I was at the Coldplay concert last Saturday, and all I can say is WOW! What a show!
We got there early so we could secure good spots...and what amazing spots they ended up being! Chris Martin was so close, we could almost touch him!
The rain, lightning and thunder show that accompanied the band only made the whole experience even better in my opinion.
The band was incredible...they looked like they were having fun on stage, they interacted with the crowd, they improvised, and they sang their lungs out! Their rendition of "I'm a believer" was amazing, and Chris often burst out into spontaneous rain-related songs such as "Why does it always rain on me" and "Raindrops keep falling on my head".
He even invited a girl to go up on stage with him to celebrate her birthday. Lucky b*&^h
The venue at the Emirates Palace was perfect once again (although more traffic on the way out this time around, and it seems that the wristband section was a bit more chaotic).
Abu Dhabi has proven once again that when it comes to attracting the big names and putting on a show, it beats Dubai hands down!
As enticing as this spot has been, after we arrived on Saturday evening, Kim led us out for the Coldplay concert at Emirates Palace, the hotel that put Abu Dhabi on the map and makes the Shang look like a newer Best Western (more on that later, as we're going to explore the interior today). While the skies looked a bit threatening, no one really thought it would rain, since, as Kim told us, it rained just once for a very little while all of last year.
The concert was set near the beach to the side of the hotel, so that the stage backed to the water (though too dark for us to see) and the Palace dominated the skyline to the right. This was Coldplay's last stop on their Viva tour, and first time in the Middle East, so we saw a mix of around 15,000 fans, a rather blended international crowd.
As is the standard for this trip so far, Kim scored us--along with two of her friends--VIP tickets in the section most removed from the stage, but also the most comfortable. We were slightly elevated, which gave us a better view than those on the ground, and because the crowd was a bit smaller, the entire setting seemed rather intimate, yet still a little raucous.
I've always enjoyed listening to attractive British men do just about anything, so Chris Martin and the boys didn't disappoint. Added bonus, just as the concert got going, a lightning storm began illuminating the sky behind us. While we were excited about the additional light show, Kim and I kept commenting on the fact that the main stage, what with all the metal and wiring, was an ideal conduit for all that electrical power.
Fortunately, none of us went up in a ball of electrocuted flash, but we did get absolutely drenched when the sky unleashed pebble-sized rain drops...which inspired Chris, as I like to call him, to incorporate impromptu "rain" lyrics (think, raindrops keep falling on me head) into his songs.
At some point, the rain did let up, and we soaked in the rest of the concert, with the band really playing to the crowd (good video to come), traveling out to different spots nearer to us and entertaining us with more acoustic arrangements (and a harmonica solo).
Hi everyone I’m back and I’m sure you can already tell where I’ve been this weekend. That’s right I went to Abu Dhabi to see Coldplay play live in concert. I’m not really into concerts but Coldplay are one of the very few groups I’ve wanted to see live so I was really to glad get to good tickets, even though I thought I had left it late. All I can say is that they were FANTASTIC ! It was a memorable experience on so many levels.
We got into the outdoor venue at Emirates Palace about 20 minutes before Coldplay came on stage. The tickets were for standing near the stage (Diamond Standing) and I’m so glad I bought those tickets as the seated ones were really far away. I was looking around. The place was packed. I later found out that 15,000 people were there !
Then all of a sudden the lights went out and all you could see were torches of fire spinning around on the stage and then the opening intro from the album Viva La Vida (Life in Technicolor) being played by the band from behind a screen where you could only see their silhouettes. An electric opening.
The band then reeled off songs from the album with classics such as Yellow, In My Place and the brilliant Fix You in between. Oh and in between the songs there was thunderstorm which completely soaked everyone. But no one cared. In fact it added to the atmosphere. With every clap of thunder we sang even louder, our hands and faces getting wetter from the warm tropical rain. Coldplay was the perfect soundtrack to this evening.
