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Salty liquorice

Sep 1st, 2009 Posted in U2 Tour | No Comments »

don't eat these

My brief stint in Gothenburg marked the farthest north I have ever been and the nastiest candy I’ve ever eaten. The bag of Gott and Blandat contained some good gummy candies, but also had salt covered liquorice a flavour that I wouldn’t recommend seeking out.

While slowly munching on the gummies, I had the pleasure of chatting with the my Swedish volunteers. They had come from far and wide for the concert, and were very insistent that while the Swedish winter was a miserable thing, that long summer days and the quality of life more than made up for the months of cold darkness. I suppose I’d have to live there to know for sure, but it may be worth going back some summer to see a bit more of that big green land.

When in Amsterdam…

Aug 6th, 2009 Posted in U2 Tour | No Comments »

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Despite knowing a couple of good folks living around Amsterdam, I failed to have a meal with a local while I was there. I did, however, find something just as relaxing that made me feel like a local myself: a bicycle.

My hotel was about 8km walk from the stadium where I needed to be for work, and logistics didn’t look good. Public transportation would take over an hour as I would have to head into the city then transfer, and it was too far to walk with the equipment I needed to take back and forth from the hotel for work. It looked like I would be taking some expensive cabs That is, until I saw a rack of rent-a-bikes outside the hotel. In a sew minutes I was cruising along some of the best bike paths that I have ever seen. I wound through the woods and over the Amstel, a very pleasant ride without a car in sight.

Seeing how well the infrastructure catered to my bicycle commute, I couldn’t help but think that the hold adage of “when in Rome…” The local infrastructure catered perfectly to my needs, I just had to act like a local.

Beers in Berlin and Gelsenkirchen

Aug 4th, 2009 Posted in U2 Tour | No Comments »

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While I had a few meals with locals as I cruised through Berlin, my favourite meals that I shared during my two stops in Germany were beers with my volunteers.

The shows in Berlin and Gelsenkirchen were two weeks apart, but the experience was remarkably similar. It rained heavily the day before the show, cleared up and was fairly nice on show day, and the crowds, as one roadie put it, “know how to hang out”. After both shows there were solid crowds of people mingling about and having a last beer before heading home, and when our work was done at both shows, some of the volunteers who had worked a hard day stayed around a while to have a beer.

I suppose I wanted to seek out meals with locals as a break from the tour, and despite the fact that I was still at the stadium with people who had been working at the concert, both nights felt like more of a break than the meals in Barcelona, Milan, and Paris. The group was relaxed and just happy to be spending a couple of non-structured moments with each other. So prost to all the Germans I shared a cold one with, hope to see you next time I roll through.

It’s not gonna rain (again)

Aug 4th, 2009 Posted in U2 Tour | No Comments »

Cross posted from The ONE Blog

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I have a catch phrase that’s served me well along the U2 tour: “It’s not gonna rain.” Thus far with that phrase and the collective will power of tens of thousands of fans, we’ve managed to keep the rain off of us despite what the forecast said. I suppose I should have been saying, “It’s not gonna rain, and there won’t be gale force winds.” But I didn’t, and so that was our weather for the first day in Gothenburg, Sweden. You can get a sense of the conditions from the picture above from when we were unloading in the morning.

But the rough and rugged ONE volunteers braved the wind and the rain, and still managed to sign up hundreds of new ONE members. I was as impressed as I was cold – I’d packed for a summer concert tour and lacked the proper insulation for the 17C windy soggy day.

Everything changed for the second day in Gothenburg. The skies cleared, the wind stopped, and we were in serious business. We doubled the number of people we signed up, and after the concert still had the energy to share a few laughs and a some Swedish gummy candies – Gott & blandat, which I highly recommend if salt liquorice sounds good to you.

It’s now onward back to Germany, where I’m meeting up with a couple members of the German team for a show in Gelsenkirchen. With any luck it’s not going to rain (again).

Breakfast on the beach

Aug 3rd, 2009 Posted in U2 Tour | 1 Comment »

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I was in Nice for less than 48 hours, but thankfully was afforded a chance to have a take a short break from the tour, meet up with a friend, and have breakfast on the beach – my fourth outing with a local along the U2 tour. I ordered a pot of muscles and chips and took a short swim while waiting for the food to arrive. I soaked up the sunshine while munching down on the delicious muscles.

It was simple and perfect. My friend’s life stood in stark contrast to the crazy pace of the tour. It was the type of morning that makes you wonder why we all don’t just live in beach towns and take every opportunity for a quite morning swim. I know that I couldn’t lead a quiet life forever, but I certainly could stand a few more quiet mornings on the beach like that one.

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