Shearwater vocalist Jonathan Meiburg on Coldplay: It wasn’t like playing with another band; it was l


If we could float away...
Feb 19, 2003

Gazette: I have to ask you about Coldplay ... I’ve been curious ever since you opened those shows for them how the experience was for you, and whether you took anything away from that, in terms of what you were just saying about lessons of what to do or what not to do as a band.

Meiburg: (Laughs)

Gazette: And I’m not trying to get you into trouble with that question.

Meiburg: No, no. That experience was kind of bizarre and wonderful. It was only four shows, so it was over in the blink of an eye. I’m happy to say that I have nothing bad to say about Coldplay, the band or the members of the band. They were all very, very kind to us and took time to come and talk to us, and acknowledged us far more than they needed to. And it was a blast to play for rooms that size. But I also felt completely out of my element. I mean, I couldn’t possibly have felt more out of my element. (Laughs) The last show was in Las Vegas, and around the third song, I thought, “I bet they’ll cheer if I yell ‘Hello Las Vegas!’ ” So I yelled “Hello Las Vegas” and for the only time in my life, 20,000 people went “Aaaah!” It was amazing. I thought, “This is the kind of magic that would require a lot of training to wield properly.” Even watching Coldplay try to do it, they had to work really, really hard to put on the kind of show that entertains 20,000 people for two hours.

Gazette: It’s a good thing you got the name of the city right when you yelled “hello.”

Meiburg: (Laughs) No, there was no mistaking it. I mean, Las Vegas ... But it was fascinating – pulling our little van up into the belly of these giant arenas, with us and all our gear in it, and parking it next to the six semi-trucks and five tour buses and enormous crew that was the Coldplay thing. It wasn’t like playing with another band; it was like joining the circus.

Gazette: Can you ever see a day when you either think or hope Shearwater can get to that level?

Meiburg: That would be great. Given the kinds of records that we’re making right now, I sort of doubt it. But you know, if we ever ended up there, it would be a fun place to be. And I’d have figured out how to do it by then. I’d really like to be able to play venues where reliably the sound was going to be really good and where everybody was going to go to bed just a little bit earlier. (Laughs) That’s about the scope of my ambition. But among other things, I felt like the Coldplay guys seemed to be under enormous pressure. I mean, it was the very start of their tour, that record hadn’t been the big success that it became yet ... they just seemed nervous as hell. They had to sort of save EMI with that record. And they did! At least temporarily. But that’s a hell of a responsibility to have put on your shoulders.

Gazette: Did you feel nervous yourselves, doing those shows?

Meiburg: I feel incredibly nervous at every show, no matter what size it is, and it’s always just about the same. Those shows were funny in that when they turn the lights out and you walk up the ramp to play, the audience goes nuts, because at big shows that’s what happens. If anything happens, the audience cheers. But they think that you’re Coldplay. You have those five seconds in the dark as you’re walking out onto the stage and you’re getting all Chris Martin’s applause. And it’s a pretty great feeling, I’ve got to say. (Laughs) But then the lights come up and you hear “Aaaaah!” (drops off) It just dies away and they’re standing there looking at you, and you start playing your songs. So most gigs don’t start out with that. But beyond that, stage fright is stage fright is stage fright, I’m happy and I’m unhappy to say.

Full interview here:


New Coldplayer
Apr 6, 2003
Somebody saying nice things about Coldplay? Wonders will never cease!:stunned:


Apr 21, 2008
Aw, nice interview, although here we are nearly two years later and EMI's troubles are still rumbling on. I guess things would be a lot worse for them without the Viva money