Sunday, December 18, 2005

U2 goes to Salt Lake City!

Volunteer training in SLC
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
One of our best nights of the tour thus far – lots and lots of sign ups and even more white bands going out into the world. I am writing this sitting at the Southwest terminal at SLC airport, waiting to board my flight to Portland (my turn not to drive! and I have to drive the truck home to LA from Portland while everyone flies home…so fair is fair, right?) and I see all sorts of people wearing the white bands and their Vertigo shirts. It’s so cool that the white band has become ubiquitous with going to the show for so many fans, I love seeing them in the most random places, and with more and more frequency, and the conversation that starts up around them.

ONE volunteer and U2 fans
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Our volunteers last night included several veterans – Laura who has been with us at several U2 shows over the year and trekked up from New Mexico to help us (she has previously traveled to join us in Arizona, Denver and Las Vegas as well – a shout and thank you for all of your help, Laura!), as well as Melani and Toe’umu, both of whom sweated with us at the Warped Tour date in SLC back in July. We were short on volunteers however, so I placed a call to Melani early in the day who assured me she could round up some more top notch volunteers. A hour later, she called to announce that she had five more, so along with Kristina, a SLC based volunteer who also has helped in NYC (we found out we had film school in common – she is moving to LA to go to UCLA film, I went to USC Cinema) we had a great crew.

Crew of cousins
Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
At some point during the training, we found out that Melani’s crew of people were in fact related – they quickly became known as ‘the cousins’ team. Turns out, her family was having a reunion, so she got her cousins who were involved with the campaign to come out and join us. At one point, her brother, roommate and I am convinced great grandmother on her uncles side twice removed were all at the show as well, so clearly Melani knows pretty much three fourths of Salt Lake City. They had a friendly family competition to see who could get the most people to join, and by the end of the night, our combined efforts had yielded almost 1800 sign ups, putting SLC in the top five list of shows for this leg of the tour.

Originally uploaded by Brande Jackson.
Met a lot of cool people last night and today – wearing my ONE hoodie and working on a laptop plastered with old U2 working passes sort of gives me away at the airport – it's unbelievable to watch support for this campaign continue to grow and expand and take off in the way that it has. Talking to fans at the airport today also helps to remind me what a cool job I get to have – going on tour with amazing bands, working with their very cool and supportive crews, and getting to do work on an amazing campaign in the process. It’s been an amazing year for all of us – U2 crew members have been asking me at the last few shows about our totals, about how well we have done on this leg. It’s pretty incredible to sit back and look at those numbers – nearly a quarter of a million fans, 115,000 U2 fans alone – and know that each one is a face that we talked to, a mind and a heart that hopefully has been inspired and lifted to take this message, this idea, this hope that is the ONE Campaign and make it their own.

Feels weird to have the tour wind down and come to an end – for one, it’s hard to believe time has gone by this fast, that we have somehow done another 50 dates with this band (and 184 concert dates in total for the year!) so fast, but at the same time, you also get so tired and wiped out that you look forward to going home. Alison probably summed it up best as she harassed my crew and I during our training on her mega phone (my goal now, btw, is to get to use the mega phone with the GA line in Portland, just to get to do it once…) “Go ONE! You guys listen to Brande! She’s good! Two more dates left! I’m going to go home but I'm going to miss you all!” Volunteers looked to me - 'who was that person yelling at us and what was she doing?'- but it made perfect sense to me…

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