As the crowds went berseck, the curtains rose slowly….and behind it, appeared the silhouette of the 4 lads from London…with lasers and the blaring lights creating a sort of mystical halo around them !!! Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting ….‘Coldplay – Live in concert !’ ]
It all started about a month ago. It hadn’t been long since I had got introduced to Coldplay…and I had been feeding myself to a daily diet of their songs on my iPod ever since my manager Tony had written a CD for me with all their albums. Hence, when I came to realize that Coldplay were playing gigs all over Britain in December, I knew that I had to be there, by hook or by crook ! !
And then came the problem – all Coldplay gigs in UK for December were sold-out 😦 All of them – London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Glasgow …every single one of them had sold out, nearly 6 months ago !!!
There were, of course, tickets being re-sold on the internet, but at exorbitant rates ! I remember how badly my good friend Ganesh had wanted to be at a Coldplay gig, while he was here in UK earlier in the year…But back then, they weren’t any happenning at all. In fact, the other day I was discussing with another one of our batchmates in London named Sreejith aka ‘Maadan’ that, had Ganu been here, he’d have gate-crashed into that concert by any means – even if it meant having to sleep with the Gate-keeper 😉
Thankfully, I didn’t have to go through any such ordeals. My saviour came in the form of a guy from office, who had advertised a pair of tickets on the Orange intranet website, for the gig at Birmingham on Dec 2nd, 2008.
Wasting no time, I contacted him. Apparently, it had cost him £50 each for the tickets, and I started off by offering him £80 for the pair….only to be rejected outright 😦 ….which forced me to raise the stakes to 100 quid, but that wasn’t good enough either ! Finally, we settled for £115…which was not bad at all, considering that these were for very good seats and would easily cost much much higher on the internet !
Without giving it too much of a thought, I got hold of the tickets. I still had to find one more person to take along, and that turned out to be quite a problem as the concert was on a working day !
However, I knew there was only one man I could rely upon – Mr.Abhinav Gupta ! A quick phone-call to Cardiff and the deal was sealed 🙂
On the big day – Tuesday, 2nd of December, 2008 ….I went over to the Enterprise Car Hire office during lunch break, and picked up the car that I had booked. Though I had originally booked a 2-door Ford Ka, the guys generously gave me an upgrade to a 4-door Toyota Aygo 🙂 Later in the day, I left office a little past 4pm and drove up to Parkway station and picked up Abhinav, who had taken a train down from Cardiff. The drive to Birmingham took longer than expected, as we were stuck in mindless rush-hour traffic through-out the journey. Certain sections near the Parkway station at Bristol, and along the Broad street in Birmingham, were absolute mayhem !!! At times, we found ourselves stranded in the middle of an endless sea of stationary vehicles…..and were forced to move no better than an inch at a time for over half an hour !!! Needless to say, it was extremely stressful and by the time we parked our car at the South Car Park at the NIA, we were totally hammered !
Thirsty, hungry and overcome by fatigue, we headed straight to the refreshments outlet at the NIA. Well, there was this other problem – Abhinav doesn’t drive, so that made me the sole driver of the car….and that in turn meant, I couldn’t drink !!! DISASTER !!! Anywayz, what harm could 1 pint of beer do ?
So there we were …..armed with a beer, a cider, burgers, chips and cool drinks; we entered the huge arena and were ushered to our seats in Zone B…which surprisingly was just about 30 feet away from the stage ! Not bad at all !!! It couldn’t have got better than this for such a price ! 🙂
The opening band was some unheard-of one …and no one really paid much attention to them . We on our part were busy doing justice to our food…and the beers were washed down in no time at all !
And then we all waited ….The moment of reckoning finally came at 9pm …when Coldplay ignited the stage and the whole arena with ‘Life in Technicolour’ !!! The quality of sound was amazing….Nothing I had ever heard before could match up to it ! The brilliance of the sound was matched up with spectacular visuals and lighting effects, that uniquely reflected each song that was being played !
The energy-levels of the guys, especially the lead singer Chris Martin, was unbelievable ! From start till end, he flung himself all around the stage, belting out hit after hit …..charming the audience with his vocals, unstated good-looks, spontaneity and sense of humour ! He didn’t just play and sing, but saw to it that the audience involved themselves too !
All through the gig, there were lasers shooting out from the stage, dazzling lights blaring all around, huge glowing globes lowered from the ceiling, confetti falling all over, large screens with captivating visuals …..and on top of it all, add on the synchronized roar of tens of thousands of fans – and you’ve got one hell of an unforgettable concert !!! Each song had its own theme – the lighting would change, the backgrounds would change and the visuals would vary ! ‘Clocks’ turned the entire arena into Red
…….and ‘Yellow’ was, quite evidently Yellow ! ‘Speed of sound’ was played in near darkness, but with the whole crowd waving out their illuminated mobile phones, it was a different matter all together !
That’s when I realized ….that nothing can really beat the experience of being at a live concert – regardless of how powerful a music system/home theatre you may have at home ! Hearing a song on the sterio or watching a performance on the Tele is not quite the same as being there live, in the middle of the action !!! You could drive a Ferrari on NFS, but unless u actually take one on the road, its just NOT the real thing !!!
While most of the songs were taken off Coldplay’s new album – ‘Viva la Vida’, many of their older hits were played too …..‘Clocks’, ‘Fix you’, ‘Yellow’, ‘Speed of Sound’, ‘Scientist’,’Green Eyes’ …were all marvellous. When Chris Martin sang ‘The hardest part’, it was just him and his piano and the sheer power of his mesmerizing vocals ! Incredible ! The fans were swept off their feet !
For a moment in between, the guys disappeared from the stage, leaving us to believe that they were taking a much-needed break….only to reappear out-of-the-blue from the back of the arena, on a make-shift stage right in the middle of the crowd ! The audience loved it and everyone got their money’s worth !!!
Finally, at 10:45 pm, the boys called it a day, and bid goodbye ! But the roar of the crowds did not end there ….As we got out of the NIA and walked along the old canals of Birmingham to our parking lot, the chorus of ‘Viva la vida’ filled the air – being hummed by 1000’s of ecstatic fans heading home !
A rough set-list of the songs that were played are as below:
LIFE IN TECHNICOLOR
IN MY PLACE
SPEED OF SOUND
GOD PUT A SMILE UPON YOUR FACE
THE HAREST PART
POSTCARDS FROM FAR AWAY
VIVA LA VIDA
DEATH WILL NEVER CONQUER
LOVERS IN JAPAN
LIFE IN TECHNICOLOR II
Check out some of the videos from the concert at the links below :