Amsterdam. Show 2.
I didn't hurry into the venue this morning, eventually showing up at around 3pm to meet an Australian colleague with whom I work on the musical 'We Will Rock You'. He is on his way to Milan, where an Italian language version of the show is due to open this Autumn, then on to Bilbao to look at another show in preparation for its moving to Sydney at some point. Over the past ten years I've probably devoted about twenty five per cent of my work life to theatre projects. This initially came as a profound shock to the system as the process of creating and staging these productions appears to happen at a snail's pace (you wouldn't be showing up at 5.45 for a 6pm opening night, that's for sure) and you do find yourself frequently wondering 'how do these people ever get anything done?!'
However, as with any intergalactic travel, you do eventually come to see how the process works and how it has come to be this way. Ultimately I have come to love the disciplined structure of theatre production, which starts with a script and is designed to cope with a large number of performers being on stage at any one time. There's a clearly defined chain of command and the most exciting part of all is that the cast aren't in charge. By comparison, a rock tour exists in a state of barely contained chaos, where only about five per cent of personnel are concerned with the show itself, the other ninety five per cent being there to move it. Relocating the pyramids on a daily basis is a thrilling enterprise but does require some compromise to detail, hence the expression 'good enough for rock and roll', which I have come to realise is a practical rather than ironic statement.
It was great to see my Aussie mate and it's always fun to see our production through the eyes of an outsider. He loved it but could hardly keep a straight face most of the time.
Ten shows in I feel that U2 360 has coped well with retaining its eye for detail amid the tsunami of getting it from city to city. Having a well-rehearsed band was key to getting a good start and is now starting to pay dividends as far as set list flexibility is concerned. Until the End of the World and Bad surfaced tonight, both of which were 'in the pocket' as these chaps like to say. It becomes a little tricky because for every song which is added something has to go away (if we ever want to get home to bed) but I hope we are making good choices. It certainly feels that way.