A comprehensive review of Coldplay's concert at the LCCC (12th September 2009) has been published online, courtesy of Pete (Tonsu). Here is the review and some new photos:
Well, I've been back through the thread up to Jen's first posts of the morning (great work guys!) and I'm sure I've missed some stuff, but there's just so much to take in! I heard rumours that there was a pic of Jizo and myself being silly with lip-balm in front row centre, or at least a link to a pic on Twitter, but seeing as I have no idea how to use that it's probably for the best so that in my tired state I don't see the evidence! (too late...! Ian)
Seeing as I'm going to be angling for some writing commissions soon I was going to take my time and try to write the best review possible. But I'm lying here on my bed after a very tiring weekend, still in a daze from the gig last night, listening to LRLRL, so I reckon I'm just gonna go ahead stream-of-consciousness stylee, and get it all down while it's fresh in memory (if I can distract myself from the ringing in my ears!)
Chris (Jizo) and Pete (Tonsu) putting the final touches to their facepaint before Coldplay
Firstly the personal observational-type stuff. It was so nice to meet everyone at the meal on Friday, a great choice of restaurant by Jen - top-notch - and lovely of Jizo to bring gifts for everyone, and order the champagne (even if I didn't get actually get any myself ).
It was never my plan to aim for front row, in fact it was very much my plan NOT to, as I do like the overview you get from further back, and the freedom to leap around like a loon, with ample refreshment in hand. So, I didn't bother turning up at the breaking of the day like all the others, I just thought I'd mozy on down around lunch, spend a few hours with everyone, and then chill further back.
Well, after queueing for a few hours with the Vivacrew I realised that wanting to be with them for the gig was much more important to me than my dislike of the various discomforts of six and a half hours stuck at the front, so I too did the run-walk-run-walk (speed of footwork dependent on the number of stewards yelling at everyone not to run) and joined my fellow Coldplayers dead-centre stage.
Really I should have apologised to them all at the time for turning up four hours after them but still nabbing a place at the front, but it was never my intention, just an irresistable opportunity. I also have the defence that I probably had as little sleep as anyone due to the various 'goings-on' at Manchester Central Travelodge until five in the morning (both nights I stayed there). There may be a short story idea in there somewhere - it really was an experience. Highly recommended if you like to be entertained but don't care for sleep.
I suppose the consolation is that Jizo and myself were at least involved in some of the madness on the night after the gig (last night) as he managed to get us involved in a limbo dancing competition at four in the morning which was almost followed by a 100m hurdles race across the Travelodge bar/cafe area over the tables...but I digress. So, very many thanks to everyone for letting me join them in the queue and at the front. Thanks to jen for all her invaluable assistance with my planning. Thanks to Ian for turning up to the pre-dinner drink pre-drinks, it was great to meet you and have a good chat. Thanks to Jizo for organising a lot of stuff; for the kind presents; for all the laughs we had after the gig in town; and for almost causing a riot in the kebab shop by producing a fifty pound note!
So...onto the gig itself. I will tell it exactly how I saw it myself, and I know some of the other guys disagreed with me, but all this is just my opinion... So, we were absolute front centre and I can only say that when the White Lies came on the bass was THUNDEROUS. I've been to many a gig, but never felt anything like that in my life. I'm well used to bass hitting one right in the chest, but I've never before quite had the sensation that all my brain cells were being re-arranged everytime the bass drum kicked...
I was more impressed with them than I thought I would be. Two or three songs were really very good indeed, even if almost all their material is about death. But I just wanted them to finish because the bass was too much for me. Jay-Z: very good. Rocked the place with about half the numbers I thought. The other half was standard rap fare for me. But he and the band do what they do well very well indeed. Unfortunately even during the good songs when I was rocking out (is that right? 'rapping out' doesn't quite seem to work!?!) I was just praying it'd finish and the bass would stop, along with the strobe that was nicely placed right between my eyes if I looked up at Jay-Z who was eight or nine feet away.
And so a very tired stone elephant (me) moves on to his thoughts of the main event of the night...the boys themselves.
Well, there certainly were some lovely highlights! Not the best version of Yellow ever, but the Simon Cowell stuff at the end was very witty and went down well It was fantastic to hear CoL at long last, and Glass of Water, with probably my second-ever favourite lyric section (the 'hollowest of halos' bit) being sung just feet away. 42 was a delight (though Chris struggled so at the end, but more on that later...) as ever. A slightly extended outro to Strawberry Swing that was just a delicious moment. It was also fascinating to see Jonny and Guy adding depth to Postcards From Far Away with their guitars on stage while Chris was way out at the piano on the ramp, I'd never noticed that, still can't hear it by ear, but they were playing, so I guess it adds something.
