This quick little six week run around Europe to close the tour has collectively been referred to amongst the camp as "The Stadiums". Today in Norway, we’re in quite a small outdoor space which is essentially a green field at the foot of great mountains and an old military fort. Quite frankly, I’d take this over a big concrete and steel shell any day of the week…
The one thing that I do like about proper stadiums is the way they resonate with crowd noise. The reverberation can turn cheering into a jet-engine roar and a great singalong into something quite astonishing. I don’t think the completely open-air vibe is going to present a problem tonight, though.
When the crew get a cheer every time one of them ventures down the ramps in the half hour before the show, you know the crowd are up for it. On the subject of the crowd, I have to say that Norway is by far the blondest sea of heads I’ve ever seen as I walk across the field ten minutes to showtime. They also, it would appear, quite like a drink here. Should be a good ‘un.
I’m told that in the world of theatre, the second night of a run is referred to as "sacking night" (I believe that would be "firing night" for the more American of you). This is because opening night wobbles can be forgiven, but really, by the second night, you really should have your act together.
There’s a moment as the drape falls at the start of Violet Hill, taking out Chris’s mic stand as it goes, when it looks like tonight could be a comedy of errors. Thankfully, though, it’s a very strong show tonight and everything starts to feel like it’s falling into place. The band are already finding their groove in the new larger than life environment. The swagger will surely follow.
The other thing that will surely follow is I’ll start to remember that we’ve got fireworks now. Both nights so far, they’ve started to go off and I’ve physically ducked and sworn. Tonight, as I leg it across the rear of the stage to do the runner, I push my way through the back drape and am blinded. Minh, one of the show’s carpenters has hold of my elbow preventing me from walking any further.
Probably just as well, being as about ten feet further all that exists is a wall of sparks, explosions and smoke as the pyro fellas give it plenty. Just in case you were wondering, industrial strength fireworks smell strongly of eggs.
Fear smells of something else entirely.