Monday, October 31, 2005
After countless flights and endless airports, roads, hotels, cars and suitcases, it's always nice to look out the airplane window and see something familiar, like palm trees and sunshine and smog. I have been out on the road for over two months straight at this point, and actually had come to miss smog…
Texas went really really well and we had a lot of fun, but we were also starting to think we were never going to be allowed out: didn’t even book a flight until about 12 hours before we left and it took forever to do since we couldn’t get an internet connection at our hotel, trouble getting to the airport and dropping off the car, the SSSS (Super Special Security Screening, as we like to call it, a given if you book tickets last minute and fly nothing but one ways like we do!) screening that took forever and then, we go to board the flight, and the person tells me and Dan our reservation has been cancelled. ‘Um, but the tickets are paid for and we are checked in and went through screening and for once were actually here really early!” I was starting to panic, imagining myself just having to move to El Paso or something as this magnetic field was preventing us from leaving the state. The American Airlines girl just shrugged, ‘computer thing or something’ and printed us new boarding passes. She still has no idea of the terror she invoked in us.
I love and at this point think it's normal to live out of a suitcase, a pickup, planes and hotels, but it's cool (well, hot, actually) to be back somewhere where it is 83 degrees out right now. Coming home after being out working this long is weird, all of the sudden you have this massive appreciation of your own bed and shower and refrigerator...like, you never realize the awesomeness of your own hair dryer and washing machine until you have pretty much been gone for six months. Or the fact that seasons and time don’t seem normal or real until you are home: I didn’t even realize it was Halloween until I was driving up my street and saw all the pumpkins.
Anyhow, a whirlwind few days lie ahead: trying to catch up, both in terms of the endless mountain of work and seeing the people that I haven't in months, two shows at the Staples Center this week that are guarantee to be highly successful, and the chaos that usually surrounds coming home for a few days...
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Not being a big sports person I didn't make that whole connection between 'World Series', 'Houston', and 'place you and the crew need to find a room'. Apparently when the World Series is in town, rooms are hard to find, go figure...So, after a boring day spend at the very nice Holiday Inn of Auburn Hills, I am finally on my way to an airport named after one of the Bush's and our first Texas U2 shows. Aaron and Dan are on the ground in the truck and should be in by afternoon, and Carlos is somewhere in Chicago. We hope he remembers to come to Houston too.
A report from the shows to follow soon!
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Message left on our banner
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Rosa Parks definitely had a presence at the show last night – I was thinking about that as we drove to the show, she had passed away in this city the day before. I was brought back to a discussion I had with my 3rd and 4th grade students at some point last year in discussing civil rights. We were talking about heroes – what makes a person brave, and they inevitably wanted to know my thoughts. I brought up Parks – one of the truest examples of bravery that I could think of that would also make sense to an 8 year old. ‘It would be like someone telling your grandma as she is coming home from work, having a bad back and being tired that she couldn’t sit in the seat on the bus, even though it was open, because of the color of her skin, because of who she was’ I told them, nearly all of them first generation immigrants from Mexico and Central America. ‘And now imagine your little old grandma looking up at some big mean man and saying ‘no’ because she knew she was right and refusing to move.’ They all sat back for a minute, some with grins imaging their grandma taking on the man, others noticeably upset at this prospect of someone being that cruel to their grandma. I was thinking of that conversation with my kids last night when Bono talked about Parks before ‘One’: “Middle aged woman going home on a bus, refused to give up her seat for a younger man, because of her quiet dignity and strength America became a better changed country”. Inevitably, it brings you back to this work we are doing with ONE – work essentially supporting those people that show countless acts of bravery every single day of their life, going about working towards something they have every right to: a life that isn’t cut short by stupid and pointless and preventable poverty.
Doing this work, I honestly never have nights where I ‘go through the motions’ – you can’t do this work if you get to that point, the only thing that keeps you going through the insane hours and travel is a love and belief in what you are doing. But there are nights when what you are doing becomes crystal clear and you can see the larger connections – sometimes it’s an interaction with a fan, some nights it’s the conversation you have with your co-workers en-route to the venue, some nights it’s because of the band, and some nights it’s because of the world at large. Last night was one of those unique nights where it was a little bit of all of the above. Detroit fans have proven to be incredibly supportive of this campaign, Parks was on everyone’s mind, including Bono’s, the snippet of ‘MLK’ at the end of ‘One’ that gave me – someone that been at over 50 U2 shows this year! – the chills, one of the few performances of ‘Crumbs From Your Table’ - a song that was playing a lot when we were planning and designing outreach for this tour in the early winter months of this year - all combine to leave you feeling like there is a larger force that connects us all. And the end of the night, touching on what happened in DC, with ‘Bad’ giving way to ‘People Have the Power’ (something that is quickly becoming my favorite moment of the night when it happens) and the crowd taking over on the vocals – there is something powerful about a 23,000 people singing, something joyous, and there is something incredible about that many people joining in together in conveying such a simple and powerful message. It may be ‘just a rock show’, but it leaves you feeling a lot of hope, with a distinct sense of being a part of something that is larger than us all, and in the end, that is what matters most.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
We had a great opening night, getting over 1300 people signed on to support the campaign. Tom Brady (I had to call my dad and ask if he was 'some football guy', I got a very disappointed sigh in response...) and Paul Farmer were there and thanked by Bono for supporting the ONE Campaign. John Kerry was there too, and was also thanked by Bono for his work around AIDS in urban communities. One of our booths was set up next to this DNC display/museum, which was pretty cool, as we had Jimmy Carter standing behind us giving a thumps up – I started telling fans that photo of him was there just for us. I asked if we could actually use Kerry's DNC podium IN our table set up, but the nice staff at the Garden didn't seem to think that would work. Our new guy Josh got yelled at by U2’s merch guy for wearing a Coldplay hoodie (we had to explain to the traumatized Josh that he was only kidding…) but other than that a very ‘Boston’ night all the way around…
Equally rewarding for myself and my crew was finding out that several of our volunteers had actually first found out about and joined the campaign by speaking with us at the U2 shows that came through Boston in May. Since then, they have become volunteers that lead events in their own community - meeting people like this team in Boston really makes it worth every long drive/lack of food/lack of sleep day we have on tour, as it's incredibly empowering to think that the interactions we are having with thousands of fans across the country are inspiring people to pick up the torch so to speak and take action on their own.
Anyway, a big thanks again to this amazing crew - both for their job well done and for providing my staff and myself the 'keep on going' inspiration we can always use!
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- 34,000 feet on our way to Houston
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- Sitting, waiting, wishing...
- Back in Philadelphia
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- Signing the Declaration
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- Happy Birthday Carlos!
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