Nov 19, 2012

The night we froze watching Coldplay play - Nov 18 2012, Sydney

Coldplay in Sydney 2012 Nov 18

Before last night, I was a pop/rock concert virgin. Acts hardly come to Malaysia and when they do, the tickets costs a fortune. I've been to musicals, watched some acts in a more intimate concert hall setting courtesy of my work, but I had never watched a concert with a throng of people.

I told hubby such as we were munching on our Subway sandwiches at a bench outside the stadium while waiting to get in to watch Coldplay. "Really?" he said (he has been to a few) "No wonder you are overdressed."  Heh, I was in a long dress while everyone else was in jeans.

So yesterday I learnt...

1) that a drummer's sticks can move so fast they would blurr like a recorded movie on fast forward

2) that concerts tend to start late no matter what time the 'doors open'. A few days before the event, we got an email to say that Coldplay would come on at 8.30. I prayed they would start on time at least, and they did. We had left our kids with a friend, so we had to get back at a not too unearthly hour. "They should make matinee shows for concerts," I grumbled to Hubs, who laughed at me.

3) what 50,000 people sound like when they sing as one.

4) that you risk getting rained on! Didn't occur to me that a stadium venue meant open air. The forecast for the day was some light showers. "Should we buy some ponchos?" I asked Hubs. He shrugged and crossed his fingers. As we looked up in the sky at 8pm, I saw lightning in the sky! Strong winds blew the clouds away, and then the winds changed direction and brought the clouds back to us. At around 9pm, I heard Hubs say the fateful words: "I felt a drop." But I prayed that the winds would continue to blow the clouds away, and so they did.

"In the land of snakes and poisonous spiders and crocodiles, a little rain is nothing right?" said Chris Martin. "We're not going to let it bother us, so don't let it bother you."

5) that although it's nearly summer and the day was a hot sunny day, the night in a windy stadium can feel like winter all over again. Yes, I was 'overdressed', but we were also both 'under-dressed'. Hubs, who has virtually no insulation on his body, shivered. Thank God it didn't rain, or we would have ended up icicles.

6) that logistics with 50,000 people can be a nightmare. We got there around 6.30pm but the main two car parks for the event were full and closed. As I prayed for parking, we followed the crowd to a third private car park and managed to secure a space on the rooftop. Another 15 minutes, and that would have been full too.

As for the concert, it was fab. I marvelled at how good the sound system was, Chris Martin's voice rang out clear and easily subdued the voices of the throng.

The effects made it surreal at times. Flourescent giant balls were released into the crowd and bounced gracefully about. A jet sprayed confetti in the air, and the strong gusts of wind picked them up. It was snowing confetti but the snow didn't fall, instead the wind swirled them in a mini tornado pattern above us. "It feels like I'm in a music video," I said to Hubs.

Coldplay in Sydney 2012 Nov 18

A little over an hour into the concert, the band suddenly said, "Thank you for giving us the best jobs in the world!" and dissapeared, then the lights went off. Five minutes later, they reappeared in the midst of the crowd on a small platform, just big enough for standing space for the four of them. From a speck in the distance, they were so close now, it seemed like I could almost reach out and touch them. They played two songs, with no pizzazz, no fireworks or laser lights, no screens animating in rhythm with the music - just them and their instruments. It felt more intimate, and if you squinted and visually drowned out the rest of the venue, they seemed just like a band playing in a small bar.

Coldplay's songs are not music writing genius - the magic lies in the rendition and not just anyone can cover a Coldplay song without it sounding like a disgusting, sanitised version.We planned to leave early, because we wanted to avoid the crowd and because we had parked some 20 minutes walk away. I wanted to hear Fix You but it is one of their most popular songs, and one they would leave to the end so I didn't set much hope but hoped nonetheless. At 10.05pm, I said to Hubs, "Five minutes more and we go..." Time for one last song. My heart leapt when they played Fix You!

All in all, a very blessed night. Now, if only it wasn't so cold!

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