29 July 2001
Show Day: Berlin - Waldebhne
Had breakfast with Bruce and we found our way to the flea market on 17 Juni Strasse. It's a great place - I remember coming here just after the Wall had come down, when the motherload of goods had just come in from the East. Even now there are some extraordinary finds - a lot of salvage stuff, uniforms, antiques, doorhandles bigger than your head, etc.
Then it started to rain. And how it rained. It had rained a good deal overnight, but there was no stopping it now, except when it turned to hail. Down it came, just torrential. In the van going to the gig at 2pm we could barely see out of the windows and urgent phone calls coming form the gig were turning into distress calls.
We arrived at the Waldebuhne to find that we were now the proud owners of what was essentially a heart shaped swimming pool. Without a word of a lie, there was water completely covering the floor of the venue to a depth of a couple of feet. Disgruntled road crew was wading around barefoot rescuing as many vital pieces of gear as possible, having shut down and covered all else with plastic. It really was a nightmare - a deluge of almost unprecedented proportions (though the words "Red Rocks" came to mind on several occasions.)
The greatest optimist would have struggled to believe that a gig could take place here any time within the following week, but we soldiered on and eventually the rain did stop. A SWAT team of Berliners with pumping equipment was called in and, unbelievably, by about 7pm with water was gone. The lawn was pretty damn soggy, but at least the audience could stand on it without being sucked too far towards the Earth's core and we were going to have a show.
Needless to say it was a very special show and the band loved it. "Stay" was the natural highlight, with its lyrical reference to this city. I made a point of leaving my tent at the mix position and heading up into the crowd to share the moment. Out came the lighters and there wasn't a dry seat in the house.