Monday, October 31, 2005


Long Beach
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.

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, 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

34,000 feet on our way to Houston

34,000 feet
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
We are not the best travel agents here at Lokahi. Our 'travel coordinator' is also our founder, executive director and on site concert person (as in, me) which means that most travel arrangements for our touring are made at most a week in advance via or another internet website. (By the way, if you are a nice travel agent reading this that can hook us up, please don't hesitate!)

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

Night Two of U2 in Detroit – People Have the Power

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

Sitting, waiting, wishing...

waiting in the lobby
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Some Tuesday's just aren't meant to be. Today was one of them. Travel plans to DC got quickly scrapped when room arrangements fell through and we found ourselves picking at the scraps (as in, $200 for a Howard Johnson out on the Beltway (already out of budget for us) or a penthouse at a five star downtown that was so beyond what we could possibly afford that it was beyond funny) for a place to stay in DC. So we had to stay in Philly. Which meant finding another room. And waiting in another lobby to check back in. But we did get really good Indian food and I booked rooms for the next two weeks so we wouldn't have to deal with this again...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Back in Philadelphia

Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Philly does love the ONE Campaign - and we are all eager to get two more nights to talk to people here! Just got into Philly from New York, excited to be back at Wachovia and ready to get lots of fans signed up and work with an awesome crew of volunteers...some of our best nights of the spring leg of the tour were here, and we got to work here a bunch of the summer: Live 8, Dave Matthews, Warped and Coldplay. We have some high goals for ourselves and our volunteers tomorrow, hope everyone is ready!


Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
On a completely non-tour/ONE campaign/outreach blogger note, observing other people exercising on a perfect Saturday morning in New York when you are kinda tired and out of it and sucking down your second latte is far more pleasurable to actually exercising yourself.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Welcome to New York

Night one at the Garden went great - we had a great crew of volunteers that helped us kick off our week in town with a bang...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Signing the Declaration

Signing the Declaration
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
So far, some 10 shows into the fall leg of the Vertigo Tour, we have gotten over 15,000 U2 fans to sign the declartion, and this year, Lokahi has been at 132 concerts and gotten just shy of 150,000 people to join us as ONE in fighting global poverty, something we are very proud about!

U2 Night 2 in Boston Volunteer Crew

Our night two crew - once again we had volunteers that first spoke with us at the shows back in May, which is really, really inspiring! These guys rocked - they beat the Monday night crew (nothing wrong with a little competition...) by about two hundred people in sign ups, though no one has beat the Canadian team in Vancouver that got over 2400 sign ups in one night...our volunteer team is standing in front of our new banners that we are very excited about. We get excited about things like new banners.

Boston Night 2

Night two went even better than night one - even more people joined the campaign, our volunteers got to check out a great show and we were even able to load out with ease. Except for our really loud, squeaking dolly that gets us dirty looks whenever we use it. So we mostly make new guy Josh use it.

Happy Birthday Carlos!

Happy Birthday Carlos!
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Carlos spent his Birthday with us at the Boston U2 show - birthdays on tour involve public humiliation, which in this case featured him having to wear party streamers and the posting of our favorite embarrassing 'Carlos photos' around the booth, and the traditional 'road birthday cake' of 711 Hostess Cupcakes with candles and around of 'Happy Birthday' sung by our awesome volunteers. The night before at home in Seattle (he was off for a week and just rejoined the tour) he did get to see Tori Spelling throw up (long story) and hang out with the guys in Franz Ferdinand, so it was a good birthday all the way around...

Welcome to Boston...

Boston U2 fans
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Boston loves U2 and vice versa - was great to be back at the Fleet Center/TD Bankgarden (the name of this place seems to change every week...) after ending the spring leg of the tour here back in May. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood – somehow everyone in Boston is Irish or thinks they are Irish, I saw more Red Sox gear than I have ever seen in my life (including Bono donning a Sox jersey thrown on stage by a fan at one point) and nothing beats a Boston accent, at least in my opinion.

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…

Boston Night One U2 Volunteer Crew

This is part of the amazing crew of volunteers that helped us get over 1300 people on board with the ONE Campaign!

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!