I finally get to see my favorite band in concert!
On September 3rd, 2005, I made a journey to the PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey to see a concert I had been waiting years to be a part of. I've spent untold hours singing along with Coldplay while working on my computer or studying. Now I finally had the chance to sing along with Chris Martin in person. With the ticket costing a meager thirty-one bucks for a spot on the lawn, I was expecting a good time. I'd seen the Coldplay Live 2003 DVD, so I thought I knew what I was in for. Boy, was I ever wrong. Calling that concert a good time would be the understatement of the century. That concert was flat-out amazing, spectacular - pick your word. Just indescribably incredible. It ranks number two as a life experience, only behind watching "Can You Feel It?" live on the Target Center scoreboard during a Timberwolves playoff game.
There are pro's and con's to hitting up the lawn for a concert at PNC Bank Arts Center. The pro's are that it's cost-effective, and it's still close enough that you get a decent view of the stage. The big con is that you don't have an assigned seat, so you'd better get there early if you want a prime spot. My compadre, Maria, and I arrived at 5:00 for the 7:30 show and were one the first in line. A big plus in all of this is that the first 300 people through the gates get a free lawn chair rental. I went in thinking that the lawn was actually going to be a lawn, so I figured that sitting on the grass would be simpler than bringing a lawn chair or blanket into the place. Of course the lawn is more like the giant hill of mud with some seed and the occasional blade grass. So needless to say, saving the five bucks a pop on chairs was a sweet deal.
Tickets for the Twisted Logic Tour were remarkably cheap. What nobody realized is that with every admission came the added cost of suffering through the opening band, Rilo Kiley. As amazing as Coldplay is, that's how amazingly awful Rilo Kiley is. Not only was the music terrible, every song or two they would stop and say "Thank you. We're Rilo Kiley!" Apparently, they're as well-spoken as they are well-played. Seriously, they'd say this every seven minutes or so, like we were illiterate and couldn't read the giant "Rilo Kiley" sign that we'd been staring at on the stage for the past two hours. Props to Coldplay though for finding the worst opening act possible. It just made it even more clear that we were watching musical geniuses when the real show started.
Coldplay opened with Square One, making the place go nuts when Chris belted out "You're in control is there anywhere you want to go..." There was also this really cool countdown to when they kick it up a notch at "From the top of the first page...". Then they performed Politik, which just may be the most amazing live song ever written. It's just a spectacular song with the way it begins with the banging and just evolves into something even larger and more beautiful as it goes on.
Next up was Yellow, which was a perfect song for the start of the concert. I don't know about you, but I can feel pretty self-conscious when surrounded by complete strangers and you're faced with task of walking the fine line between moving around and singing to the point where you get made fun of and just standing there and looking like a complete stiff. But Yellow erased all that self-consciousness. The song is just one giant sing-a-long. It was in awe for the first two songs, but Yellow really got me into the flow of the concert. They dropped a bunch of Yellow beach balls during it too, which of course made their way onto the stage since no one could pass up the opportunity to nail Chris Martin the face while he's defenselessly holding onto his guitar.
They made their way through their big songs like Speed of Sound, and The Scientist. By the way, another amazing thing about Coldplay is how often Chris Martin messes up on the piano. It's hilarious. Besides the fact that he always has a good joke to cover it up, it really shows who these guys are. They're not rock-stars that take themselves too seriously and think they're a level above everyone else. They're regular goofballs like you and me, and they know it. Chris totally messed up the beginning of Amsterdam, which I think he struggles with since he did the same thing on their Live in Paris recording. And it took him two tries to get The Scientist going, culminating in some bangs of frustration mid-way through the intro. Good times. Of course the man does have some skillz, evidenced by the way he and his partners tore through Clocks. That song is amazing in itself, but then they ended it by getting progressively faster and faster till they were going like sixteen times faster than when they started. Clocks takes quick fingers to play at normal speed, it just boggles my mind how they were able to play it at such an incredible speed. I can't even describe it, you just have to hear it.
About the only beef I had with the concert is that it came to a close. When Chris announced in the middle of Talk that it would be their last song, it saddened me to think I'd have to wait a few years until I was back here again. Of course, there were still three encore songs left. What If proved to be an amazing concert song, with everyone singing along. Of course many people around us were taking the lines "let's take a breath, try to hold it inside" and "how can you know it if you don't even try" a little too literally, seeing as the ganja was being lit at an alarming rate. In My Place was followed by Fix You, and taking a cue from Seth Cohen, I used this stunning ballad as the backdrop for asking Maria to be my girlfriend. She accepted of course. (Who wouldn't?) So from now on that Woman Application is for entertainment purposes only.
What did I tell you? All in all an indescribably incredible evening. Coldplay was quickly gaining on U2 for that spot as my number one band. That concert may have just put them over the top. I'll let you know how Bono fights back on December 7th, when I see him in Hartford.