On Monday night we attended the biggest concert we’ve ever been to in the UK, or anywhere for that matter. We had a half day and travelled in the early afternoon to Crystal Palace to see Coldplay perform at the Crystal Palace athletics stadium. After a long lunch at a greasy cafe (only made long because of the slow service) we headed over to the stadium and joined a long line waiting for entrance at 4pm.
The mood was very friendly and everyone was happy and just lounging around in the afternoon sunlight. It was a corker of a day with bright nearly cloud free skies along with a breeze to keep the temperatures in hand. After some line compression to make room for the other 39998 people and a bit of waiting around we filed past the security and made our way into the expansive stadium.
First things first we decided where we would be within the stadium for the concert. I always want to go to the front, and we could have got fairly close. However, Coldplay weren’t due on stage till just before 9pm and Keryn wasn’t to keen on standing in the sun for 5 hours. There were two covered seating areas and all were open for anyone to sit anywhere they pleased (apart from a few cordoned off areas that turned out to be for ‘invited guests’) so we found a nice spot with a semi decent view and plonked ourselves down. It took us about 30 seconds to realise that we were going to end up with the sun in our eyes for at least 4 hours do we decamped and made our way to the covered seating on the opposite side of the arena. New seats were chosen and that is where we stayed for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
Well, almost stayed. There were a few sojourns to find food, stretch the legs and make use of the facilities. Otherwise we sat and watched 40000 people slowly fill up the arena and stadium seating. There were two support acts and the first of those, Morning Runner, came on stage at 6pm. I can’t remember much of this band except that the singer annoyed me somewhat by shouting rather than singing a lot of the time. I think he needs some time to get used to an area setting, enough said. The second act was a monumental step up, Supergrass. However, they also struggled to fill the stadium with sound and the songs I knew and liked seemed flat from where we were seated – I think it would have been a different story up the front.
Morning Runner and Supergrass came and went which left time to relax, watch the world walk past and wait for the main event. Just before 9pm the moment arrived and Coldplay arrived to the sound of ‘Square One’ off of their new album ‘X&Y’. The crowd was reverential and Chris Martin was in fine form, both singing and in his banter. The first few songs were fantastic and there was an early climax with the performance of the song ‘Yellow’, the crowd singing along very much in tune and with great enthusiasm.
There was a minor distraction as Coldplay started. The block of seating to our right was one of the special people sections and a lot of people were staring and pointing during the first few songs. Turns out that Sir Paul McCartney was one of the audience members (amongst a number of other minor celebrities). The crowd had collectively got to their feet once the band had arrived and they stayed there until an acoustic interlude in the middle of the performance.
It just being the wrong side of the height of summer the nights are short and evenings long. The light show for each song seemed to get more and more impressive as the dark descended and as the second half of the concert rolled on the ‘greatest hits’ came out to be accompanied by ever increasing colour and intensity of light. ‘The Scientist’ brought another kind of light show from the crowd, thousands of phones held up so people could presumably share the moment with distant friends of record the spectacle in rubbish video or crappy still image (I don’t like camera phones, can you tell?). I wished I had my EOS 350D but hadn’t wanted to risk having myself banned or the camera impounded. I did alright with the old work-horse powershot I think
In what seemed like an incidental passing of time Chris Martin was saying goodbye and the set had ended. As in obligatory they were soon back for a three song encore and the communal sing-along continued. We actually started our trip out of the stadium during the final song ‘Fix you’ and missed a burst of fireworks released during the song. Better that than missing our train, we managed to catch the first train to London Bridge which was much better than some people who I read spent 2 hours queuing and I even read about one poor guy who spent the night at Liverpool Street because he missed the last Southend train. A very good night, Coldplay were excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.