But what made this concert really memorable was the performance of lead singer Chris Martin. What a show he put on. It wasn’t just him standing up there singing the songs going through the routine. His use of Arabic, “Shukran” and “keefik” were nice touches and you got the feeling that a lot of this was being improvised. Not the songs, the interaction with the crowd, which he never missed an opportunity to do. He would bring in “raindrops keep falling on my head” in one of his songs while the rain was bucketing down. When doing a rendition of the 60’s song of “I’m a believer” he cracked a joke each time before asking different sections of the crowd and the band members if they”feel in love”.
Other great parts of the show were when celebrating Earth Hour, all the lights were turned off as Chris Martin asked everyone to light up the screens of their mobiles while he sang on a small stage in the middle of the crowd. Before that, one lucky girl who was celebrating her birthday actually got on the stage with Chris Martin where they did a “special duet” as Martin put it. Only he would sing but asked if she wouldn’t mind turning the pages of the song book on his piano. But joke of the night had to be when he said that the band has been together for 13 years but the first 12 years were just spent practicing for this concert in Abu Dhabi LOL !
Back to the music, so many good songs were performed really well but the pick were Lost, Clocks (great laser show), Viva La Vida, and of course Fix You. But what made this show (it was so much more than a concert) so refreshing was that the biggest band in the world right now are really down to earth ordinary guys who play great music, fantastic songs and always engaged the audience.
I arrived at the concert liking Coldplay. I left, absolutely loving them.
We saw Coldplay on Saturday night outside on the grounds of the Emirates Palace. It was a pretty good concert with the band coming out to the cheap seats 'standing section in the back' to play a few songs. Seemed impromptu, but most likely planned and very cool. Although I really get frustrated when the 'small' girls get on the shoulders and make it even more difficult to see, perhaps if I weighed 20 lbs less I might have been able to do that too.
All night there was lightning in the distance which made for a pretty cool atmosphere. The rain came....only a few minutes into the second song and it poured! Now of course rain can always be an issue at outdoor concerts in most countries, but here in Abu Dhabi, where rain is really quite rare, it was extremely odd. Since we got here in January, we've seen a few sandstorms, but other than that it's been clear blue sunny skies. It rained for a good half hour soaking everyone to the core, thankfully we brought along garbage bags to try and keep us dry
I'm going to tell you all about the VIVA COLDPLAY concert in Abu Dhabi.
Yes, Vikvik was able to get me in with the press passes Tita Victoria --Vikvik's bestfriend's mom-- has......
.....Anyway, it's a long drive from Sharjah to Gardens to Abu Dhabi. And it's effin traffic, and it started to rain. But when we arrived, the rain stopped. We got there and we stayed at the front part (since there were no seats) of the concert area. I can't believe it's cold this time of the
year. Goddamnit! I didn't bring warm clothes! I had to borrow some from my mom. And my brother and I forgot to bring jackets. Good job! So there I was trying not to feel cold and trying not to fall asleep cause I was sooo effin sleepy and tired. Cause it's taking them sooo long to start up the show and play.But it's soooo worth the wait. They were fucking great! XD Chris Martin's voice is the same on album as it is live. Oh the lights design is fantabulous! I loved their Yellow performance cause everything was yellow, and they had big yellow balloons
flying all over. And that's when it started to rain.
Here are the downsides of the concert:
1) I felt really small and my feet ache from tiptoeing cause people around me were fuckin tall! Specially the two guys who moved in front of me were fucking posts.
2) It started raining. The rain droplets were big and cold. Biting cold.
3) It didn't help that the breeze is cold.
4) I didn't finish watching the concert because I would die from hypothermia if I stayed there. But I caught the cold from 2-hour car drive back to the Gardens.
I think it has rained twice since we have lived here. Both times it was short lived, barely a glimpse of bad weather. Most days, even all through winter show blue skies and clear air. So, I could not believe the ONE night Coldplay was coming to town severe weather was forcasted..NO WAY! Well, during the day it rained a little bit and it seemed as if the weather was going to hold out.
