Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Viva la Vida!

Last night, I went to my first (to be precise, I went to a Ben Folds & Sara Bareilles Concert during MIT's Spring Weekend, but I'm counting this as my first real one since it was outside of school) concert: Coldplay at the Shoreline Amphitheater. Needless to say, it was quite mind-blowing.

As this was my first concert, I should first note a few lessons for posterity:
  1. The main act doesn't start until a couple of hours into the show. So while I hurried to the Amphitheater after work to make the 7 p.m. start time, I needn't have. This is only true if you have reserved seats, probably not true for lawn seats. On the other hand, the opening acts weren't too bad, so it might be worth it to show up early.
  2. I forgot to bring any pocket money, but it was probably just as well. There are concessions, but they are absurdly over-priced. The only thing that was tempting was Ben & Jerry's, but at more than $5 for a scoop, it was best that I didn't have any money.
  3. You will be standing for most of the main act and probably singing along if you're a big fan. I luckily brought in a bottle of water which saved me from becoming hoarse before Viva la Vida. But I might have been better served with two bottles.
  4. It probably goes without saying, but concerts are extremely loud. They don't lend themselves well to carrying on cell phone conversations. Indeed, I often found myself grateful that I wasn't too close to the stage. I was in the 26th row and it was still quite loud.
Coldplay burst onto the stage a little before 9 p.m. playing Life in Technicolor in the dark. A few seconds in, a spectacular array of lights illuminated the stage and the band. The concert had begun!

Coldplay started off with a series of hit singles such as Violet Hill, Clocks, In My Place, and Yellow. During the latter, they released several large yellow beach balls into the audience to add to the excitement.

After the singles, Coldplay relocated to the lawn to play a couple of numbers. And then at the 10 p.m. mark, Chris Martin and Company bounded back to the stage and launched straight into Viva la Vida with a flourish. I think I'd already drained my bottle of water by this time and my voice was starting to grow hoarse. But I still sang along :)

By the end of the concert, Coldplay had played every song from the album (except Yes for some reason; I guess it wasn't concert-friendly?) and also covered Michael Jackson's Billie Jean. Chris Martin came back for an encore and played The Scientist very soulfully on the piano. And the concert ended as it had begun: playing Life in Technicolor II (the one with the words) as the band faded into darkness.

Overall, quite an amazing experience for my first concert. The band also gave away free copies of a live album LeftRightLeftRightLeft containing some of the songs they played that night (also available for free download from Coldplay's site).

I think I have the concert bug now... would love to go to a U2 concert next! :)


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