I don’t remember exactly when but once, during some studio recordings, I picked a U2 biography (called One year and a half in the life of U2) and even tough I am not their biggest fan on Earth, it provided me some cool reading time as well as some inside info about the biggest Pop band in the planet. One of the most curious chapters related Bono coming home from the ZOO TV tour and checking in a hotel for a couple of days before facing the music back at his place, wife, kids, family, routines, and especially being just another guy at home instead of Macphisto or The Fly, worshiped by thousands on stage.
I never checked in in a hotel. I always want straight home and faced whatever what’s playing: great welcoming, chaotic welcoming, needy welcoming, ruptured welcoming, bittersweet. It does take a process and, if you’re so kind and patient, I will let you in.
This is prep day. Last show, quick and silly goodbyes. Shake hands and hugs with people you actually liked. Avoid the ones you didn’t. Spread my possessions (especially the cool fan gifts that I get along the way) on the back lounge. Throw away underwear and socks. Check in online, get aisle seats. Recount the merch money. Play the show doing our best to avoid last gig pranks (we kinda hate it and it’s unfair for the crowd when the crew and other bands clown around too long on stage -even tough we had some cool pranks already-). Get some sleep so that I arrive I look more of a human, less of a tour zombie.
Traveling. No matter from how far and how many hours it takes, I am electric when I get back home, with a strange energy that is fueled by the love and the privilege of reconnecting with your loved ones. On this day, even if your bones are nearly crushed from sleeping in a moving bus for thirty nights on a row, you are numb to pain. You want to taste and try things: your favorite dish, red wine, something from your stash. You might feel a bit dizzy and numb throughout the day as your body reclaims rest, privacy, coolness but that electricity doesn’t let run out of energy to spin your kid in the air, to climb the stairs with 5 heavy bags, to open and put together the gifts you brought home, to play and play, until finally you go to bed at a decent hour (local time, to avoid jat-lag) and sleep a heavy, bizarre sleep like you have been knocked out, instead of gently slipping away to Morpheus’ arms.
You wake up too early for your own good, regretting the possible yet chaotic sleeping habits of the tour. Anyway who can go to sleep immediately after show? You make plans so that next tour you behave. Right. You feel like if the vehicle you’re riding on for weeks just ran over you. Your ribs hurt. Your head hurts. You are in a terrible mood. Even your hair and fingernails hurt. It’s the shit day. You are still fitting in and if it’s like your shape shifted a little, making the insertion painful. The hours go by, you still put up with it as humanly as possible and the way you endure this day is the key for what follows. You wake up with a rush of adrenaline at night. Your body has been on stage every other night. And in those hours in Portugal, everybody was asleep. You trick yourself into sleep again. Good luck with that brother.
Half of the day you are still under that spleen. Same sensation. Then adaptation sets in and you start valuing your return. You connect with people around. Smile even. Your kid picks your hand to take you somewhere, to see a toy, or a wall, or nothing at all, and it’s like you are viewing one of the most incredible things on Earth. You resurrect, have your first expresso that your stomach couldn’t take in the first few hours. You smell good, your clothes are hanging to dry, you get something on the post. You are a citizen again, a father, more human than yesterday.
The Sun is up and shining. You go out to the park with your kid. Play for hours.You go and watch the ocean. Feel the breeze in your cheeks. You wonder how can you endure being far away from all of this? You think: 5 more years and that’s it. Maybe 10 then…You come home, take a nap with your tired child. The warmth, the smell of that little head. The scent of home, some privacy. I was smiling all day long. I still am.
You get an email. Next year 6 weeks tour routing. But it looks so far from where I stand now. I shall answer it. But not today. I have a date with my wife.