Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Dave Matthews Band Winter Tour

ONE booth at DMB
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Left Montreal early this AM, touched down in Chicago and could not remember which airport I was at. Like, I almost had a mini freak out – was I at O’Hare or Midway, and what was wrong with me that I couldn’t remember????

Got a rental car and went on the road to…Kinkos. Needed to get some work done before I headed up to Madison to join Josh and Arron. Got to the venue to see that the guys had done a great job with the booths and over all set up, and had already got lots of DMB fans signed up by the time I got there. It was also great to see the old DMB crew: Bo, Alex, Alyson, et all. This tour lets us get into some great college towns we really haven’t taken the campaign to yet, and I am really excited about it, plus it’s great to be working with the staff at CARE again on this project!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Montreal U2

Drove to Montreal from Ottawa on the day of the show, and once again went straight to the venue. This time around, I am working with Oxfam Canada, who head up much of the MPH work here in Quebec. I worked with Oxfam USA on the Coldplay tour and love working on the Make Trade Fair Campaign, so it was awesome to get to work with Canadian Oxfam staffers and volunteers.

And amazing volunteers we did have – these guys were unbelievable! I don’t speak more than four words of French – and they come out very badly – and my version of English tends to be very fast and mumbled, but nonetheless, they took it upon themselves to translate my English volunteer training into French that would make sense to concert goers (and seemed to really enjoy trying to teach me French in the process!) and they rocked! I couldn’t keep up with them, running around and around the venue, checking in to answer questions, help them out and bring them supplies.

Montreal fans are LOUD, almost as loud if not louder than Miami! You can tell the band loves playing here as well – as they should, it’s an amazing city.

The Canadian dates had the added bonus of Arcade Fire. I’ve been listening to Funeral more or less for every day since the album came out and I can’t make myself sick of it. U2 plays Arcade Fire’s Wake Up before they take the stage each night, so I thought it was pretty funny that they would open up with that, knowing that fans would rush in, thinking U2 was taking the stage early. Not that they needed to draw fans in – the arena by the last night in Montreal was PACKED. As in, almost completely full for their set – I’ve never seen a 20,000 person arena that full for the opening band, it was very cool! On the Montreal nights, they did a play on U2’s use of their track as their intro song and played Where the Streets Have No Name before they came on – again causing a rush of U2 fans inside! They also joined U2 onstage doing a cover of Joy Divisions ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart ‘ I was quite impressed with them and Bono’s vocals on the track!

Off on an airplane soon to join up with my crew on the Dave Matthews Band Tour. DMB just went out for a short winter tour – we were with them all summer, and they invited us back out. Arron and Josh are covering it, so I am looking forward to getting a few days in with them, even if it means my 30 something airplane flight in six months…

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Ottawa with Make Poverty History

Ottawa MPH crew
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
I almost didn’t make it here – I flew in, tried to leave La Guardia on Thanksgiving, but extreme winds had shut down the airport. Got a flight the next AM, went through customs, got a rental and went straight to the venue. I’m up here to help out the Make Poverty History Campaign – Canada’s equivalent to ONE in the US. It was awesome working with Liz and Janet at the Toronto dates earlier this year, and Ottawa proved to be great as well.

Support for the MPH campaign is growing insanely fast in Canada – I could tell a difference in the level of support and knowledge of the campaign on the part of the fans from when I was last here in September. More and more Canadians are taking part in the campaign, and starting to have a real impact: the MPH banner that was singed by U2 fans all over the country was handed over to the Prime Minister – after being singed by Bono!- recently, and with upcoming elections, Canadians are able to really voice their support for this campaign. You could hear Bono’s frustration with Prime Minister Martin as he discussed the campaign before ONE; Canada really does have the potential and lead the G8 nations in the fight against poverty.

Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
It was also very cold in Ottawa. I am starting to understand what is like to live in snow and 8 degree weather. I’m glad I live in Southern California, but Ottawa was very pretty and the people there extremely nice and welcoming…

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Back to NYC...

NYC ONE Volunteer Crew
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
I love New York. The bazillion hour drive in our truck – a truck that seems to get more uncomfortable each day – wasn’t as loveable, we always THINK that leaving the night of the show and driving all night after working all day is the best idea ever, but it rarely is.

