What a difference a week makes, notes from Willy

Wednesday, 4th March 2009
New York. David Letterman Show. Started the day by meeting with the lighting supply company for the tour, who have gradually been coming to terms with the magnitude of the project. They now also understand the fact that the staging set up is so radically different from the norm that none of us can make assumptions about how everything will come together - traditional methods simply will not apply.
One thing which has made me laugh is that the stage design has already earned its nickname. Above the performing area is a huge four-legged structure that effectively straddles the football field, from which all the paraphernalia of the show is suspended (this in lieu of a roof, being outdoors and all.) I've been working on this, off and on, for about two and a half years now, having shown the band the first drawings whilst we were still on the Vertigo tour.

During the evolution of the structure it has, at various times, come to resemble several different things; a dockyard crane, a cactus, a giant crab, the Theme Building at Los Angeles airport. It went very Louise Bourgeois for a while, then a little space age. In its final incarnation though, its sleek curves and four talon-like legs have been dubbed "The Claw", remembering the fairground machine from Toy Story. This really amused me, spawning a fantasy of it descending and grabbing members of the audience, all of whom, presumably, would have three eyes.
Anyway, I digress. After the lighting meeting I went to see a projector demonstration - not something for the U2 tour but an interesting new gizmo which I wanted to go and have a look at for future reference. This was followed by a video meeting, and then another video meeting. The tour is still three months away, but a great many decisions now need to be made every single day, it seems.
Tune-de-jour at Letterman was 'I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight', getting its first airing. Tim and his lighting team had really pushed the boat out, creating an interesting and (for a TV chat show) highly radical look for the song. This was a good demonstration of something that David Letterman said on air, during the show; 'Having U2 here is like a shot of electricity to the whole place - they just make everybody better.' Generous words indeed. When you're right in the thick of it, it's easy to forget just how hard this band strives to make everything the best it can be and that kind of energy tends to spread.
There's a huge amount to do just now, both for future promo appearances and for the real tour. I was hoping to sneak home at the weekend, but a U2 radio appearance in Boston next Wednesday just turned into a film shoot, so I'm going to have to stay on and get involved. Here we are. Trapped in Paradise.