A comprehensive review of Coldplay's concert at the Home Depot Center, Carson, CA (18th July 2009) has emerged online at the Coldplay Live forum, courtesy of DaveLev:
Getting to the event was a snap. Left our home at 5:30, got some fast food, pulled up to Home Depot Center at 6 PM, paid $20 to park, and was only one of about 100 cars in the whole place. Walked up to Northeast gate, and waited another 20 minutes or so. The gates did NOT open at 6 PM due to 'production' issues. I later found out it was because the first band did not do their sound check earlier in the after noon (unverified).
Once gates opened, people were scanned through metal detectors. This is Compton, so makes sense. Logistics were not so good for getting into the pit area. You showed your ticket to walk down the stairs (but only in a designated area - there were two walkways for GA ticket users). You then showed your ticket at the bottom of the stairs. Then you walked along the field sidelines through another 3 sets of guards, showing each one your ticket. At the third, they hole-punched your ticket in order to get a wristband. Once you had a wristband, you could enter the GA area, which, by the way was ENORMOUS.
There was a metal barracade surrounding the stage and the rest of the field. It had seats on it, but you weren't allowed to sit. I was in the pit by 6:30 PM, and it was maybe 5 people deep to the stage.
Once in the pit area - or anywhere else - you had to wait for the first band a long time. They only appeared to have one roadie - this cowboy-looking guy doing all the work. 7:30 or so they started, also late. Kitty, Daisy, & Lewis was the band name, I believe. They rocked out hard - very eclectic pop-rock-ska-reggee-polynesian band. Attractive group of younger folks - except one guitarist and the gal on double-bass. They needed to at least smile, which they didn't do often, but they rocked out hard. They looked stress - presumably for starting late, missing their soundcheck, or ?? They had a collection of cool instruments. I would estimate that there were only 3,000 people in the stadium by the time they were done. The croud stunk - I was the only one dancing or clapping in the pit area that I could see - gotta show your support, even if they suck. This is an LA croud, though - everyone with cell phones, video devices, or cameras standing around, not clapping, etc. I feel compassion towards them - they had a stinky croud to perform for, which probably contributed to their overall stressed-out look. They played for at least 30 minutes. Their roadies cleared them out. The pit was still relatively empty, all things considered.
Next up was Amadou & Mariam. They had a full set of roadies, and lighting effects were used during their act. Amadou & Mariam are blind, and they were escorted out by their band and a roadie. They were a funky reggee-rock-hop band from Jamaica or something. They had 2 drummers, a bassist, Amadou playing guitar, & Mariam singing vocals. They also had a pair of backup singers/dancers that performed for the whole show, which added to the excitement. They were vibrant and energetic. The bassist was a semi-cheerleader for the band. Their songs were long - over 5 minutes each. They naturally got a lot more applause just from having two attractive female dancers during their entire act. They were a lot of fun, but again, LA audiences suck - most people stood with their video/camera devices out, holding them in front of other peoples' faces, not applausing, not clapping along, not dancing, and showing the band little to no support. Many near us in the front were just standing around, looking down at their blackberries texting. They got an occassional 'woohoo', most likely for the backup dancers. They rocked out hard. The lighting was good, and added to the thrill. They had some sound problems - minor - the bass was hitting too hard and flushing out the vocals. The sun was finally going down, and it was beginning to get dark in the stadium. The audience grew to probably 5,000 at the most during their set, which I would say was about 45 minutes long. When finished, they cleared out quickly, and the roadies went to work for coldplay. The pit was still relatively empty, maybe 10 people deep front and center.
Side note: I was surprised to see so many petite 5 foot tall women and numerous children (12-15 years old max) in the pit area. They wouldn't be able to see. I stood behind a guy who was 6' 4" or so, and I'm 6' 2", so it worked out for me. We appeared to be the only really tall people in the pit.