Around 6:30pm, on our way to the concert we noticed lighting looming over the Emirates Palace Ampitheater--the exact direction we were headed. We had barely walked in the venue and the rain started..the only protection we had were the garbage bags I threw in my purse--as we have no rain coats, or even coats here and I never thought I would need them!!
Well, the rained cleared for the concert but started up again about half way through. The lightning struck throughout the night in the distance over the stage. It was a very surreal experience and a memorable one. Coldplay in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace in the background, lightning striking overhead, soaking wet clothes, beer mixed with rain water and enjoying it all with the company of great friends..who could ask for more!!!
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these fans from the swift completion of their appointed concert.
The scene outside of Saturday’s Coldplay concert at Emirates Palace is perhaps best described by reference to a ritual that, thanks to the creeping global expansion of American teen comedies, is known (and, increasingly, practised) across much of the world: prom.
The Coldplay show, like a typical prom, was long anticipated (prom comes but once a year; international pop stars come to the Emirates only ever four of five months). It involved, like prom, the gathering of a large group that otherwise would not have gathered. It encouraged unskilled dancing by low light to well-known pop songs with vaguely uplifting lyrics. This dancing was immediately preceded by a great deal of standing around by groups of young friends dressed to impress. Perhaps most promishly of all, many groups spent much preconcert energy pretending not to be snatching curious glances of other groups and their clothes.
Scores of teenaged men outside the arena were self-consciously dressed as if auditioning to be the fifth Coldplayer: ruffled hair, dark jeans neither tight nor baggy, carefully scuffed trainers, untucked button-down shirt under a hooded sweatshirt or blazer. Scores of young women were dressed the same way; others opted for skimpy skirts that surely stay in the wardrobe most school days. The doors were already open – these kids were standing outside only to be seen looking at each other standing outside (and, occasionally, smoking). Adults – a category of people defined by their inability to get fully into the correct prom mood – generally headed straight in.
In movies, the moments just before prom are typically rendered in a glistening soft-focus slow-motion. This technique presents prom as one of those personally epochal events that, once underway, seems to pass in a flash, worth approaching with senses tuned to their memory-constructing highest. As a result, personal cameras are an almost de rigueur prom accessory. Outside Emirates Palace, self-conscious group photography was rampant, just like the posting of new Facebook albums the next morning.
Nature hit all the right notes, almost as if taking direction from some prom planner in the sky; wind blew, skies darkened, and lightning forked prodigiously across the sky. Suddenly two rare events – rain and international pop spectacle – were on the menu. Were it to rain – to soak everyone’s sweatshirt, to force friends to huddle together while warbling along with Chris Martin, to produce lightning-lit pictures of same – a memorable night would be guaranteed.
The rain came, and the kids cheered. This was going to be great. Some clever person piped the Barbadian pop star Rihanna’s Umbrella (“Now that it’s raining more than ever / Know that we’ll still have each other / You can stand under my umbrella”) over the PA, and a singalong started.
Meanwhile, a steady trickle of adults left the stadium – some were heading home for rainwear, others were simply heading home. One woman about to step into a cab hesitated. Inside the car was warmth and dryness. Outside was lightning and rain, with hours to go until Coldplay. For a few seconds, she watched a dozen teenagers dancing under a blue tarp, and smiled. “But I’m not a kid anymore,” she said to no one in particular.
So, we've been home a week now. I managed on day four to move the suitcase from blocking the front door - I still haven't got round, though, to the rather dull looking pile of bills, final demands and other junk mail that's accrued during my absence.
Going from constant motion to utter stillness is obviously a treat. It also begins like many other blocks of "free time" with great intentions. Inevitably, the opportunity to rest and recover overtakes everything. I've heard the very end of a tour being described as being like "getting fired out of a cannon at a brick wall". Perhaps a little over-dramatic, but not entirely inaccurate.
