– he has an innate ability to understand exactly what was going to go on and how he could do it.” With the Stones as a calling card, Berry began working for manager Roger Davies – who he calls ‘the king of divas’ – on tours including Tina Turner and Cher. But he cites the Stone’s Forty Licks tour in 2002 as his greatest logistical achievement. “We played stadiums, arenas and clubs, and I don’t know of another band that could have done it,” he says. “We coloured all of our flight cases green, blue and white. If they were green they went to the stadium, if it was blue it went to arenas and white to the clubs. If you had all three colours on your case it went everywhere. We fucked up with the odd case here and there, but we got away with it!” It’s hardly the first example of his resourcefulness though: there’s the legend of the AC/DC gig in Phoenix where torrential rains had left a small lake in front of the stage. Berry strapped down the equipment on stage, and flew a helicopter over the water, letting the wind push away the flood. “I think there were a lot of drugs involved in that,” he laughs. “We started blowing over the PA because we stacked it in those days.” So from one stadium band signed to a global touring deal to another, and as the Millennium drew to a close, Berry had been approached by manager Paul McGuinness who was looking to replicate the Stones’ model with U2. “How can you say no to U2?” asks Berry, although his appointment displaced the band’s longstanding PM Steve
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“Jake has always encouraged and supported people that have worked under him when they have had opportunities to advance, even if it meant leaving a tour that he was in charge of.” – Greg Regan, Upstaging Iredale. “In retrospect, I think they were looking for a change, and some fresh air in their organisation,” Berry says. “Steve and I did it together and we worked great together. We never sat down and split up different parts of the job, it just happened in a cool way. Elevation was a mega success, the album was great, and U2 sold every ticket. It was a fantastic tour.” The Elevation tour also paired Berry with renowned video director and set designer Willie Williams for the first time. “Jake’s reputation preceded him, so I was bracing myself for having to deal with this old-school, raging-bull, road-warrior, production office tzar, who’d prioritise the load-out above anything else,” says Williams. “This, of course, was exactly how he turned out to be but what did surprise me was his respect and humility in fitting into an existing (and very longstanding) touring group.” Colleagues relate that it is his loyalty to his touring parties, coupled with a no-nonsense and formidable work ethic, that inspires such loyalty in return. “He leads from the front,” says Fisher. “I don’t believe he has ever asked any member of his crew to work harder than he does.
Top: U2 360 © Ralph Larmann
IQ Magazine issue 33.