Vertigo Leg 1: 2005, US

Nov
16
2005

Show day, Adelaide.

16 November 2005
Show day, Adelaide.
Bruce went in for his angiogram at 11am, then called me just as we were boarding the plane at Sydney Airport, to tell me the glorious news that his 'heart complaint' had turned out to be pericarditis - exactly the virus that Bono had talked about, which inflames the membrane around the heart to mimic the symptoms of a heart attack. So, aside from been wrecked with exhaustion, Bruce is absolutely fine and will be discharged either today or tomorrow. I made an announcement over the aeroplane tannoy to let everyone know, and there was much rejoicing.

Flying into a city and straight to the venue on show day is always a bit of a mad run around, but today took it to a whole new level. Bruce is AOK, but clearly wasnt going to make the show in Adelaide tonight, which meant we had about two hours to figure out how to run the lighting system without him. Enter Craig, one of our long-term lighting techs, who has a good knowledge of where everything is in the lighting console. He doesnt necessarily know the cues, however, as he spends most of the gigs behind the stage, which is arguably not the best vantage point from which to learn a show. C21st lighting desks are a riot of flexible software, which can be entirely reconfigured to suit the individual user. Consequently, running a show from a console set up and programmed by another person is much akin to wearing someone elses trousers. You may be able to squeeze into them but its bound to feel uncomfortable.

In order to spread the load, I volunteered to call the cues for the 18 followspot operators, whilst helping Craig with the lighting cue points. Smasher is pretty self-sufficient in terms of running the video content, though there are a couple of new pieces which he might need help with, so I arranged to be able to push the button with my left big toe when required.

The last time U2 did a show without Bruce was Mexico City in 1993, so this was going to be an interesting experiment. Consequently, I havent called followspot cues for a U2 show since then, but the riding-a-bike principle kicked in and it all came flooding back. Between us all we did a sterling job, I reckon, and its safe to say that the show ran pretty much to plan. By the end of the show, in the knowledge that Bruce was perfectly healthy, it actually became quite fun, even though we were all exhausted by the end of the show. The only real car crash was 'Stuck in a Moment' where Smasher had got through all his video cues by the time the rest of us were only on the second verse, but Im still saying no-one would have noticed.

The only real downer for me was at the end of Kite when some tosser in the audience grabbed hold of the kite string. As the band came to the end of the show and took their bows, said tosser slowly pulled the string in, so the kite sank slowly, humiliatingly and embarrassingly back to earth where its probably now on eBay. It only takes one to spoil it for the whole class.

Related Topics

Current News

07 May, 2009
The opening night of the tour in Barcelona is only weeks away so no better time for a reminder of life on the road.
7
20 Dec, 2006
Rocko Reedy on the night his band opened up for U2.
20 Dec, 2006
How Come? Well, Tamara Kendall from the UK won the 'Hunt The Lyric' competition for those return flights and tickets ...
12 Dec, 2006
The one hundred and thirty first Vertigo show and it was one to remember. Report, photos.
11 Dec, 2006
Wonderful closing night with Pearl Jam in Hawaii and lots of surprise touches as Vertigo 05/06 comes to a close ...
06 Dec, 2006
The U2 support act you've never heard of. (Until Hawaii that is.)
05 Dec, 2006
New backstage shots before showtime in Tokyo.

Eric Clapton was at the final Tokyo show on Monday and chatted with Edge ...
04 Dec, 2006
Video of the band playing 'Window in the Skies' for Japanese TV at the weekend.

Current News

25 Nov, 2014
Rare live set from 1980, now on double vinyl and digitally remastered. Introducing our 2014/15 subscription offer.
24 Nov, 2014
'It’s one of the proudest moments in U2’s history.' Band interview in new Mojo Magazine.
10
24 Nov, 2014
Take 11 urban artists, all inspired by Songs of Innocence. Result? Films Of Innocence.
3
19 Nov, 2014
Rolling Stone reports on Bono's cycling injury.
18 Nov, 2014
Sensational performance by Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, stepping in for U2 at the eleventh hour.
36
17 Nov, 2014
Band Aid 30 - raising funds to tackle Ebola in West Africa.
3
16 Nov, 2014
It looks like we will have to do our Tonight Show residency another time - we're one man down. Bono has injured his arm in a cycling spill in Central Park and requires some surgery to repair it. We're sure he'll make a full recovery soon, so we'll be back! Much thanks to Jimmy Fallon and everyone at the show for their understanding.
146
13 Nov, 2014
The band were in Berlin tonight, performing at The Bambi Awards.
5