Tour breaks, then, are a little less extreme, but still involve some adjustment. A better analogy for me in this case, would perhaps be that I'm on a tug of war team and the other side has just let go of the rope. A general falling in a heap and wondering what's next is unavoidable. Time to let go of the line, dust yourself off and maybe get a drink...
Some have booked holidays. Although the idea of getting on another plane and checking into another hotel doesn't immediately appeal, it is a great way to force the mind and body into relaxation quickly.
I actually find the tying up of loose ends under zero pressure quite relaxing. I guess it comes from actually enjoying what I do. Being as I carry out several roles on the tour, there's always more to do than time available, so a lot falls through the cracks. It's nice to pick up the interesting bits and play with them just for the hell of it.
To that end, I've dug out the few lines I wrote in the airport lounge in Abu Dhabi about the last show. It was certainly one that none of us there are likely to forget, documenting it therefore seems important. OK then, when I count backwards from three, you will wake up in the United Arab Emirates seven days ago. Three, two.....
It rained a little at soundcheck. Nothing torrential, just enough to let us know that it was worth being cautious in covering everything with plastic sheeting. We're hopeful that it'll be enough to keep the dust down and by showtime, we'll be back to balmy desert heat.
The hotel is just up the beach, so I head back up to my room in order to get my luggage ready. We're bailing for the airport as soon as the gear is packed. As I wander back down the marble corridor to the beach path, there is a huge burst of light outside the window. I first think lightning, but tell myself it was far too intense and too close - it must have been a camera flash.
I'm halfway down the beach path, when the sky explodes like god's own strobe light. The entire sky is bright neon white. The arc that shoots across my vision is so bright that when I close my eyes, it's still burnt into my retinae. I ponder the wisdom of going to climb inside the huge steel cage of the stage for the next few hours. Is it safer or less safe to be standing in a huge steel box in the middle of a desert storm?
Mercury Rev go on in the midst of the first downpour. There's a lot of anxious talk over the radios. Word is that if it's still raining like this when Coldplay being their set, the B stage and the C-stage will be cancelled and done under cover on the main-stage instead. Marguerite is reading weather forecasts direct from the laptop to the whole crew at regular intervals on channel 1.
When a tour is this far in (we passed our hundredth show recently, remember) it can be easy to fall into a routine and some nights find yourself almost too relaxed and needing to slap yourself into concentrating properly. No such trouble tonight, obviously. Today, everyone is fully alert, very deliberate in all of their actions and aware of the plethora of possibility for things to go very wrong.
At the back of everybody's minds, is the fact that we have some very big outdoor shows to do this summer. If this goes badly, the storm clouds that hang over us tonight will remain in our minds over the outdoor shows to come. We'd plainly spend three months expecting every one of those shows to be a horrible nightmare. It's important that all goes well tonight.
We're a frazzled crew that's been bounced in a game of timezone table tennis over the last six weeks. Today we're all counting down the hours until we're home. Everyone had this pegged as a nice day in the sun to break up the journey home. Not quite.
Mercury Rev suit the drama of the night perfectly. They play a blinding show, as if this is what they've always wanted for a light show. They finish up their final show with us and a grinning Bash comes over and shouts into my ear, "Fuck I'm gonna miss them". I'd say that goes for us all...
Time then, to make the show happen. It's raining steadily and Marguerite's weather reports inform us that they're confident it'll get heavier. The main questions are obviously whether the B and C stages will happen. Back here on the A stage however, things aren't exactly watertight. We're in a desert location that rarely sees heavy rain. Consequently, the roof is just basic shelter. There's a lot leaking in already. The video department are having a hell of a time. One of the leaks is directly above one of the stage "globes" which means the internal projector is being doused and worse, the ball itself is could become a huge water balloon.
Poor old (he's not old, he's just from the middle ages...) Chris Wood, he's near the open front of the stage and directly below a sizeable gap in the roof. He mixes the sound that the band hear in their "in-ear" headphones. He does it through a completely digital desk that will doubtless not take kindly to a soaking. He does most of the pre-show linecheck completely under his plastic sheeting.
