06 September 2010
'Snow Patrol Swansong'Istanbul. Show day.
The new stadium in Istanbul is a good way out of the city. It was built as part of the Olympic bid eventually won by China, and the word is that pretty much all the enthusiasm for the building project was lost once the bid went south. Apparently the area around the stadium is susceptible to high winds and extreme weather, both of which were hinted at during the course of the day. There is still a stormy feel in the air and even inside the stadium structure there was a very stiff breeze blowing across the stage.
This feeling can give something of a nervous edge to the day. Since the Moscow show we know that we can survive a downpour, but the effects of a high wind are not entirely certain. The giant expanding video screen is suspended from the Claw structure and when the wind blows it can really start to move. If the wind gets above a certain strength during the day we open the screen up, so at least the air can blow through the holes.
Happily the weather cooperated in the end so all was well, though unfortunately, the same could not be said of the transportation situation. Apparently, one of the victims of the waning enthusiasm for the stadium project was the proposed public transit system that was going to be built to service it. There was supposed to be a train line built right to the stadium, but in the end they stopped the line three stations early, leaving the only access by road. We've seen some traffic jams in our time but this one eclipses even Warsaw on PopMart. (My friends were keen to come and see Snow Patrol's final show with us, so left their hotel in town at 6.30pm, finally arriving at the stadium during Mysterious Ways.)
Despite all of the above, a good night was had. The only sad note was Snow Patrol's swansong - this is their last appearance on the 360 tour & we will all be sad to see them go. The U2 crew chose to show their feeling in the form of a tribute during Snow Patrol's song Chasing Cars. The chorus runs 'If I lay here... if I just lay here...' which was the cue for all the available crew guys to come out and prostrate themselves all over the stage. Snow Patrol managed to finish the song despite laughing their heads off at having to perform amid piles of corpses. I think they appreciated the gesture.
U2 had a great night also, though we were most amused at the audience's response to Bono name-checking the politician with whom they had walked across the Bosphorus bridge the day before. The bridge links Europe to Asia, so Bono had said what a beautiful bridge and talked about East meets West and their walk with this particular politician. The audience broke out into a round of very audible booing - it was good-natured, but it was also very clear. Bono has always credited U2's audience with being the smartest rock audience on earth and later he was amused to acknowledge that part of the deal is that if the audience doesn't like something they'll tell you straight. 'OK,' says Bono over the booing 'how about the bridge then, I can just talk about the bridge, right?'