There was about a 30 minute delay until Coldplay came on. There was a guy sweeping the stage that started to breakdance to the background music that was playing...that was cool. Next a classical music song came on, and a gal let us swaying our arms left and right. That was fun...audience was growing at that point, as people began arriving. The only seats I could see that appeared empty were the ones behind the stage, behind the speaker towers in the back, and some of the 'vip' seats. Most of the VIP suites were empty. In one of them, though, they had the television on during the show - was funny to see. Someone was watching TV during a live show! Then the lights went out, which caused the pit to swell. People dropped their beers and ran towards the stage from wherever they were in the pit area. We moved 10 feet closer to the stage, elbow to elbow instantly.
Coldplay started. They rocked it hard. Again, most of the 'fans' in the pit area were holding cell phones or video cameras up in your face the whole show, not clapping, singing along, or dancing. One could not tell if they were having a good time at all. There were a few of us couples there in the pit having a great time with our spouses. The rest looked like they won the tickets, but didn't really care to be there. Several people were trying to shove others out of their way to 'get to their friends at the front'. Combine that with holding bright cell phones in your face, and when they're not holding it in front of you, they're texting their friends, checking email, posting to blogs, etc...but not smiling or looking like they're having a good time whatsoever.
I was at the LA show last year at the Forum. Compared to that, this show was more polished, however, last year they had more energy, which translates to a happier audience, and the pace/speed was faster last year. I think there were 3-5 more songs last year, too. Like last year, Chris screwed up on two-three songs (he admitted this). He praised the LA crowds numerous times, and made references to those sitting in the back during Fix You '12 miles from the band...at a coldplay show'. I felt sorry for them in the back - they looked like ants they were so small. The band felt sorry two, and headed back there to do a set. While there, they did a cell-phone 'wave' - too hard to explain. Looked cool, but further encouraged the use of mobile devices during their show.
Lighting was great - the digital orbs/balls, the upper truss of lights bobbing up and down, the lasers, smoke, digital displays, and projectors all in top order. Spotlights had some problems - not sure why. Chris said the 'f' word, aka "f-bomb" numerous times during the show, usually after his mistakes. There were a lot of kids there - we saw families in line with blankets for the grass, plus those we saw in the pit.
Sound was very good, with the bass hitting a little too hard. Here's what I mean: when you strike a note on the bass guitar, it sounds great. When they were strung back to back, the speakers didn't have time to relax, so it sounded washed-out. Microphone volumes were best for coldplay compared to the others - you could clearly hear him. They had trouble with Will's mike twice.
The bassist seldom smiled - looked like he was concentraiting or this had come routine. He did wave to us in the pit a few times as they walked off three times. It was a killer show. Obliviously, I wish the audience didn't suck as bad as they did, but, this is Los Angeles, and respect for others is not taught to the youth.
Again, compared to last year's show at the forum, this one seemed more 'canned' or 'routine'. They have been touring for over a year now, so that's justifiable. I really enjoyed their set - was terrific, even if I was one of the few who were chanting, clapping, and dancing. The confettii was a big hit, as always. During the break between encores, they came out with leaf blowers to attempt to clear them off. Didn't work so well, except on keyboard and drums. The breeze was to the south - right towards the stage.
Once the lights came up, you could see the audience scramble for their cars. Took us 10 minutes to get from pit to car. They gave away free LeftRightLeftRight CDs on the way out, which was nice. Once to my car, it took 50 minutes to get out of the parking lot. That sucked. Logistics were terrible - rent-a-cops, campus police, and sheriff's office all trying to help get people out. Mad house.
Once out, I took a side street to the 91 west (which was empty at 12:30 - 85 MPH easy), and shot down artesia blvd to Denny's. While there, we ate, and on our way out, saw a group of folks with wristbands from the show. They were just arriving, and they said they were in the parking lot trying to get out for over an hour and a half. That's terrible. Lessons learned: arrive even earlier, and park on the street. Side streets were blocked off and guarded - you couldn't park there.
We had a very good time. I wish LA crouds did not suck the way they do, both for the sake of those attending, and more importantly, for the band themselves. Kind of hard to clap and dance when you're afraid of ruining your YouTube video.
See you in a few years, Coldplay!
Coldplay at Home Depot Center, Carson, CA (18th July 2009):
Pictures by u2soul @Flickr