The lightning remains in full effect throughout the first few songs. Clocks, I remember being particularly amazing visually. Lasers hacked through the downpour, whilst the lightning drew across the sky like a huge neon fireworks display all of its own. I'm aware that Paul Normandale (the show designer who has given Coldplay such a wonderful unique and distinctive look this time out) is out in the mix tower. I expect he's wondering how you could get the lightning to work a bit more in time with the music and grinning to himself.
When Yellow kicks in and all the lights fire out into the crowd, two things become obvious. Firstly, the rain is punishingly heavy. As the beams push out from the stage into the night, they show up exactly how hard and unremitting the rain is. It's so dense that it's difficult to see the back seats.
More interesting, though, is the second revelation. The crowd are still going absolutely nuts. Fair play to this lot, they're here for a good time and absolutely nothing is going to stop them. There are folks on each other's shoulders, people are cheering, singing and having a great night. Absolutely amazing response. Nobody could blame these folks for giving it a miss, or just turning up and cowering miserably under their coats wondering whether they should have really bothered.
They're amazing. We've had many great crowds on this tour, and even on a dry and regular day, this lot would be amongst the top ones. The fact that they're going for it in such grand style on such a miserable night wins them full marks all round.
The band clearly appreciate the energy they're being fed. Chris spends a good portion of his time out on the ramps getting completely soaked, showing solidarity with the drenched punters. With the rain so insanely heavy, the decision has been made that the B and C stage are coming onto the main stage. Folks are rushing round making the necessary logistical and technical changes to make this happen.
Bash relays the word to Will so the band know what's going on. For a song or so, things continue. Will then shouts down his mic that comes only to the crew's ears. "We have to do the B and C out there". He's made the decision and there's no questioning it. Off scurry a bunch of folks to reset things before Strawberry Swing comes to a close.
Now, this point illustrates Coldplay very well. They get a lot of stick for being "soft". The fact is though, that they have balls. I've never seen them take the easy option. Nobody would blame them for playing it safe here. They know, though, that the gig will be better if they're out there giving the punters the whole show, rather than bottling out and keeping dry. Note that Will said "we have to". Not "we probably should" or "can we try". This is as good an indicator as I can give of how things are done round here.
The B-stage is greeted with such massive applause that it's immediately obvious this decision is going to lift this show right through the roof (that is, if there were one...). For The Hardest Part, Chris spots someone in the crowd who's birthday it is tonight. Just for the sheer hell of it, she's brought up onstage and given a seat to his right.
I do remember Chris playing a rather excellent rendition of Singing In The Rain at one point. I'd have loved to have included an mp3 here, but the computer I record the gigs on made it about three songs into the deluge before losing its nerve completely and collapsing in a heap.
The C-Stage comes as an undoubted highlight. There's no bigger show of unity with the crowd than when the band are a little dot of light in amongst it all - floating just above the sea of voices. It's not without technical imperfections, but for emotional impact? Flawless.
I'm crossing the stage with my camera, as Stage Manager Kurt takes the opportunity to mop up the onstage puddles whilst the band are out in the crowd. As I pass Guy's mic, I bump into none other than Phil Harvey on his hands and knees mopping away with a fistful of towels. Trooper... ;-)
Adversity often bonds and brings out the best in folks. The show ends and the overwhelming feeling that it's been a huge victory all round is unmistakable. I bet we have some extremely unpleasant outdoor conditions this summer, but quite frankly, you can bring it on....
the rain made it BETTER. it was sooo good. not just saying that cuz i'm obsessed with coldplay... its true. did anyone see the empty seats? "Viva La Vida." they were pretty cool. does anyone have the setlist, what they played? i want to send it to my sister, she was at uni
Why was this the only show in the Middle East? they should have come to lebanon during the Viva tour instead of all the DJs and rappers that keep coming here
some of my friends were able to go to Abu Dhabi and said it was more than amazing and had the best time.