I got to the office at 6:40 this morning and have been perusing various sports websites in search of a story to inspire me to write about for my morning post. Â Thus far, nothing has really tickled my fancy. Â There have not been any more major developments in the Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault case, the White Sox dropped the second game of their series with the Rays 3-2 as Bobby Jenks continues to struggle, and typing up NFL training camp schedules just doesn’t strike me as all that much fun.
So I’m going off topic, but I promise there will be a rich reward at the end.
Last night, as part of a wonderful suite of gifts my girlfriend got me for my recent birthday, I attended my first ever Coldplay concert at the SuperPages.com Center here in Dallas. The headline of this post says that it did not disappoint, but that is a pretty major understatement. One of the first things I said as we walked out of the concert last night was that it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen…and I have not wavered from that feeling with the perspective of a (brief) night’s sleep.
Now, I do not consider myself a huge Coldplay fan (at least, I didn’t before last night). Â I used to be a huge fan when their music first arrived in the U.S. (more on that in a bit), and while I still like them and have thrown a decent amount of their songs on various mixed CDs throughout the past decade, I’ve never purchased a CD or bought more than one or two songs off iTunes. Â I can tell you that this will change after last night, and in fact already has. Â Songs like “Violet Hill,” which I had heard before but not been head over heels about, I now have a new appreciation and affinity for after hearing live.
Isn’t that how it always goes after you see a really good live show? It’s been my experience anyway.
I liked Coldplay a lot when they first came out in the States a decade ago (my sophomore year of college) because my roommate and I stumbled upon them well before we ever heard anyone else talking about them. Â We were up really late one night and had MTV on and this really unique video came on the screen with some goofy looking guy just walking along the beach singing in a high pitched voice. It mesmerized us. Â The song was incredible and the video was so simple and elegant. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s the video for Yellow.
At the time, my roommate and I were running our own production company (with KVB!) and doing a lot of music video work, so we were into studying and analyzing different directing and visual storytelling styles. For the next month or so we told everyone we could about the song and video, and no one had heard of Coldplay. Â I have no way of proving this, but I honestly think that through nothing more than blind serendipity we just happened to be watching MTV the first time they ever showed Coldplay.
We certainly never imagined then that this unknown British band would become one of the biggest and baddest bands in all the world, or that the mysterious guy with the soaring voice in the video would one day marry Gwyneth Paltrow (a HUGE star back then, remember) and become a budding icon of music. But that’s what has happened.
I listened to a lot of Coldplay’s early work from the Parachutes album: Yellow, Trouble, Sparks, etc. With each successive album however, as they became more popular and ubiquitous on the radio, listening to Coldplay lost some of its luster for me. Â They went from being that cool, unknown band I enjoyed introducing people to, to just another band that everyone listened to regularly. Â The music was still good, but I didn’t feel that same connection to their music that I once did.
After last night’s show, I feel connected again.
It is fitting, I suppose, that we got there a few minutes late and found our seats as Chris Martin and the boys began their second song of the evening. Â You’ll never guess it what it was…Yellow. Â And I haven’t enjoyed listening to that song more since that first night my roommate and I watched the video in our little house apartment in Bloomington.
Oh, and for the record, for anyone who has not seen Coldplay live and wonders whether Chris Martin’s voice translates well live…I offer up a resounding YES. I saw Jason Mraz live a few months back, and he has one of the most incredible live voices I have ever heard or can imagine. Â Mraz actually spent a half hour of the show not even singing words, just using his voice like an instrument. Â Martin did not do anything like this, but I got the sense that he could have. Â His ability to hold notes and be pitch-perfect every second of the performance is truly remarkable. His voice, which sounds so unbelievable in studio-produced material, translates seamlessly to a live setting.
