Vertigo Leg 1: 2005, US


'Some extraordinary tableaux...'

27 June 2009
'Some extraordinary tableaux...'
Barcelona. Production rehearsals.

We did another full run-through this evening, which has brought us very close to the set that I think we'll play on Tuesday. It's working well overall, with only a couple of things still proving troublesome. Drowning Man is one of these and I am beginning to wonder whether my judgement has been clouded by my sheer delight and joy at hearing this being performed live after 25 years waiting in the wings. Everybody really wants it to work and it sounds great but it's proving to be a very difficult mood to recover from. We tried going into Bad afterwards but by the end of that double-whammy of beautiful melancholy the set didn't recover for about half an hour. This may well be why U2 never performed this song in '83. I remember we tried a set which opened with it (brave move) but as far as I recall this was never unleashed on the public. We were all a bit too post-punk at the time, I think. The plan is to rehearse bits and pieces tomorrow night then do a final dress rehearsal on Monday at which point we'll make the call. We're going to shuffle its place in the show a little too, so it may not be over for Drowning Man just yet.

When everyone had finally left the building, I regrouped with my team at the mix position for another night of programming. Tonight was the first time I have been able to programme lighting, video and motion control at the same time. Our rather magnificent video screen is capable of movement which, in tandem with video and lighting is producing some extraordinary tableaux, the like of which I have never seen before. We won't overuse it - as is typical with me, I'm taking a fairly sedentary pace with the special effects - but when we go, we can really go somewhere interesting.

Video used to be a very unwieldy medium to incorporate into a live show. In the days of ZooTV when we worked with laser disk players (remember them ? Me neither) anything that needed changing took three days and involved a pressing plant in Wisconsin. Now it's all laptops and After Effects, so things can be made, changed, edited, reconfigured very quickly by our team of content guys on site. It's quite a canvas to play with. By the end of the night I couldn't help but feel that finally, I'm done. I'm ready to get going, to let an audience in here and announce our secret to the world. Lets go.

Sunday, 28th June 2009. Barcelona. Production rehearsals.

The band decided, as last week, to take Sunday off and give as many people as possible a chance to do the same. I went into the stadium in the late afternoon but decided to take the night off. My lighting chaps insisted on doing some programming and housekeeping, but I did manage to prise my video content guys away from their Macs to join me on an outing to Barcelonetta, a very pleasant area by the beach. Like much of Barcelona it's drowning in tourists, but after dinner we wandered and came across a deserted square which was home to a small, local bar. Inside it was rowdy and fun but we opted to sit out in the square and enjoy the warm evening. It was just lovely and rather reminded me of Buenos Aires. Peaceful, calm, all good. We needed a night like this.

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