Say what you will about Coldplay’s debatably androgynous nature, their occasionally pedestrian lyrics, or their in-your-face political activism, but the group knows how to put on a live show. The varied setlist, engaging light shows, and generous fan interactions make their concerts worth the price of admission. Their style of music is well-suited to live performances, with the instrumentation shining (if instrumentation can do such a thing) and the vocals distinct enough from the studio recordings to give each song new appeal. Still, that doesn’t excuse the legions of howling fans whose lives appear to rise and fall at Chris Martin’s whim. There’s simply no reason to get fanatical about seeing a band of British men playing rock tunes, despite the impact their music could potentially have on someone’s existence. For what it’s worth, the band is undeniably hairier and sweatier in person.
Having established the above, it is my experience that Coldplay recognizes that those people way back on the lawn deserve as much attention as those who opted for more expensive tickets. At the venue I attended, they had three separate stages and visited each one, giving everyone time to fawn over their guitar plucking. When we first entered, we had unknowingly chosen a spot near one of the remote stages and did not have to move when the musicians ventured into the crowd. This gave us an excellent view of both the singers and the lunacy that ensued.
As uncompelling as hysterical fans are, so are poorly-chosen opening bands. We had the privilege of hearing a band named Kitty, Daisy and Lewis and some band from Mali, Africa. I won’t be too critical but it was not a very enjoyable experience listening to their “unique” sounds for nearly two hours. Those who have had the privilege of seeing Pete Yorn open for Coldplay have certainly received a better bargain. Still, the main event more than made up for the prolonged wait.
Below are some pictures I took at the event, often between the outstretched arms of aggressive spectators. I was within them, but not one of them.