Pete's Oxfam Blog - the Autumn US leg

busybeeburns

mr coldplaying himself
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[Coldplay Oxfam Blog] What a difference a day makes



22:45, 6th November 2008. Orlando, Amway Arena. The arena empties out. Orlando Magic 98 - 88 Philadelpiha 76ers. The court in the center is shiny. Smooth under all those squeeking sneakers. Giant figures leave the court. Sweatbands are off to be rung out. Cheerleaders bound off, with white toothed smiles across their faces. Scoreboard is flashing. Disco ball is rotating. Magic’s mascot is circulating. TV crew are out doing reviews of the game for the audience at home. Charles Barkley (NBA, Suns & Sixers legend, who also used to slam dunks on my Super Nintendo in his spare time), packs his papers court-side to leave (or at least I think it was him..).

10:45, 7th November 2008. Orlando, Amway Arena. Is this the same arena? Squeeking floor nowhere to be seen. No hoops. No mascot. No crowd to cheerlead. Instead - cases. Lots of cases. Cables hanging from points high in the arena. Catwalks *(under construction). Amp stacks waiting to be lifted. Forklifts beeping. Bags full of butterfly confetti. Roadies dressed in black (beards across their faces).

22:45, 7th November 2008. As if by (Orlando) magic.. the stage is being torn down again. Coldplay have left the building.. just as those giants did. Butterflies, plastic cups and popcorn cartons are being swept. Floor chairs removed. Cables are being tied. Trucks are reversing in, being filled, and bolted shut. Oxfam volunteers gather around the last table standing. More than 550 people signed up tonight with Oxfam America. One more Coldplay show. Hundreds more Oxfammers out there. Maybe some of them will be back soon as volunteers themselves. No hand-clappers needed tonight. No cheerleaders required. Jonny, Will, Chris and Guy took the stage for ’Yellow’, clad in personalised Orlando Magic basketball tops. That was the closest we got to the night before. Those were thrown to the crowd. And we were back to a Coldplay show.

Amazing how these tours roll on. We are now back on the bus, waiting for our 5am bus call. One of the lighting guys just got on the bus.

“What’s happening in the world at large?”

“Oh, you know, just enjoying my morning in the parking lot.. in.. wherever it is we are..”

See you in the next place. Pete.

http://www.oxfamblogs.org/coldplay/?p=101
 

Carlaatje

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http://www.oxfamblogs.org/coldplay/?p=102

new bloggie!!

De-ja-voo in Atlanta.
November 11th, 2008 / No Comments » / by plusby

Right. Time to catch up. Access to the internet on tour is never as easy as it is, when switching on a computer, in the ‘comfort’ of an office block or internet cafe. Wireless internet is set up in tour production and management offices. This usually leads to a line of roadies sitting on road cases outside, or sitting on the floor around the production team. In these concrete block buildings.. that signal doesn’t travel too far. Crew rooms are usually slightly less equipped for internet, as they are for showers and couches. Ocassionally, like today. There is a crew office. Today, it sits at the back of Production. It’s a tiny little room, which randomly has mean-looking cartoon characters, wielding hockey sticks and perched on basketballs, painted on the walls. It’s a strange little place. The tour buses have a handy intermittent internet connection too. It does not cease to amaze me, that I can send an email to my friends back home in England, from a tour bus, moving along Atlanta streets to a venue.

We’re back in Atlanta’s Phillips Arena. De-ja-voo. We walked in saying “Good to see you you again” to the venue staff, as if we had worked with them for years. This is the second show of two in this building. Two shows in Florida were sandwiched in between. Last stop was Ft. Lauderdale. As a British guy used to rain and frost in November.. it was a strange experience to be outside in a t-shirt before the bus left Florida at 2am.. It turned out to be a long ride from there to Atlanta. 15 hours later, we rolled up at the hotel last night.

I wanted to talk about our amazing volunteers. Each city Coldplay goes to, a different group of Oxfam volunteers are always there. Every day, I head outside to meet them. There is always a group patiently waiting, ready to work hard for Oxfam for a few hours before they go in to see the Coldplay show. I have met all sorts of people, with all sorts of stories. It has to be one of the best parts of this job. So many of our volunteers here, tell of how they first heard about Oxfam from a Coldplay album sleeve, or shout out from the stage. One volunteer in Ft. Lauderdale summed up the feeling well..