In addition to Martin’s singing — easily my favorite overall aspect of the show — the production value of the show was fantastic. OneÂ example: they had five reflective, rotating spheres that would descend from the ceiling and have either silhouettes of the band members or funky designs on them. The instant editing work on the video screens was also impressive. Each song seemed to feature unique angles, color filters, and pacing of the cuts from shot to shot. Â In a big venue such as the one the show was held in, having compelling visuals on the big screens really adds to the overall experience. At one point, they also sent confetti-filled balloons bouncing throughout the masses. That was pretty sweet too.
But the most memorable part of the night for me came about 2/3′s of the way through the show and actually happened when the band left the main stage. (Remember at the top when I told you there would be a rich reward for reading? Â It’s coming.)
After listening to four or five songs from our seats, we made a quick jaunt to the restroom and to grab a beverage. When we returned, we noticed that a group of people had collected and were being told they could not proceed to their seats. Once we reached the small mass of people, we learned that a small stage had been set up in front of the fully-packed lawn section and that the band would be coming from the stage through the middle aisle to the back of the arena to play a few songs.
We quickly realized that not being able to go back to our seats would be just fine, as we basically ended up with a front row seat for this little interlude.Â
It took about three more songs, but finally the band came jogging back with throngs of screaming fans reaching out and trying to touch Chris Martin (that blur in the picture to the left is him) and the other band members. Cell phone cameras and the flashes from actual cameras were going off at what seemed like the speed of light. Unfortunately, I was unable to get any really great pictures from my iPhone (just the ones you see posted), but the iPhone still came up huge during the ensuing acoustic performance by the band.
As the band hopped up on the tiny stage and grabbed the guitars that had been prepared for them, I heard a guy standing next to us say that he thought they were going to start off with “Billie Jean.” As many of you know, I am a huge Michael Jackson fan, Billie Jean is my favorite song, and I never had the chance to see MJ perform it live. Sure, Coldplay cannot compare to Michael Jackson performing a Michael Jackson song, but I was still instantly excited at the prospect of hearing “Billie Jean” be performed live.
So I was disappointed when I did not recognize the first couple of songs Coldplay played from the lawn stage.
But that disappointment would soon be washed away in the flood of excitement that occurred when I heard the first few unmistakable notes of “Billie Jean.” I quickly pulled out the iPhone and opened up the Voice Memo app that comes standard with the recently updated operating system. Â I’d never used it before, but I figured this would be as good a time as any to try it out. I had no clue if it would work, what the sound quality would be, or even if I could listen to it outside of the program once it was recorded.
Well, it worked, the sound quality is phenomenal (all things considered), and I most certainly can listen to it outside of the program…and so can you. A snippet of the 2:30 file of Coldplay performing “Billie Jean” is linked below. I don’t know all the rules about recording something live at a show and then posting it on a website, so I won’t link the whole file, but you’ll get the idea from the snippet. Â Email me if you want the full file. Â I’ll gladly pass it along. (And considering that the band gave out free CDs after the show, I can’t imagine they’d be too upset with a sterling review of their show and a short clip of them doing a cover).
And I’ll also quickly pass along a link to where you can get tickets to the rest of Coldplay’s shows on their current tour. There are only a few dates left, but I’d highly suggest going if any of the dates are near you.
Coldplay Concert Tickets from StubHub
So, in quick conclusion, the Coldplay concert was fantastic and a huge highlight in what has been quite an incredible birthday between a great day with the family, a fun week with KVB in town, and a terrific girlfriend who has gone out of her way to truly make it special with gifts like KVB’s plane ticket and the concert tickets (we’re seeing The Fray on Friday).
Anyone else reading been to a Coldplay show? Â I got two of my best friends tickets for the Indy Coldplay show as an anniversary/birthday present back in June. Â She is a huge fan, but he was kind of a peripheral fan like me — but a huge music and concert connoiseur — and they both agreed that their show was amazing. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to go as a true die-hard. If you’ve been to a Coldplay show, what were your thoughts? Please regale us in the comment section.
Enjoy your day everyone. Â I’ll be back later with some links.