I love working here – I love talking to New Yorkers about the ONE campaign, getting them signed up and involved, and we get to meet so many other people from every corner of the world that you can imagine when you are here. I always meet people here that are doing awesome things for the campaign, whom have been inspired and moved by it. Also got to see Judy and Cindy for the first time in years – they came and volunteered at the first night and did an amazing job, as did Bob, our official New York volunteer. Bob also seems to attract celebrities; last time he helped, he rode in the elevator with Jay Z and Beyonce, this time, when riding the same elevator, we were with Lenny Kravitz, and on the floor we saw, randomly, Lars from Metallica. Go figure…

Patti Smith and U2
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Patti Smith was another highlight – I am a huge fan, and it was awesome to see her play at MSG, and in some ways, it was even cooler to see her play with the arena only partially full; it actually made it feel more intimate. Saw a lot of the U2 crew on the floor for her set as well. Bono brining in her ‘People Have the Power’ to Bad is one of my favorite U2 moments currently, sounds cheesy, but it really connects with the work we are doing with ONE – to me, that is the idea behind this campaign, to get people to realize their power to help other people, and I love – again, I take the full blame for cheesiness here, but I digress – to hear 20,000 people singing the line ‘people have the power’ over and over again, still humming it as they leave the show. It was really inspiring to see Patti perform – she had a big influence on my musical tastes and how I approach politics and this sort of work. She also influenced REM’s Michael Stipe, and my other ‘favorite NYC moment’ of the week came as Smith and U2 launched into Instant Karma, and I looked around behind me to see Stipe looking like a five year old on Christmas – I have never seen anyone that excited at a show!

Instant Karma was amazing – invoking the spirit of Lennon, another champion of the power of people to do good. I happened to hear Smith and U2 rehearsing it and will probably always hold that minute or so as one of the cooler things to have happened to me at random.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Atlanta U2

It’s cold here. I’m not good with the cold at all. Being back home and then in Florida spoiled me.

Back to the Philips Arena again – we were hear earlier this year with Coldplay. Had a great time during our two nights in town; got to see and catch up with the folks from CARE, one of the ONE partner groups that are based in Atlanta. CARE was the group we partnered with on the DMB tour, and it was great to see Mariano and David, and work with some of their awesome volunteers. Suzanne from Bread from the World was also there, having volunteered with us before, I finally got to meet Katherine, the southeast organizer for DATA. We work together on volunteer recruitment all the time and were actually at the same Coldplay show once but didn’t know it until after the fact, so it was awesome to meet and work in person. We also saw Ted Turner, a big supporter of ONE and got lots and lots and lots of Atlanta fans signed up for the campaign. At one point, a security guard walked over to us - a woman outsite the doors that was looking at our booth gave something to him. He gave us a wad of cash - a donation she wanted to make. We walked over to say thanks and give her some wristbands but she had already left, so we wanted to thank her here and let her know we really appreciated her and her support! This city is quickly becoming one of my favorite to work in…

And, Lokahi’s ‘First Official Stalker’, Anne of DATA also came down to help – she organizes in the Chicago area but was in Atlanta for the weekend, and we are always grateful for her help, even if she is stalking us. I think we amuse her: Carlos, Arron, Dan and I put on a puppet show using salt and pepper shakers and other condiments at the 24 hour diner after the show, a puppet show which was more of a therapy session. (Carlos picking up the salt shaker: “this is Brande, guys, and the pepper is me. ‘Carlos, your stupid’ says Brande, ‘shut up Carlos! Don’t be stupid!’ says Brande, shaking salt all over the pepper shaker…). Anne looked kinda frightened by our exhaustion shining through, but acted like she understood.

Feesh happiness
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
She did not understand The Feesh though. Carlos decided we hit our breaking point. Dan decided that The Feesh was going to record a hip hop song on Garage Band. I decided that the ONE Campaign was worth us loosing our sanity and well being.

Question of the night while in Atlanta: Man walks up to table about halfway through U2's set: “you don’t know where I can find some double A batteries in here, do you?” Me: “No. Sorry.” Man, looking at the banana I had brought up from catering: “what’s up with the bananas, I see people walking around with them all over in here. There are bananas everywhere. Do you know where I can get one?” I stare blankly, contemplating the banana conspiracy of Atlanta of 2005. Man walks off.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

U2 in Tampa

Tampa ONE volunteers
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Only one night here, but we made it matter – Tampa almost beat Miami in signing up more new ONE supporters, and we had yet another AMAZING volunteer team, many of whom are doing work locally in the area, having set up a ONE chapter in Florida.

Tampa ONE volunteers
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.