Lovers in Japan. Wow. I won't say much as this whole board's probably sick of me going on about this song, but it was magical as ever I don't know if the Vivacrew's very own Japanese member beans knows that Jizo took a fantastic photo of her Japanese fan fluttering right in the middle of the sea of butterflies but my goodness what a shot that is!! Certainly going to be blown up as big as possible, framed, and hung on my wall. One of the best concert pics I've ever seen, just magical
Trouble, so lovely to hear again, and my first time for the acoustic. A sad moment in a way, as it's a reminder of so many wonderful songs lost to us all live now more or less forever, and we got another reminder when Chris said something about not playing Shiver, but we're gonna play this instead (Death Will Never Conquer?). Billie Jean was ok for me but went on for too long. Along with the little Manchester ditty I just feel like stuff like that is stealing time when they could be giving us Warning Sign, or Shiver, or Everything's Not Lost, or....so many others.
We've had the good, the bass...and now for the ugly. Speaking to the lovely Vivacrew ladies after the gig they didn't seem to think the same as me, but this was my impression... The minute Chris came on last night I thought he was VERY sick indeed. He looked really uncomfortable to me, and he was absolutely pouring with sweat even while they were playing with the sparklers (and by this time the sun had gone down and Manchester was getting chilly).
I had a wondrous night. There is nothing for me that beats a night listening to Coldplay, and we had such a wonderful view; the weekend had been perfect; the calzone at Jen's Italian restaurant splendid (and mine was bigger than Jizo's, naturally!) But Chris looked very very ill to me. He had a scarf on most of the night, had to change his shirt very early cos it was dripping, and there were a number of pauses when he had to go near the back of the stage to gargle or have his ginger (ginsing?) drink for his throat.
I was worried from the beginning, and I don't think he looked happy at all for most of it; at least until they'd got through more than half the gig, and then I guessed (could just be my imagination??) that there was a sense of relief that he'd pulled it off and the end was near. His voice was so croaky, I've never heard it like that. I've heard him tired before, I've seen many nights where he couldn't quite hit the highest notes, but where most of the rest of the evening was great. But he seemed to struggle on A LOT of stuff last night. Early on he took every opportunity to get the crowd to sing instead of him. Most noticeable was In My Place when he missed the beginning of the 'singing please please please, come back and sing to me' (I think it's that bit - when he runs down the ramp at Jonny). There was even one point (forget which song) when he couldn't even seem to find the right pitch at the end, but the crowd got it, and he re-tuned and thanked us for helping him out And it wasn't just Chris messing round like he so often does, he was really struggling I'm certain
Sweating buckets even before the show had got going; fighting for breath at times; seeming confused and laboured at points with the pre-planned banter - I swear he has some kind of pretty heavy virus (at least I really hope it's that and not some permanent problem with his voice ). He also missed a lot of the planned dance moves he does, didn't get around as much as normal, and there were gaps between some songs when usually they are seemless because he sprints right back into place so quick
Aw, I feel awful now, because I've ended my review of an amazing weekend with worries about Chris. I LOVED the show, had such an incredible time, and wouldn't have missed it for the world. But I said to Jizo today that the way he was I would rather he had cancelled the show for his own sake, because we need Chris to keep fit and healthy. I guess he's just so professional that he didn't want to do it, especially as it was the big homecoming at the start of what is going to be such a big week for them all. But now I'm really worried about how he'll be for Wembley.
As I said, some of the girl Vivacrew members didn't seem to really notice all this, so I guess it's just my opinion, but I'm pretty sure. Seen the band 11 or 12 times and never seen Chris so uncomfortable. He even barely looked at the front row, smiled, or waved, he seemed to be just working so hard on singing and getting through. GET WELL SOON CHRIS.
Vote for Jenny and win £500 prize pot for the Coldplaying Awards 2009!
The forthcoming Coldplaying Awards 2009 just got a little tastier! Our admin person Jenjie has just submitted a personal entry into the Absolute Radio Live Stories mini-competition that closes on Friday 25th September at 5pm. Here's the interesting part - if Jenjie (Jenny) comes FIRST in the online voting competition, all winners of the Coldplaying Awards 2009 categories will go into a prize draw to win a share of £500! Five lucky category winners drawn out at random will each win £100 - but once again... ONLY if Jenjie wins the Absolute competition!
VOTE FOR "JENNY: COLDPLAY" - http://www.absoluteradio.co.uk/music/live/stories/voting_new.html
Photos of Coldplay at LCCC, Old Trafford, Manchester (12 September 2009):
Pictures by busybeeburns
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