POPMART Leg 1: 1997, North America

Jul
06
2009

'The whites of their eyes...'

2
06 July 2009
'The whites of their eyes...'
Milan. Load in day.

It seems that the 360 production is relatively waterproof, or perhaps it's safer to say comparatively waterproof. We had proper rain last night and yet most of the show elements seem to have survived pretty much unscathed. The biggest problem was under the stage where miniature lakes formed within the waterproofing materials and eventually soaked through. The video screen was the biggest worry (bringing back painful memories of the technicolor constellations of the PopMart screen, post-downpour) but that seems to be about the most robust element of all.

I went into the stadium to work on a few different parts of the show which I feel aren't quite there yet. Lighting segues between songs, some of the video elements of Unforgettable Fire, followspot cues... bits and pieces. Due to reasons of which I've never been entirely clear, whenever you play San Siro stadium you have to face across the field rather than facing the playing lengthwise. There's also quite a large overhanging cantilevered roof, in a tasteful bright orange steel and the overall effect of these two factors seemed to reduce the scale of the stadium to that of a school gymnasium. I'm sure this place used to be really big. We shot the Vertigo outdoor show here and I remember it as being huge, but the proportions of the 360 structure seem to perpetuate the illusion of intimacy on a grand scale. As much as anything, it just felt very odd to see this thing anywhere other than at Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium, having been staring at it for a month in that location.

The crew seemed to be in remarkably good spirits given that they'd just completed the first move of the beast and this move had involved torrential rain. There was much amusement at one side effect of playing across the field. The lighting, sound and video control position has ended up so close to the b-stage runway that we'll practically be able to tune Edge's guitar for him when he passes by. It's very unsettling to be so close to the performers - I hate being able to see the whites of their eyes.


Tuesday 7th July 2009. Milan. Show 1.

There was another monsoon last night which is getting a little beyond a joke and some of the gear has suffered a little. One night of rain still allows time for equipment to dry out thoroughly but three in a row is tough. I was particularly gutted that the mirrorball right at the very top of the pylon (which also happens to be the world's first mirrorball-lightning-conductor, I kid you not) was refusing to revolve. Given its location, once the cranes have left the building it is completely impossible to get to it for maintenance, but them's the breaks. Hopefully it'll dry out for tomorrow.

The band didn't arrive at the venue until gone 6pm, so it was a bit of a mad dash thereafter. I rugby-tackled Bono on the way to the dressing room in order to pin down the set list and get the troops ready for battle.

You can always rely on the Italians to make the party go with a swing and this show was airborne within minutes. Angel of Harlem wandered into a genuinely spontaneous rendition of Stand By Me that absolutely brought the house down. This was followed by a lengthy version of Party Girl featuring a stage appearance by Eve Hewson, Bono's daughter, on the occasion of her 18th birthday. By the time the band brought the acoustic bit to a close with In a Little While, they'd been onstage for the best part of an hour and only got through about a quarter of the set list. Call it a party...

I chose not to do the 'runner' out of the stadium with the police escort, as I had friends at the show that I wanted to see. This meant not getting out of the stadium for hours as we waited for the traffic to clear a little, but at least we had empty and abandoned dressing rooms to hang out in. On eventual arrival back at the Hotel Fabulous the birthday party was continuing in the bar and did so for a good while. I had a few drinks with the Snow Patrol guys, which was very pleasant. It'll be good to have them around over the course of the tour.

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COMMENTS

2
barbaram
04 August, 2009
The Gypsy Life
How I just laughed and Laughed until tears ran down my face. Dont you just wish you had been a fly on the wall when the chambermaid came to clean the room. I bet willie and the crew could write a book on all the thinks that happen on tour. I would be first in line to buy the book. Keep up the good work. Love your work. Barbara Australia
hjay
29 July, 2009
A pint with Snow Patrol
Funny....when I saw Snow Patrol recently here in Edmonton, just weeks before they joined you in Barcelona, it struck me, "I bet those guys would be great to sit and have a pint with...." They seem like really great guys and look like they could muster up a bit of trouble before the drinking ends. I bet that was a good bit of conversation...Wish I could have been there with you for that. Cheers. And thanks for all the updates, Vicariously living through you, Heather
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