“I wanted to do what I can to help overcome poverty around the world, and I get to see a great Coldplay show, for free. What could be better?”.

I wanted to share this link with you, from one of our volunteers in Philly a little over a week ago. His name is Logan Deck, and he made this video. Thanks Logan.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SqB5-CTanQ"]YouTube - Oxfam International[/ame]
 

busybeeburns

mr coldplaying himself
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Atlanta, Georgia (part 2)

I’m huddled in a corner behind one of the Oxfam pop-up banners by our table at the entrance to the arena. If I look up, I can see three of Oxfam’s volunteers enthusiastically passing out free badges and signing up Coldplay fans to the Oxfam America mailing list. Here come 5 more fans ready to sign on the sheets. It’s great to listen to some of the little things that happen at the stall..

“When I say ‘Cold’ .. you say ‘Play’ .. Cold - Play. Cold - Play!

When I say ‘Ox’ .. you say ‘Fam’. Ox - Fam! Ox - Fam!”

I haven’t heard that one before. But that’s the beauty of doing this in so many different places. In the background, I can hear ‘Sleepercar’ finishing up on-stage. There’s just 40 minutes until the main attraction hits the stage. These arenas are strange places to work. So hollow during most of the day.. slowly building up a buzz as the sound checks get started, and the hazers keep spraying.. but when the doors open, it’s like working in a busy mall or station. Thousands of people wander about, filling the place up. Some wander aimlessly .. wondering where to buy a pretzel.. eyes glazed.. others stare at the merchandise for a silly amount of time. Some stop by our booth and sign up. Some rush to their seat and wait patiently, not daring to move, in case they miss something. Then there are the ones that miss all that and run in right before the set and skip the aimless/purposeful wandering.

They all have a couple of things in common. They all love Coldplay, and they all have the power to make a difference to the world. Oxfam does amazing work to overcome poverty. We are here to help people see how they can help. How their actions collectively can save lives. The more people who get involved, the more Oxfam can do.

I just have to say.. there’s a bit of competition going on. The stall next to ours is renting out binoculars for those people in the noseblead seats (*the ones up high). Seriously. Ours is a way more exciting stall. No offense.

Anyway, back to the show. I have to run and get the volunteers tickets, so i’d better go. Hoping for a smooth trip tonight.. Atlanta - Kansas City. Wow. We’re covering some ground.

Back in production.. 10 minutes to stage time. I can hear Chris Martin in the next room warming up his voice..

http://www.oxfamblogs.org/coldplay/?p=103
 

busybeeburns

mr coldplaying himself
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Inspiration.

Destination Kansas City. We rolled up at the Sprint Center, Kansas City today. Some of these arenas have quite grand and strange designs. This one struck me that if you shone some flashlights on it, it would become a crystal ball. At the moment though, it just looks a bit like a glittering fruit bowl you might find in a certain Swedish megastore..

It was another mammoth drive yesterday. I sympathise for the truck and bus drivers when we do long-hauls like that. It’s an incredible country to tour. You drive for as long as it would take to cross the whole of some large countries, just to get to the next city. Weird when you start to see 7 or 8 hours as a ’short drive’.

Today we are on the first of 2 in a row. We have 9 more shows out here before we tread back across the pond. Strange to think that Coldplay have only done one show so far in their home country.. When we have done over 50 already this year.

Back in Atlanta, we had a great night with Oxfam. The volunteer group really stuck together and worked as a team. All of them seeming over the moon to be helping Oxfam and eagerly anticipating their free Coldplay show. They all got the chance to see Chris Martin perform ‘Green Eyes’ for the first time in the whole tour. A good treat for their efforts. I think there is a chance of some more set changes soon with the release of ‘Prospekts March’.

So what inspires us to get involved? Coldplay have certainly inspired thousands, possibly millions of people to get involved with Oxfam’s work to overcome poverty. I wonder how many more bars of Fairtrade chocolate have been eaten, since the start of the Make Trade Fair Campaign. How many people have switched to Fairtrade coffee. How many people have helped train a teacher through an Oxfam Unwrapped gift.

