30 August 2010
'Speeding on the Subway...'Vienna. Show day.
Oh dear. I had a series of very strange dreams in the night (the details of which I'll spare you) but when I awoke around 6am, it was clear what was going on - last night's spaghetti frutti di mare was being summarily rejected by every part of my physical being. I haven't had food poisoning for a long time and I am reminded why it is so named. Aside from being sick, I really felt poisoned - debilitatingly so.
It was raining off and on and I was a complete zombie, so consequently it ended up feeling like a really long day. We don't have any tour buses at present, as everyone is flying these very long distances, so there was just nowhere I could go to curl up and die for a while. I made a few attempts to find places to hide and in the end Sarah from the security office (which for some reason is called 'Moose Lodge' on the 360 tour) took pity on me and basically made me a little nest in the corner where I could at least close my eyes.
As evening fell the rain eased off but the temperature plummeted, so in tandem with feeling like death warmed up it was also bloody freezing. I'm sure we must have done colder shows at some point in the past, but it was the sudden extreme drop in temperature that took everyone by surprise, to such a degree that it was quite disorientating. Out at front of house during the show, the lads were going through all the flight cases to try to find something - anything - warm to wear. It must have been rough for the audience - first wet and now frozen - but once the gig started they rose to the occasion. The place was packed (in fact we broke the house attendance record at the stadium, apparently) and despite the cold we definitely achieved lift off.
There were a couple of technical issues from the wet and cold (and in truth some were a hangover from the absolute deluge in Moscow) but it was quite gratifying to note the extent to which the bulk of the equipment just kept going. Remembering PopMart where the giant LED screen would develop spontaneous Technicolor starfields when it got wet, this system seems to be in a different league altogether. Of course the proposition of building one of the largest and most sophisticated 'son-et-lumiere' systems ever devised, then standing it outside, without a roof, in the pouring rain is still completely insane, but at least it seems we€™re getting better at it.
By the time we reached the end of With or Without You I was seeing double, so I decided to do my own runner back to the hotel and go to bed. It seemed that the path of least resistance would be to just take the U2 line train from outside the stadium, so I headed through the crowd to the nearest exit. Some people were already leaving to beat the rush, to find the car, to relieve the babysitter, or whatever other reason. As U2 played Moment of Surrender inside the stadium, everybody outside was singing along. I walked alongside them, into the station, up the escalators, onto the platform, into the train... I was speeding on the subway, through the stations of the cross... even as the train departed some people continued til the song was done and the energy of the show dissipated all over Vienna.