20 March 2005
YVR - LAX
Heading down to Los Angeles after three weeks of production rehearsals in Vancouver. Travelling with the crew and we're all on a charter flight which is comfortable but quiet. Last night was the first load-out of all the gear from the venue, GM Place, which, coming after the intense schedule of the past few weeks has left most people wiped out.
So far everything has gone extremely well. The band came in a week ago and we've had possibly the most productive rehearsal period since Unforgettable Fire. There's been a huge amount of work, of course and there's a lot more work to come, but mood is up and everyone seems highly motivated and positive. For the first time in a long time I feel like everyone involved in the production is moving in the same direction and enthusiastic about the show.There are many familiar faces in the crew. The first day of production rehearsal load-in in Vancouver was like a school reunion, with people jetting in from all over the globe; North America, Europe, Japan, Australia. There's 57 crew personnel flying today, as the truck drivers take our 18 trucks of gear to L.A. Seven buses and their drivers will join us when we leave Los Angeles on April 6th. In the band party there's 14 more good citizens of planet Vertigo and a flight crew of six, which looks like a grand total of 106 if we include the four guys who stand on stage, which we probably should.
Vancouver rehearsals went well, with a lot of parts of the show being right first time, or close to first time. Day One with the band on stage went pear-shaped for a while when we had a go at running through the set. There's been a proposed set list in place since about mid-January when the band's music rehearsals kicked into gear. Obviously we've modified and shuffled the set list since then, but we did feel we had a stance that could be the basis of an exciting show. It only took one run-through to establish how completely wrong we had been. With the number of extraordinary songs in the U2 catalogue, you'd imagine that it would be hard to go wrong but somehow our combined creative genius produced nothing more than an elaborate train wreck. You'd imagine that all you'd have to do would be to write out a list and you'd be sorted, but in terms of building a two hour show that works as a whole, it clearly takes a good deal more than that. After about an hours group therapy and head scratching in the dressing room we came up with an alternative, so the band returned to the stage to have another go. Naturally we were all a little thrown by the complete failure of set list A, but by the time we were an hour into plan B everything felt much better. It sounds like a band playing what they want to play and includes some songs I couldn't have imagined would make it to the set list this time. Loving it.