And Carlos was way excited to see Nicole again; Nicole was one of our ‘Warped Tour Mom’ volunteers from the summer, sweating it out in Orland with Carlos and Kathleen in our booth, where they got lots and lots of young people to join the campaign. ‘She’s SO COOL, Brande’, Carlos said to me, “her daughter wanted to take a break at Warped, and I was fine with it, but Nicole was like ‘no, you can not watch Fall Out Boy until you get two more pages of names. We are here to work and help!”

Tampa ONE booth
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.

Nicole drove for several hours with two of her friends to join us tonight, they seemed to have a great time and did a great job. It’s really fun to work with such interesting and talented people night after night doing this work!

Adopting the Feesh
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
We also introduced two new members to our team this evening: the Feesh and Paris the Pony. Our new members came from one of those machines with the stuffed animals that you pay a dollar to try to grab. The Feesh cost us about $19 and Paris was easily another $5, but the happiness on my team members faces made it all worth it. Admittedly, there was certain amount of road weariness, general tour fatigue and a beer or two involved in the ‘recruitment’ and subsequent excitement about our new members, but we are eager to have them join us on the road. You sort of just had to be there to understand…

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

U2 in Miami

Miami ONE volunteer crew
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
So, in an interesting turn of events, the tour started in the Midwest, went up into the east coast, worked it’s way back into the Midwest, dropped into Texas, moved into California, then took a giant leap to Florida. Well, the band took a giant leap in their very cool jet; we drove our truck. ‘We’ being Arron and Dan, Carlos and I got to fly into town – Carlos flew into Long Beach after spending a few days off with his parents in NorCal, and I went home after Oakland for a few days to try to get caught up on work – surprise, it never seems to happen! – and from there we both left from Long Beach airport on a red eye to Fort Lauderdale, but after first running into Elizabeth, an amazing woman I am lucky to call a friend. Elizabeth runs California Living Histories, a non-profit that provides after school curriculum and programs where Lokahi also running it’s after school campaign – we’ve known and worked with each other for several years, so it was really random to run into her and her husband and find out they were on the same red eye flight!

U2 fans joining as ONE
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Red eye flights are never a good idea, I don’t know why I convince myself that they are. I am envious of those that can close their eyes and fall asleep instantly, as I am not one of them, and it's a crucial survial skill when you work on a tour for 10 months out of the year. Got into Miami at about 6am, begged the hotel to let us check in early, slept for a bit then left for the venue.

Miami ONE Volunteer Crew
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
I have only really done Warped Tour dates in Miami, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. In short, I was blown away: Miami is an incredibly diverse city, it was awesome to meet and interact with people from so many different backgrounds that shared the same common and interest in this campaign. I met a lot of people who told me about either seeing and living in the type of poverty this campaign is fighting either themselves or having family that still did . I got to use my broken Spanglish a bit tonight as well which was also fun.

U2 fans and ONE supporters
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.

We had a really fun crew of volunteers – including the crew on Monday who now hold the record for sign ups, almost 1900, AND there was only 6 of them! Special thanks to Nina who came out both days and helped us with recruiting this awesome crew of people!

U2 loves Miami and I now understand why: Miami loves U2. This crowd was LOUD. As Bono put it: “I know why they call this place the American Airlines Arena: it sounds like a Boeing 747 in here!” and then they got even louder…

Thursday, November 10, 2005

U2 in Oakland

Oakland volunteer crew
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
So, Arron and I missed our flight to Oakland from Vegas. We got out of driving – ha-ha Carlos and Dan! – and were all excited to get a flight out of town and get into Oakland nice and early to get some work done and otherwise have some down time. It wasn’t really our fault, of course we left the hotel later than we should, but the lines at the Vegas airport are INSANE on a Sunday morning anyway, so it took roughly a million and a half years to get checked in, then when going through security the stupid machine broke so rather than try to fix it or move everyone to a new line, they just did nothing and had us all stand there for a million more years. To make a very long winded story concise, we had to wait five hours to catch a flight to Sacramento, where we had to rent a car then drive to Oakland airport and get our bags and then drive back to the hotel. We DID beat Dan and Carlos who were making an 8 hour drive, but only by about 45 minutes.

U2 night two in Oakland
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
On to Oakland: our first night was on the same day as the special election that was being held in the state, and you could tell people were feeling more ‘politically engaged’ than they normally might, and it was cool to see so many ‘I voted’ stickers. We had such a fun crew of volunteers, including Lori and Roberta whom have volunteered at a bunch of shows with us this year and in fact were some of our very first ONE volunteers ever, joining us at the early spring U2 shows this year. Rochelle came up from LA to help and rocked as usual, and it was great to meet other volunteers whom have been active in the bay area.

