In the fifth and final installment of my journey of utmost excited, happy remembrances, I’d like to recall yet another concert.
The Coldplay Concert, June 18 2009
Before I was who I am today, I was simply and merely and painfully existing, going through dull thuds of sad emotion in my lonely, overweight unemployed summertime life. And there was only one light at the end of that endless, dreary, miserable tunnel: the Coldplay concert. The knowledge that I had tickets to this show, on the FLOOR of all miraculous things, drove me. And reminded me that there was good in the world and I was a part of it, could be part of it, could partake in it, even though I was on the outskirts of good most of that summer (actually, most of the beginning half of that whole year, and the previous year in its entirety). For me, this concert signified the beginning of the end of dark times.
Eons ago, Coldplay played at a tiny club in Edmonton just following the release of Parachutes; of course, since I was just a kid and living in Jasper at the time, my mom forbade me to go but swore to me, “they’ll be back someday” even though I cried and screamed and swore and told her she was wrong (mature as I was, back in the ninth grade). Of course though, she was right; years and years later, there was the announcement, and there I was, revelling in the glory of floor presale tickets; two of them: for me, and Tyler, and for no one else.
June was a decent enough month; there was a sort of radiant beauty that painted everything a lilac hue; I recall dry sunshine on my arms and cool breezes and rain storms after dark, and I remember ice cream and windy patio meals and shopping trips under a heavy humming of air conditioning. I remember stepping outside the confines of my apartment into the world of the valley and seeing the soft dark, deep green all over everything, in every little niche. I remember listening at a constant also, to the depth and intricate baroque pop of Viva La Vida, and thinking back to a time when in my darkest and very most lonely hours, just listening to A Rush of Blood to the Head was enough to not only fix, but to validate absolutely everything. If there was someone to fall in love with when I was in high school, I would have fallen in love with them to that album. It’s one of my favourite records of all time.
On the day of the show, Tyler and I sat in my apartment all afternoon watching the live Coldplay DVD. I remember the hours CRAWLING by and I remember it being sweltering, humid and windy all at the same time; there was sun in the foreground of the afternoon and looming wet gray-blue clouds in the distance. Both my back and side windows were open creating a breezy wind tunnel. And despite both of those facts, both of us were sweltering in our summer shorts and t-shirts. Inevitably, our excitement got the best of us and we headed to Rexall Place early (by about an hour in fact) and waited outside, sitting beneath the Gretsky statue until the doors opened.
Opening acts can be painful; in my experience many of them have been mere agony to sit through; it’s just adding insult to injury when you’re SO excited to see an artist you LOVE, and are forced to put up with a sub-quality appetizer first, something you’re unfamiliar with and never really want to eat again (as of late, I’ve found opening acts at shows I’ve been to increasing dramatically in quality but in 2009 I still had some decently horrible ones to go still). However, at this concert both Howling Bells and Snow Patrol were awesome; they provided a perfect mix of anticipatory soaring vibes and dainty indie flare to a night that celebrated the greatest current contemporary pop band on the planet. After they ended, there was this breath of excited silence and I could feel the energy increase dramatically in the room, which had started with both light and fans. I can remember Tyler (who was then, working the night shift and was working the night before this show) almost drifting off to sleep but then his eyes would open and we’d both be pinching each other and hitting each other. It’s one thing to be excited on your own; but shared excitement is infinitely better and for the duration of the long-winded wait for this show, we fed off each other’s ecstacy and fandom.
The moment arrived when a loud classical music score (now I can’t remember which one) cut through the generic pre-concert radio mix and swelled in volume and intensity. It reached its climactic peak, all the lights turned out in unison, the curtain hiding the headliner backdrop fell in one swoop, and the audience (myself included, obviously) went fucking apeshit as the band bolted onto the stage and began playing “Life in Technicolour”. Honestly, as stupid as this is, that was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
The band pulled out all the stops; for a band that is so incredibly famous, that faces its bloated and weighty share of backlash, and that appears jaded and egotistical, they play a show as if its the first time they’ve ever played one (not nervously, however; more in the realm of SUPER EXCITED ABOUT EVERYTHING). They were charming, funny, they made a huge set and a huge sound and a huge audience feel small and inclusive, they marched to the back of the room and stood in the stands and did a mini acoustic set including a Monkees cover and an off-the-cuff little ditty about Edmonton, making the show totally unique. They slapped high fives with audience members (myself included) and in the end, during “Lovers in Japan” the whole arena exploded with butterfly-shaped confetti, again and again and again and we were reaching for it and dancing in it and standing on our chairs! It was an experience worth REELING over; seriously. And I was. We were. It was just amazing. Unbeatable, really. The gold standard of shows.
The subway on the way home seemed quiet; actually, we had taken so long after the show to collect butterfly confetti that the train was, for a post-Rexall show, almost entirely empty, save for us and my camera and our heaving hoarse voices. After the show, we went and calmed ourselves with Frosters from Mac’s and sat in my living room just laughing to ourselves and jumping up and down with small but intense bursts of disbelief.
I went to bed that night and woke up the following morning feeling deeply, deeply satisfied and on a plane of perfect, delighted ultimate peace and happiness. I hadn’t felt that in more than a year up to that point, and it only signalled the beginning of many similar moments to come.