beginning of each leg of a tour we€™ll always make an effort to refresh and update the show. It€™s good for everybody involved to keep the thing alive and moving forwards, rather than settling into a rut, when there€™s a much greater danger of ending up just going through the motions and little by little a show starts to die.
As previously noted I have new video elements to go into In a Little While and Moment of Surrender but there were two other very important factors to consider. The New Zealand mining disaster is filling the news media and indeed the entire atmosphere here. It€™s a terrible and far from optimistic situation, made all the harder by coming so hard on the heels of the Chilean mining rescue. Clearly we will have to acknowledge the miners during the show but it€™s a moment-by-moment situation at present.
On a more positive note, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from twenty years of almost continual house arrest last week. This is fantastic news and means we have to update that part of the show. The great news of her release is tempered by the fact that there are still more than two thousand other prisoners of conscience in jails throughout Burma, so we need to figure out a way of cautiously celebrating and yet continuing to support those not free.
It seemed that playing MLK for Aung Sang Suu Kyi would no longer be appropriate so, after digging around in the back catalogue for a while, I came up with the completely mad notion that perhaps we might replace this with Scarlet from the October album. Come nightfall when we had the place to ourselves, I played the track at full volume on my boom box, letting it sit in the empty stadium. I liked it a lot and could see that it might make a wonderfully still interlude in the show. Further research confirmed my hunch that this was a piece of music that U2 had never performed in concert before. This album pre-dates my tenure but I did see U2 play on the October tour and didn€™t remember it being there. I was aware that suggesting to U2 that they debut a 30-year-old track, with a lyric consisting of precisely one word, might define the term €˜long-shot€™ but I was equally convinced that this was a great moment in the making.
My small band of merry men programmed lighting and video cues into the night, fixing a few things, including giving a bit of spit and polish to Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me as, to be honest, I never really quite finished that one on the last leg. Jet lag eventually took us when we trailed back to our beds.