Signing up
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Lots of sign ups, lots of support and great interactions – it always amazes and inspires me to meet and hear from so many who are taking this campaign and running with it, to see people ‘get it’, suddenly realize the historic nature of what we are doing with this campaign and the potential it has.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Vegas Baby, Vegas...

Wow. Vegas, baby, Vegas. So far, Vegas wins – our biggest night yet on wristband sales – a lot of one dollar coins and we did have to tell a few people that we could not take casino chips - and we signed up SO MANY PEOPLE! The venue at the MGM Grand is insane and kinda scary; it’s really small and narrow, so within a few minutes, the entire place was just packed, wall to wall people everywhere you look. Thanks to Amy at the venue for being super helpful and getting us set up, and a very special thanks to our amazing volunteer crew, including Andrew who came out both nights to help us out!

Signing the banner
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
I also love shows where I get to see Elvis impersonators. It’s really all I want out of life.

Our new ONE banners...
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Great to meet and hear from so many U2 fans who are interested in doing local work for ONE – once again, we had a TON of people sign up to get more info on volunteering, people asking us all night long how they can take ONE into their own community. It’s amazing to see this campaign grow in the way that it has this year…

I missed Mary J Blige doing ONE with Bono because I went back to my room to try to take care of some travel during the show. I got to hear them sound check though, but I’m still bummed I missed it.

Joining the ONE Campaign
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
We got new banners! We are complete dorks – banners get us very, very excited. But they look great and I think will help to solidify the message of the campaign and get even more people signed up to join.

U2 fans and ONE supporters
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
My buddy Jamie came out to help – Jamie did a bunch of dates with us back in the spring – she pretty much kicks arse as the Europeans on tour like to say, and I’m not saying that because we’ve known each other since pre-school; she’s really really good and really really into the campaign! In a weird way, one of the most rewarding things you can have happen - at least in my experience - when you do this sort of work, is to have your friends and family get involved.

And thanks to Tommy
for the swag for my mom.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

U2 in Los Angeles

ONE crew night two LA
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
My hometown gave us our best days as of yet on this tour – we got over 3000 people to join the ONE Campaign during our two nights in town! Plus, we had some of our LA based Lokahi staff that work on local campaigns come out and join us – was great to work with and see Preston and Sean after being on the road forever, plus we had ‘Lokahi veterans and friends’ Emily and Gauri on the ground helping

Carlos, me and my mom
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
And if that wasn’t enough, I even brought my mom and her friend Darcy out. Which isn’t to say I brought my mom out for a free show, she raised me to know through and through that nothing is free, so she was behind the booth all night, actually sold more wristbands than Carlos if I am not mistaken... I let her take a break to watch the show though….my mom, on a side note, is very cool and incredibly supportive of this work – she did a lot of work on Indian reservations when she was younger and has taught all three of her kids about the importance of giving and helping those that need it. She hosts all sorts of cool charitable projects from her antique business. Plus, she is ne of Lokahi’s unspoken tour heroes, always taking in boxes and sending Fed Ex’es off for me when I desperately need something sent out from LA…

We also had back to back nights of amazing volunteers – the before mentioned Lokahi vets, along with our favorite brother and sister team ever, who came up from San Diego to help us out. Met a 7th grader who has been making ONE his class project, saw a bunch of random celebrities I couldn’t quite place, and we got to use the Staples Center kiosk for one of our booths, unfortunately we had to break the news to Arron that it wasn’t going with us. We also got our new hoodies in: as of now, they are a staff only thing –sorry!- but my crew and the DATA staff that spotted us wearing them were very excited about them.

This kid rocked
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Great to be home and have my town ‘represent’ so to speak. LA has this great spirit that lies beneath the freeways and celebrity culture, and it’s always inspiring to see that come out…plus, it wasn’t cold. So good to be back home…the band sounded great – got to hear Crumbs and the ending of People Have the Power, two of my current favorite U2 moments…

White bands
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
We are off to Las Vegas in the next day or so – I haven’t done a show in Vegas since I was doing stuff with Greenpeace on the U2 tour in 2001, so we aren’t totally sure what to expect, other than it should be completely insane. It’s never good to have your venue, your hotel room, several bars and a casino all in one place…