I have been inspired by all sorts of things. Seeing people come together to call for change. Listening to Eddie Izzard narrate a recycling advert. Adding my face to the Control Arms ‘Million Faces’ petition. Seeing over 101’000 people at UK festivals in 2007, sign up to an Oxfam campaign to combat Climate Change. Running marathons surrounded by people raising money for charity by running 26.2 miles. Listening to family and friends debating presidential candidates. Working in rural Madagascar, to help build school benches and collecting drinking water from rivers. Whatever inspires us, whether it be a symbol on a piano on a Coldplay stage, seeing an advert on TV, talking to a relative, joining a petition online, speaking to an Oxfam campaigner.. Small actions change lives. Be moved. Be involved. Because you’ve got power, and it’s time for justice.

http://www.oxfamblogs.org/coldplay/?p=104
 

busybeeburns

mr coldplaying himself
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Chris Martin is talking and the crowd are cheering.

It must be such a strange thing to be in that position. I’m sure most of you have been at a concert before, where the lead singer stops between songs to talk to the crowd. Due to the buzz of 15′000 (or however many thousand people), and the fuzz of a microphone.. it can all become a bit of a blur. Now Chris Martin is a very clearly spoken fella. I understand the things he says from stage, a whole lot better than some artists I have seen slurring into the mic. No slurring for Coldplay at all. Still. I never catch it all. It always amuses me when a singer stops to speak and everyone just cheers anyway. When they stop talking, it’s like the crowd collectively thinks (*oh.. erm.. it’s our turn to say something.. umm.. what should we say?.. umm.. WHOOOP! YEAH! (or just a general screaming noise of appreciation). You know who you are. I’m not saying I mind it. Quite the opposite. I mean it’s not like the band can stop the momentum and have a talking shop about how everyone is finding it so far.. no round tables, no half time analysis. No time for discussions in the Coldplay show. So no wonder, the general feeling of

“Yes. We’re fine thanks. Doing great. Loving it in fact.” (becomes a general roaring cheering noise. I doubt the band mind that at all. In fact. It’s probably exactly what they are looking for.

It does just make me wonder, whether a singer could try to mumble something random and see if people were listening.. like.. “does everyone here hate giraffes?” Would they still get a cheer? I hope not. Surely at least some people would be exaggerating by cheering. Crikey. I’m going way off track. Apologies for my ramble.

Coldplay just played ‘Green Eyes’ again followed by ‘Postcards from far away’. Two nights in a row. It seems to be going down well. They also stuck in ‘Glass of Water’ from ‘Prospekts March’ earlier, for what I think was the first time, since Albert Hammond Jr joined them for it in Belgium. It’s a great song. I hope we will be hearing more of it from now on. The cheering continues right now. They just finished off ‘Viva’ and ‘Lost!’ and are now heading out to the ‘C-stage’ to change where the lucky front row seat holders are. Just for a little while.

I met a great bunch of people tonight. The crowd coming through. A couple of very kind Coldplayers. 18 awesome volunteers from the Oxfam Kansas City Action group. It’s a first experience of volunteering for a lot of them. They kept going to the end. So great to meet so many people keen to make a difference with their Thursday night. Wait a minute.. is it Thursday? I’ve forgotten. That’s not good. Tour days blurring into one again. Travel days disappearing before my eyes..

It’s a starting point for so many fans. The first chance to learn what Oxfam actually stands for. What we do. Why we’re here. That’s so valuable. Hopefully it will grow into so much more. When people are done cheering from the seats, hopefully they will go home and sign petitions, donate, buy a goat, drink some tea.. Fairtrade of course.

From Pete. (Oxfam Coordinator. Blogger. Roadie #31. Person who likes giraffes.)

http://www.oxfamblogs.org/coldplay/?p=105
 

busybeeburns

mr coldplaying himself
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St. Paul. MN.

It is cold. My hands are feeling all crinkly. I went outside in a t-shirt earlier and regretted it. We are a long way from the Florida sun that shone on our tour buses a few days ago. The confetti canons have just blown butterflies over a crowd of 14’500.. From where I’m sitting, at the Oxfam stall, I can see a few of them fluttering down, when someone opens the curtain to go through to their seat. When it’s closed, I just see the glow of the lights, in time with Will Champion’s kick pedal foot.

Our amazing group of volunteers will be back from their amazing seats, any second now. They all sat together behind the mix desk tonight. I’m sure the show, and sound there, was the best anywhere in the arena. Great seats..

Great effort with the campaigning too. Over 630 more people signed up to find out more about how they can join Oxfam in fighting poverty, and countless more who will maybe see the Oxfam sphere or click a mouse button and read online. Even more great.. is the actions they can all take now - signing a petition to call for health and education for all, or by setting up a college group to become more active in fighting poverty..

