POPMART Leg 2: 1997, Europe


Ships Passing in the Night

< Dublin. Load in day.

Preparing for the big homecoming ends up being a day pretty much like any other, but in the face of a recession there is quite definitely a sense of this being a semi-official holiday weekend in Dublin. Local businesses are expected to do well, you can't get a hotel room for love nor money, etc. Even for those not interested in U2 it'll be an excuse for a big weekend.

Croke Park remains something of a challenge as a rock venue, being situated right in the middle of a residential area with limited parking and access. Fortunately it is walking distance from the city centre so most people are opting to arrive on foot and spare themselves the traffic anxiety. For our show in particular, Croke Park is tricky as the new grandstand seating only encompasses three sides of the stadium, with one end being a traditional football terrace which is low with standing-room steps, rather than seats. This was deemed off limits by the powers that be, so our 360 show will be nearer to 270 for the weekend but hopefully it won't cramp our style too badly.

I went into the stadium for the afternoon to do some pottering, but didn't stay too late. At ten o'clock we were obliged to turn everything off for the benefit of the neighbours (at least they don't have armed police here like they did in Barcelona) so we were forced to retire to the crew hotel bar for a nightcap.

Due to the size of the 360 tour, I've got quite used to seeing laminate-bearing crew members whom I do not recognise (they usually turn out to be Belgian) However, in the bar there seemed to be a great deal of people who were obviously road crew (there's just a certain look that you can spot a mile off) but they didn't seem at all familiar. I did eventually see someone I recognised, but I knew that they definitely weren't on the U2 tour at which point we realised there's another crew in the hotel. It turns out that there were two other road crews in the place, being a mixture of the Leonard Cohen tour crew and the Celtic Woman tour crew. By the end of the evening the bar was packed with familiar faces and it was good to catch up with people I hadn't seen for a while. Ships passing in the night...

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