The concert was freakin' awesome and soooooo worth the hour-long drive to Manchester, NH. The venue was an indoor arena (one of those spaces that can be a basketball court, hockey rink, or concert stage), and we had seats in the 26th row back on the floor, which meant that we were quite close to the stage.
The opening act was Richard Ashcroft of the now-broken-up The Verve. I had never heard of him or any of his songs until the last one: "Bitter Sweet Symphony." He was all British and cussy, which makes me happy. Definitely a good opening band.
And Coldplay...where to start?! First of all, they played almost all of the songs I wanted to hear, which totally surprised me, because I wasn't expecting to hear songs off of Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head. "Yellow" was the third song they played, and I practically died of happiness. That was THE ONE SONG I was dying to hear, and I fully expected that I wouldn't. I thought maybe, maybe as an encore, because it was hugely popular and Coldplay's first big hit. But I wasn't holding my breath. As a result, I was shocked when it was the third song they played. As pretty much anyone who is taking the time to read this knows, Coldplay (and JKR, of course) is the influence behind my HP WIP fanfic baby, "Yellow". "Yellow" (the song) is what finally prompted me to truly delve into fanfic, because the song was just speaking so strongly to me about Sirius's feelings (not slash) towards Harry and what Sirius endured throughout PoA. So it has this huge special place in my heart. And hearing it live was LOVELOVELOVE! Then, towards the end of the song, these humongous yellow balloons came down from the ceiling. They had this gold glittery stuff in them, so when the band started popping them, this golden confetti sprayed up in the air. It was AWESOME.
Here's a list of the songs that I recall them playing (not necessarily in this order, though; songs in bold were on my I-will-be-ecstatic-if-they-play-these list): Square One, Yellow, Beautiful World, What If, The Scientist, Speed of Sound, Till Kingdom Come (which Chris Martin apparently wrote for Johnny Cash, but then Johnny Cash died, so Coldplay recorded it instead), Ring of Fire (by Johnny Cash), White Shadows, Trouble, Clocks, and Talk. Then they encored three songs: Swallowed in the Sea, In My Place, and Fix You.
They also played two or three songs I didn't recognize, but were really good anyway.
The encore was awesome, because right as the band was leaving before the encore, I turned to my husband and said, "There are two more songs I'm dying to hear." The first one I had in mind was "Swallowed in the Sea," so when the band launched right into it after coming back out, I felt so triumphant. The other song was "The Hardest Part," which they didn't play, but I had completely forgotten about "Fix You" (shame on me!), so that more than made up for it.
Coldplay is like my Harry Potter band. "Yellow," obviously, is huge for me. But around the same time I got the "Yellow" plot bunny, I had an idea for a Remus/Sirius PoA-era fic inspired by "The Scientist." I actually have it somewhat outlined, but haven't had the time or energy to get to it yet; I can barely deal with writing "Yellow," what with all this crack!fic I've been contending with lately. Then, a month or two later, I got an idea for an LLAL ("Lay Low at Lupin's"--or, more correctly in this case, the slash version: "Laid Low at Lupin's") fic based on "Till Kingdom Come." And then at the concert, "Talk" was starting to put ideas of a Sirius-and-Regulus (not slash) fic in my mind.
One really cool thing: Coldplay doesn't just play; they perform. Chris Martin is so amazing. He loves to jump and run around on stage, and you can tell he's just really into the music and having a total blast. On a couple of occasions, he threw some stuff into the audience, although I'm not sure just what that stuff was. He also was so good at interacting with the audience. From the beginning, he was impeccably polite (e.g., raving about not expecting the crowd to be so lively, especially on a Monday night; expressing his gratefulness that people came a long way from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine), and he often asked us how we were doing. And he loved to turn the mike around and let the audience sing parts of the songs. I loved that, because it made the whole thing feel so communal.
In fact, one of my biggest raves about this concert was the fact that it was an experience rather than just a concert. Although the venue was fairly large, Chris Martin's showmanship made it feel so intimate. (It also helped that we were fairly close in.) Moreover, the visual effects were completely stunning. For example, the yellow balloons that came down during "Yellow" were so cool. During other parts of the show, there were these pulsing laser beams, funkified backdrop video footage showing closeups of the band members as they sang, rotating red lights, and stars that seemed to come out at you like at a planetarium. During "The Scientist," the backdrop showed video footage from this film that I saw in science class back in elementary school called Powers of Ten, where you start with a view of the galaxy, and then the scale of the image decreases by powers of ten so that you see images such as the earth, a neighborhood, an individual house, a person, the person's hand, the skin on the person's hand, etc., down to the cellular level. I was like, "OMG, dude, that's the film I saw in 6th-grade science class. NO WAY!" And during "Swallowed in the Sea," handwritten lyrics from that song and from the general song list for X & Y were projected around the entire venue. It was like we were swimming in a sea of the lyrics. Totally awesome.
So yeah, all the visual effects, Chris Martin's stage presence, the really lively audience, and Chris Martin's encouragement of audience participaton (which I am no longer shy about) made the concert a truly fantastic experience for me.
And now I want to play the guitar even more.
The only complaint I have is that the acoustics were rather crappy in the venue. But Coldplay's performanceship and general all-around awesomeness more than made up for it.
One kind of strange thing was that someone actually had the audacity to smoke pot at the concert! Twice! I mean, I don't really care--do what you want--but since it was an indoor venue with ushers patrolling everywhere, you'd think that people would be worried about getting caught. Or are concerts considered a safe haven for the MJ? Then again, the ushers were pretty damn ineffectual. One of the rules of the venue was "no cameras other than the disposable variety," but practically everyone was taking pictures. I'm so glad I brought our digital camera into the venue (and wasn't caught doing so), because my husband got some great shots that I will most definitely post here on LJ. (Incidentally, speaking of photos, I haven't forgotten about the London and Edinburgh photos. Dealing with them and writing up my travelblog are two of the middling-to-top priorities on my to-do list.)
So that's pretty much it. The tickets were the bestest birthday present ever!
*is very very very happy*