The crowd are cheering for the encore now. I think the arena is going to be filled with a certain colour very soon. Some of these people leaving early to beat the traffic will probably run back inside too when they hear it start. Seems like the band have had a great time tonight. Loving every minute of this tour which winds it’s way across America once more.

Peoples footsteps are already dragging those poor butterflies out onto the street. They really do get everywhere.

Here come the masses.. Leaving the venue like it’s on fire. It never ceases to amaze me how fast these places empty.. I don’t just mean the crowd either. 14’500 fans. 4 band members. Band party. 55 crew. 12 trucks (and all their contents). 5 tour buses (and all their roadies). Venue staff.. Security.. Load out has already begun inside. Up here.. It’s a bit like a busy road or a flooding stream. I mean, if you stop, you have to work pretty hard at not looking like a salmon..

I’m going to go with the flow tonight. Hop on the bus. 12 hours later.. Fingers crossed.. We will be in Oklahoma City. Never been there on a Saturday. There’s a first time for everything.

http://www.oxfamblogs.org/coldplay/?p=106
 

melanieau

Livin' life in Technicolor
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PETE'S BIRTHDAY!

Today is Pete's birthday!

Happy Birthday, Pete!


Hope you get a record number of signatures tonight in OKC as a present!
 

Christa42

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Happy Birthday to You Pete! Enjoy the day.
 

EnglishSilk

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Happy Birthday, Pete,

It was lovely meeting you last night!

Thank you for all your dedicated work through Oxfam and keeping the cause alive!

-Karen
(bless you for forwarding my note ; )
 

busybeeburns

mr coldplaying himself
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Here’s one I prepared earlier, from ‘OK’ City.

Here’s one I prepared earlier, from ‘OK’ City.
Good old fashioned pen and paper. How refreshing it can be. I’m scribbling away in the dark, next to stage right ‘guitar world’. Writing on the back of a Coldplay setlist, and leaning on an Oxfam ’Health and Education FOR ALL’ campaign booklet, on top of a road case..

I just saw Chris Martin run out to the front of the Coldplay stage, to bounce with the packed audience to ‘Viva La Vida’. There was a deafening roar when those strings kicked in. Now, if I look to my left, up the steps, there is Jonny, Will and Guy, starting up the thundering beat of ‘Lost!’. Two of the roadies just walked past me, carrying a small flight of stairs.. I guess the band will be leaving the stage soon, for an arena tour, here in Oklahoma City. Now the screaming begins, as they make their way through a mixture of bemused and excited fans. Here come those roadies again, with that flight of stairs.

The wonders of pen and paper, go way beyond my blog. Earlier, hundreds more Coldplay fans, penned their names, and gave their voices, to finding out what they can do to help fight poverty, with Oxfam. It’s a simple format. Marks of ink. But it’s a start. A way to get involved. To do what you can, at a concert - as part of this amazing night. Well over 50′000 people have done just that, on this tour so far. There were also a few hundred in Rotterdam, who typed their names to join Oxfam Novib’s ‘Hug-a-nurse’ campaign, on high-tech computers.

Jonny’s guitar tech, just wandered past me, with his ‘Politik’ guitar. It’s a quiet part of the set for him. He’s now disappeared back into the dark underworld of guitars beneath the stage. The band just rushed past me through the corridor, flanked by security, on their way back to the OK City stage. This road case i’m perched on, is shaking with the vibrations of the ‘Viva’ remix beat. I’d better get off it, before ‘Politik’ starts!

The local crew, are already congregating backstage, ready to transform the venue and remove all these cases. They are all signing in, one-by-one, with pen and paper, of course. There’s that ‘Politik’ drum beat.. I’m off back upstairs to the Oxfam booth, to check we have enough pens..

Two other pen and paper incidents I should mention. Someone made an amazing cheque donation to Oxfam tonight.. and Karen gave me a hand-written note on the corner of her Coldplay banner, to give to the band, to thank them for playing ’The Hardest Part’ for her.

After the show, I celebrated the night, by exploring OK City with ’Team Jenn’ from the Oxfam group. They did a great job organising the volunteers tonight. So it’s only right to celebrate. So there you have it. The only problem with blogging on a piece of paper first, is that it causes a delay. But if you’re happy to wait.. then that’s ‘OK’.

http://www.oxfamblogs.org/coldplay/?p=107
 
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