Well it’s not surprising that the somewhat larger budget of Coldplay lent itself to a correspondingly further step beyond awesomicity in Vancouver last night. They have so much sway that the Canucks/LA Kings playoff game was postponed to tonight just so Coldplay could take over Rogers’ Arena, cover the ice with some 8×4′s and rock the joint (I can attest to this latter part from all the heady fumes being wafted my way.) Hopefully the Canucks didn’t waste the extra day… we’re 3:1 down at the moment!
Though the concert was to support the Mylo Xyloto album, there were plenty of old favourites in the nearly two hour show. My favourite “Green Eyes” was not there to share in the mix though, sadly.
We arrived at around 7pm which was the “doors open” time, but there was already a support band in full swing. The Pierces. Meh. Wasn’t too upset we missed most of their set. A bit like a karaoke version of Fleetwood Mac. The sound mix was all to cock, and too distorted. On reflection maybe that was for the best. Anyway, as we entered the venue, we were all asked to take a wrist band. It seemed like a bit of a naff souvenir, but what the hell…
We made our way to our seats in the arena, caught the tail end of The Pierces, and watched the main support band, City and Colour. This is basically Dallas Green (City/Colour, geddit?) from Alexisonfire, and a bunch of rotating musicians. There was a most unlikely suit and tie clad slide guitarist in last night’s lineup. Kudos! I’d not heard any of his stuff before, but it it was interesting enough to track some down, though one or two of the offerings went on a bit…
So then the lights go down and the roadies get the stage together for the main event. During this time, the screens (which were bloody distracting – I had to keep forcing myself to watch the actual band. We are so conditioned to watch screens, George Orwell‘s Big Brother would cream himself) kept showing instructions on how to wear the boring looking bracelets and assuring us they were part of the show. OK – I’m convinced.
Then firstborn sends a text. She and beau have been forcibly ejected from their seats (all the way on the other side of the arena) due to a problem with their tickets! We’d all been barcode-scanned on entry, all the tickets (6 in total – 2 eldest plus their drooling beaus, Mrs Elephant and I: well away on the other side of the show) had been bought via TicketMaster… what could be the issue?
Anyway, it turns out that a Canucks season ticket holder had bought tickets to the Coldplay concert, and he had preferential access for HIS seats. No matter that TicketMaster had already sold them to us. With only 15 minutes to go before the show kicked off for real, and a sold out stadium, this was NOT good news. Thankfully my wife was off dealing with it, otherwise there might have been expletives and RCMP involvement (actually VPD, since Vancouver is too poncy to rely on the RCMP: they need their own police force.) Being Canada though, the lady dealing with seating was all polite and helpful, and firstborn and beau were quickly re-seated with the disabled people in a much superior viewing spot. The only slight downside being that she felt unable to get up and dance when the mood took her, out of consideration of her new permanently-seated neighbours.
So, disaster averted, Mrs E. returned in good time (with a small tub of Häagen-Dazs) to resettle before the show began, and all was well with the world once more. Until she couldn’t get the lid off the ice-cream. I’m ashamed to say that with two degrees and not a little engineering background between us, the removal of the lid took several minutes. No matter – the ice-cream wasn’t too slushy by the time we succeeded, and had returned the blowtorch and wire-cutters.
And then the lights went down and it began…
The wrist bands were actually strings of very bright LEDs – presumably triggered by some RF signal. The entire black stadium erupted into a sea of bright colours as the music began, and the fastest two hours of my life shot past. (Well, not counting those spent on Friday night over drinks).
Chris Martin is a great showman, and parodied the common airline spiel with: “We appreciate you have a choice of entertainment for your Saturday night and are grateful you chose to spend it with us.” At one point, air blowers threw out what appeared from up at the top in the cheap seats to be confetti, but looking at photos from closer in, I now see were tissue paper butterflies! (Oops – update… that was a photo from the Viva la Vida tour in 2009. This year there were a few different shapes.)
There were many visual elements to the show, with UV lighting picking out neon colours in the stage, on the instruments and the band’s casual clothing (no Sgt. Pepper-esque clothes for THIS album!) balloons of the globe were released from the ceiling and at one point large inflatable icons were produced in the galleries to add to the lights. These too included a giant butterfly.
During “God put a smile on your face”, Martin further endeared himself to the local crowd by tweaking the lyrics and assuring us we were going to beat the Kings 4:3 in the play-off series, which obviously went down a storm! There was one awkward moment when he threw his guitar into the air and let it smash down onto the stage. It made for a great slo-mo on the screens, but was very un-Canadian and a waste of an apparently perfectly good guitar!
Yellow was a great number, with the lights obviously being mainly, well, yellow…
Warning Sign had me closing my eyes to “be in the moment”, so I was glad to see someone had posted it to YouTube!
Charlie Brown was VERY colourful, with wristbands being a key part of the rendition, lasers everywhere, neon by the bucketful.
In the end, a very traditional close with a solid 20 minute plus encore beginning from within the crowd where they just suddenly appeared after a quick change into dry T-shirts, and the band eventually all lining up to take their final bow.
For more photos, go and check out Flickr!
The whole setlist is here if you missed it and want to recreate a local facsimile.
By the way, UK street artist “Paris” was key to the entire styling of this album. Read more here.
Who says old people got no rhythm? (Don’t answer that…)