Started the day with the usual tsunami of e.mail from Europe, but managed to segue into a pleasant lunch with Allen Branton. This is the gentleman who is looking after the TV lighting for the Big Video Shoot in Chicago next week, so we spent a little time formulating a strategy to make the Vertigo show work on a small screen. Allen knows a great deal about this kind of thing and has been in the U2 orbit for a long time. He worked with us on the Zoo TV shoot in Sydney and the PopMart shoot in Mexico, so has come to terms with the eccentricities of thisparticular crowd of individuals. I seem to remember him doing a brief consultation at the beginning of the Unforgettable Fire tour too; we had all been to see Bowie's 'Serious Moonlight' tour and were suitably wowed, so I was commissioned to discover who was responsible for it and see if he wanted to come and play with U2. It was somewhere way back in the mists of time, anyway.
I learned an enormous amount from him about television ≠ not even about lighting per se, but the whole idea of how television works, the mind set of the viewer, what's important, what's not, essentially what is most likely to prevent the viewer from changing channels. The psychology of it all is very interesting, particularly in the U.S. where the torrent of options spewing out of the average TV is so overwhelming.
We were eventually joined by director Hamish Hamilton, veteran of Elevation at Boston and Slane, and Ned O'Hanlon, producer, before heading off to look at some test footage shot on Wednesday. The viewing was at a video facility which turned out to be about a half hour cab ride out of town through spectacular scenery, enhanced by glorious weather. It didn't take long, but the flaw in the plan wasthat whilst we were inside, the cab (which Ned had already paid to wait for us and do the return trip) unceremoniously buggered off and abandoned us, leaving us high and dry. Hey ho, at least the sun was shining.
Consequently my arrival at the gig was far from punctual, but for the first time the band had decided to forego soundcheck so my absence went unnoticed. A photographer, Joe, was taking pictures of the production for Wired magazine with a large format camera (film!) so I will look forward to seeing how they turn out.
The gig was loud. Being so absorbed in what a show looks like, I don't often consciously notice the sound at a gig unless it's out of the ordinary. Tonight was loud, I think largely due to the extreme volume of the audience. It was fun. Afterwards we rounded up a few beers and watched playback of more test footage, which helped steer some decisions about how to shoot the Chicago shows.I wonder how the Bulls are doing?