24 July 2009
'The Auld Triangle'Dublin. Show 1.
It's been a completely Irish day weather-wise, with alternating bright sunshine and torrential rain in fifteen-minute cycles. However, spirits seemed pretty good when I got Croke Park and business was going on very much as usual. The band came in for sound check, prior to which we sat in the dressing room for a while looking at the possible set-lists which they could play over the three nights here. I've mentioned before that this tour's quantity of available, rehearsed material is completely unprecedented which makes planning set lists a joy though still requiring an amount of mental gymnastics to find suitable juxtapositions.
Having made a decision on sets for nights 1 and 2 (all bets are off for night 3 - I'm pushing for a new trio of songs, October into White As Snow into New Year's Day but we'll see how that goes), Bono and Edge were playing with ideas for other appropriate elements to throw into a hometown gig. 'Dirty Old Town'? (bit obvious), 'The Boys Are Back In Town'? (spare us), The Corrs 'We Are So Young'? (seemed like a funny idea for five minutes). They settled on 'The Auld Triangle', which Bono then sang acapella in the dressing room to find a suitable key. It's been a while since I’ve experienced Bono singing at full tilt in a small room, at a distance of approximately two feet. I'd completely forgotten the implausible volume of sound which he is capable of producing, even without the world's largest P.A. system. I felt like I wanted to look behind him to see where the speaker was plugged in.
Due to Dublin's close geographical proximity to the Arctic circle, it is famously Very Not Dark when you do outdoor shows here and altering the course of nature is one string that not even U2 can pull. However, being a known quantity I design with this in mind and this show (unlike, say, ZooTV) can quite comfortably handle opening in daylight. It's fair to say that the Not Darkness went on for longer than I would have liked but it clearly didn't affect the outcome of the evening as the place completely went off. Oh, and The Auld Triangle turned out to be just the ticket.
After the show the traffic was rammed outside so along with some of the video crew I opted for walking home. I went to the crew hotel first and spent a second evening hanging out in the 'losers lounge' with some of our guys prior to wandering on back to the Clarence. My room is facing Temple Bar and frankly, as far as the noise level went, I may as well have bedded down in the bar across the street. I didn't get to bed til about 3am, at which point the U2 covers band which was playing in the corner of my room was still going at it full tilt. Within half an hour (I kid you not) they had played With or Without You three times and One twice. And really not that well. Thank god for my 40db moulded earplugs...