I had yesterday pegged as just another TV show all the way up to about 6am. Just as the sun came up, it began to dawn on me just how amazing this was going to be. I can’t remember anything like it in my whole time working for the band. The first Jimmy Kimmel show in 2002 was pretty amazing, but even that was just closing down Hollywood Boulevard. Here, there was major disruption to traffic on two different NYC streets, in front of and behind the stage. There were also folks hanging out of the skyscrapers that loomed above us, trying to get a look in.
I think the fact that it was an obscene hour of the morning made me a little slower to realise how beautifully strange it all was. It was only when Chris did a quick re-write of the ‘shoot an apple…’ line from ‘Clocks’ in the soundcheck ("too early to be out of bed…") that I even remembered that it was still some ungodly hour. This sideways sleep-deprived view obviously wasn’t just limited to me, as ‘Violet Hill’ came towards the end, Chris stopped singing and spotted a young lad with a pretty hefty bandage and sling. "Wow, what happened to your arm, man?" he enquired as the track carried on below him. "Your brother hit you with a stick?".
The soundcheck stopped and started as commercial breaks allow. The setlist went through so many changes that the final version was brought out (after at least half a dozen revisions) by Tour Manager Andy Franks, literally scrawled on the back of a napkin. More run-throughs were squeezed in and nobody seemed to know whether we were actually still rehearsing or live on air. It was gorgeous chaos, wonderful nonsense – and then it was over. The band waved, thanked everyone and ducked back out. Me? I headed off to find a diner…