Following a Coldplay theme for this week, after reviewing the Kaleidoscope EP, I felt nostalgic about the Coldplay concert I attended years ago.
Coldplay is undoubtedly one of the most successful bands. They have been around for about 20 years and have managed to stay relevant the entire time. Older fans tend to criticise their newer music, but had it not changed with the times, they would most likely have not survived as long as they did.
Let’s go back to 2011, I was in my second year at UCT and absolutely obsessed with Coldplay (and let’s be honest, Chris Martin). Anxious on the day of the concert and afraid I would be stuck behind someone taller than me (about 99.8% of the population), I skipped a lecture and an important tutorial and made my way down to Cape Town Stadium.
The City of Cape Town had a wonderful initiative: If you flashed your concert ticket, you could use the trains for free. Therefore, using the Jammie Shuttle to the train station, and the trains to the CBD, I was there by 1pm and it cost me nothing.
We walked up to the Stadium and found a long queue of people, but something told me to walk around the stadium and look for other entrances, despite the early summer that had hit us.
A security guard stood outside a hidden gate. There were no people in front of him. Could it be? A secret entrance with no other people?
Yes. Yes it was.
We settled in, pulled out our snacks and entertained ourselves whilst singing, “How long before I get in?” and absolutely meaning it.
Just as our energy dropped, the bigger gate next to ours opened and Coldplay drove in. Chris Martin waved at us, a big smile spread across his face as our jaws rubbed the ground beneath us.
Now we were excited.
The gates opened and we ran as fast as we could, around a bend, up some stairs, down some other stairs and my heart threatened to collapse and my boobs threatened to dislocate from my chest… and then we were there: Front row, hands gripping the cool railing and breathing heavily trying to recover.
The Parlotones took the stage as the opening act (specifically requested by Coldplay!) and put on an amazing show. Having been one of the only people who knew all the lyrics to their songs, the camera focused on me… here’s the joke, I didn’t know, because I was so into it, that I had my eyes closed like a complete weirdo.
Finally, the moment we have all been waiting for… the lights went out and Chris ran out singing, opening with a song from Mylo Xyloto, which had been their latest album at the time. We screamed, allowing ourselves to fully evolve into whoo-girls. Embarrassing, maybe. Fun, absolutely.
The stage was covered in yellow light as most of us knew what was coming next, my eyes welled up with tears as I looked up into the night sky and followed his instructions.
Look at the stars, look how they shine for you
I was a mess. A complete mess.
I inhaled deeply, regaining myself and for what? I cried again and again, for In My Place, Fix You and of course, The Scientist. My emotions are always on edge at concerts, good live music tends to do that to me, but this was the first time I cried. The music was so meaningful and beautiful, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the crowd.
He performed Lost directly in front of me, wiggling his hips and occasionally rolling on the stage floor. All eyes were on him as he completely owned the show. He interacted with the crowd casually, as if we were old friends. He’d throw in a joke and the entire stadium was taken by his electric presence. I always imagined a Coldplay concert would be a bit of an emotional drab. It was emotional, but not at all drabby, we sang, danced and shook our heads from side to side just to make sure the moment was real.
An actual embarrassing excerpt from my diary after the show:
“Oh my fucking word. I fell in love with him. Never in my life have I wanted to be Gwyneth Paltrow more than at that moment”
And so it started, my love affair with Coldplay and Chris Martin. I became an even bigger fan, inspired by their music, their lyrics and the amount of charity work they are constantly doing.
Coldplay has such a wide reach that most of the friends I have made since then have the same memories I do. We were all there as strangers… feeling the same emotions, singing the same lyrics and little did we know, we would become a family of friends years later, and I would marry one of them.
Yo, Coldplay, it’s been a few albums since your last tour, how ‘bout you come on down?
Peace and love,
Shameez, the person who cries at concerts.