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    Portland: Coldplay proves to be hot ticket

    coldplay20060305a.jpgMostly unaware that they were about to be part of the largest concert in Clark County history, a buoyant mob equal to the population of Battle Ground turned out Friday to see the biggest British band since — hey, to hear a few fans tell it, since the big one, writes The Columbian.


    They wore sundresses, shredded jeans or Coldplay T-shirts. They braved scalpers, a hail forecast and $8 cups of Miller Lite for a few hours in the sun and a finale under the stars. With pop music splintering into subcultures, there are almost no acts left in the world that could draw a crowd this big, said Brent Sagnotti, 29, of Portland, looking across a sea of blankets inside the Amphitheater at Clark County. "The Beatles aren't around anymore," Sagnotti said. "Led Zeppelin's gone."


    At just under 17,800, the Coldplay crowd's size was technically a tie with Many said they'd busted their budgets even to score lawn tickets, which had a face value of $35 but were reselling for more than $100 on Craigslist. They came with dads and with dates. They came to get loose or get lucky.

    Elya Christensen of Portland said she remembered seeing one couple getting quite lucky beneath their blanket during Coldplay's last visit to the Amphitheater, in 2005. "It's like a little mini-Woodstock out here," said Christensen, 22. "I really like the song 'Yellow,'" Christensen added. "I'm pretty sure they're going to play that, and that'll be the epic experience of my life."


    As the minutes ticked toward Coldplay's 9 p.m. appearance, the phones were still going crazy inside the Amphitheater's little command center. Jackie McLoughlin fielded pleas from one desperate fan after another. "His tickets are in Grants Pass!" she shouted to ticket services manager Paul Kovin. "He left them on the table!" "We can reprint them, then," Kovin offered. "But he bought them off someone." McLoughlin said sadly. Kovin shugged. "Can't help him."


    Outside, venue marketing manager Keevin Wagner power-walked from booth to booth, distributing high fives and last-minute instructions. "Right when song four hits, get the hell out of there," he told a house photographer. "They're going to drop the balloons and all hell is going to break loose."


    Bryan Ross and Jen Lough, both 30 and from Portland, had brought lawn chairs, beer and chips to relax in the parking lot before the show. Ross said he hates amphitheaters. "From '98 to '03, they were going into every city in the country," Ross said. "It's so cookie-cutter and boring."


    Ross said he prefers small, quirkier venues with nightlife nearby. But Coldplay was Lough's favorite band in the world, so Ross had bought them front-section tickets — $95 face value, $350 for the pair. He'd been obsessively refreshing the Ticketmaster Web site the day the tickets went on sale, he said, but missed the tickets he was hoping for. Resale brokers must be writing computer programs to swoop in and buy tickets in blocks, Ross said. "You can refresh the minute they go on sale, and you won't get any," Ross said, still upset.


    Jim Garaventa, 61, of Salem, said he'd been turned on to Coldplay by his daughter, Karen, 22. Karen Garavata said she was hoping that Coldplay frontman Chris Martin might step down from the stage to sing to her personally. Connor McCue, 17, of Vancouver, was setting his sights higher. He entered the concert area with a hand-decorated poster reading "Marry Me, Martin (alliteration)."


    "I'm looking forward to his answer," McCue said. "I drew a heart. And I used the word 'alliteration,' so he knows I'm smart."


    McCue said he's pretty sure Martin, who has two children with actress Gwyneth Paltrow, is attracted to tall, smart men. As the sun set, throwing shadows over Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, Coldplay finally took the stage to a swell of cheers. Four songs in, Martin broke into a song everyone knew. It was "Yellow."


    Source: The Columbian


    New pictures of Coldplay at Roskilde Festival, Denmark (5th July 2009):


























    Pictures by boelsen @ Flickr (click to see the full album)


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