30 March 2001
Show day: Atlanta - Philips Arena
Came down to the arena early today - well, early for me that is. After yesterday's fly past it was good to be able to spend some time with the system and think about some new developments for the show. One interesting thing that came out of last night was the idea to move one of the 'roll drop' gauzes. Due to the gigantic, immovable scoreboard in the middle of the Charlotte venue, one of the gauze scrims which we use during New York was in the wrong place. It should fall into place on the inside edge of the runway, but last night it had to come down on the outside edge. This meant that when Bono went out onto the ramp during the song he would be behind this scrim, as far as most of the audience was concerned. Far from being a problem, Bono made it into an asset and the result was pretty interesting, so we tried it again.
This venue is brand new, having been built to replace the Atlanta Omni a few years ago. I've spent a lot of time in this part of the world and am very fond of it in an odd sort of way. There's the whole R.E.M. connection, of course, which has brought me here a good deal and then in 1996 I worked on the General Motors pavilion in the Olympic Park which is literally on the other side of the street from this place. That was a pretty wacky experience, crowned by the bombing of the AT+T pavilion next door.
Tonight's show absolutely rocked. Best yet by a factor of about 500%. It was one of those nights when the stars align, the manna comes down, the white smoke goes up and the dish runs away with the spoon. There was some very mad juju going on out there and we were all surfing it. I had a great show too - I only made one massive blunder tonight, which coincidentally came at exactly the same beat as an equally gigantic miscue by Bruce the lighting director, so at least we could enjoy the moment together.
Mike & Michael from R.E.M. came, having arrived from Paris half an hour before show time, so I am sure it all must have looked extremely psychedelic through their eyes. Lots of friends showed up and we left with the great satisfaction of a job well done.
All this, at only four shows in!