POPMART Leg 1: 1997, North America


School Photo

28 October 2009
School Photo
Wednesday 28th October 2009. Vancouver. Show Day.

Feeling a good deal better this morning. I feel like I've been in a coma since we arrived in Vancouver. Apart from my outing for chicken soup last evening, I've pretty much been asleep since we got here. However, I appear to be on the comeback trail, so got up, packed and headed into the venue.

This venue is an old school air-dome, which is a stadium with an inflatable roof, held in place by the air pressure within the building. Consequently, to enter and leave the place you have to go through air-locks, otherwise you'd be sucked out of the door and spat out into the street. The side effect of this is to make it next to impossible to get a decent sound inside. A sound wave is essentially moving air and the visceral experience of a rock show depends on moving a very great deal of air. In an air dome, the roof of the building is fluid so can move to absorb the motion of the air, often to disastrous effect. (By way of example, the Tokyo Dome is about the worst sounding building on the planet.) Hopes for tonight's sound were not high, therefore, but it seems like the people at BC place have put a lot of work in to help the acoustics as it actually wasn't too bad - certainly better than I remember it being in the past.

Last-day-of-school fever was in the air, along with much packing up and emptying of flight cases, sorting through the year's accumulated crap, etc. There was also the taking of the school photo, with the entire crew and band assembled on the stage whilst a photographer climbed a ladder out in the house. I had a moment of concern in that the stage was engineered for four people, so I did wonder how it would fare with a couple of hundred all over it. In particular, I kept a close eye on the bridges to see if they looked like they were distorting lest they collapse, which would have been potentially hilarious, though not terribly helpful for the gig.

The show itself was great, with a loud and appreciative audience helping us wrap up 360 for 2009 and making a total of forty-four stadium shows since June 30th. The tour has gone astonishingly well in all departments. When we look back to that first load-out from Barcelona, where the universal production took 19 hours to get out of the building, it would have been impossible to believe we'd eventually complete the same task in just four hours 20 minutes, which was the tour record. Most arena tours take at least that long to load out.

After the show the band party and backline crew got on the plane and headed for New York whilst the rest of the crew continued the final load-out of the year. Everyone goes their separate ways now, but it's good to know we'll be reconvening next year. Not all of us are quite finished though, as there's just a couple more things to do...

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21 May, 2011
Always more things to do...
But therein lies the beauty of discovering the best of life experiences.
22 May, 2010
BC Place
The dome is gone! Next time you come to Vancouver and play BC Place it'll have a retractable roof. Let's just hope it stops raining long enough to open it!
15 November, 2009
blown out
Willie, Thanks for all the insight! We did get blown out onto the street as we left. The inner circle was amazing. BTW - anyone pick up a small leather case I sewed for the band and threw up on the catwalk? It had a note about Indonesia. A
13 November, 2009
Thanks, Willie
... have a good break. Blessings for Christmas as you have all blessed us this year.
12 November, 2009
"sucked out of the door...
...and spat out into the street." HOHAHEE Love the imagery! These diaries keep me laughing during lunch at my desk. I'll miss them when the band is done touring.
12 November, 2009
Great Show in Vancouver
Glad to see the bridges weren't damaged during the photo shoot, i might have been crushed by them if they collapsed during the show(my not so subtle way of saying i was in the inner circle),which was AWESOME!!! by the way. Can't wait for the cheap seats in seattle.
11 November, 2009
Thanks Willie
Can we see this photo? I've a lot of fun to read your diaries, always find a strange moment or a funny one, an amzing one. Thanks to share this, with us. Take care of you.
11 November, 2009
So where is it?
Can we please see the "school photo"? Thanks for such a nice diary.
11 November, 2009
Au Revoir Willie!
Thank you so much for writing! This diary is possibly my favorite part of U2 tour years! Wishing you a quick recovery and (hopefully) some vacation time... "Til next year~
11 November, 2009
hehe glad to hear the audience was really good :) cause i was apart of it. hahaa oh god i cant get over it, its all i think about :P
11 November, 2009
Thanks Willie and Crew!
I love the insight. It really seams that every U2 show that has it's behind the scenes challenges (sound in this one) seems to turn out with an Amazing show at the end. Thank you Willie for such a great tour in 2009! I enjoyed ALL 5 shows with my family and friends and I look forward to 2010!
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