February 03, 2006

Coldplay, Oakland Arena, 01/31/2006

Michelle was the one who really wanted to go, but she had to work late, something to do with curing sick kids. Stupid kids. So Sam had an extra ticket on his hands, and it wasn't as if I had anything better to do on a Tuesday night. So I stuck around their house an extra day, rewiring the entertainment center for no good reason and ripping Sam's CDs to fill out my collection, since I was always reluctant to buy music he already had even though I like the band myself and I hardly see him so it's not as if we could easily trade.

Getting out of the house was an adventure in itself, as Sam had to drive me to Kaiser first to pick up my car from their lot, then I had to make sure all my purchases and other stuff were all loaded while Sam wolfed down a sandwich for dinner. Couldn't find my cell phone until Sam called it and let it ring until he found it, sitting right in the car. Even Sam forgot to grab the tickets initially, but thankfully he remembered just before we were about to pull away from the curb. And of course there was the usual commute traffic across the bridge and down I-880.

Despite all that, we managed to get to the Arena close to the appointed time, and Sam got the chance to break the C-note he got from auntie on CNY by paying for parking. Seeing him pull the cash out of pocket reminded me that he lost his wallet last week. I should've bought him a wallet instead of a tie. Fiona Apple was the opening act, which I thought was totally cool. Walked in right in the middle of Criminal. Funny how I haven't heard her music for years and I step right into the same old hit song from the first album. We had pretty good seats, lower level almost directly facing the stage on the opposide side of the arena, but from the distance Fiona seemed very small. I could tell she had long brown hair, wearing a short-sleeved red top and a long black crepe skirt. But her sound was so not suited for the big echoing arena, and she pretty much said so during the blurbs. Her flailing antics seemed lost in the dark space, too. Still, it was cool to see her live, some of the new songs seem interesting, and I'll have to look for Extraordinary Machines in the Amoeba bargain bins next time I get the chance.

Fiona got pretty good support from the crowd, but the house didn't really fill up until the main act. Have to admit that I'm not on the Coldplay bandwagon. However after the show at least I can see their appeal, even if I still don't quite get it. Rockin' beats for the guys, sensitive-New-Age-guy lyrics for the ladies, the whole British-accent Euro thing for uppity lefties, and clean-cut looks for the Family Values. Highlights from the show:

  • Big LED screen behind the band to provide screensaver effects and the occasional closeup shot. It ran an R-G-B flashing sequence during one of the songs and the lamps demonstrated good evenness although the color of the green seemed a little different from the standard 525nm, but maybe that was just the rest of the lighting system messing with my color perception.
  • General musicianship. Man these guys can really play, multiple instruments in most cases.
  • Big yellow balloons falling from the ceiling during Yellow. Filled with gold foil so that as the crowd bounced the balloons around during the song occasionally one would pop and a shower of glittering yellow bits would fly out.
  • Tributes to the guys who make their clothes and Jonathan Ives, both were in attendance at the concert.
  • The acoustic segment. Nice change of pace, shows off their chops, and the songs were good. The cover of Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire was probably the best thing they did all evening.
  • No, that's not true, Clocks came after the acoustic segment and rocked the house. The one Coldplay song that I 100% unabashedly love and they did not disappoint.
  • Chris Martin running out to the our end of the Arena for a few choruses during one song or another.
  • The inevitable audience sing-along segments. It was the best audience sing-along I've ever seen. It was like a friggin' choir instead of a random crowd.

Apparently Coldplay is better appreciated when stoned, since I saw at least two people light up right around us. It's also the first show I've ever seen big or small where the lead singer never introduced himself or his band. The only reason I know who the lead singer is Chris Martin is from news reports of him knocking up Gwyneth Paltrow. And I still don't have the faintest clue who the other guys are. They're good, though, so props to them.

Posted by mikewang on 02:54 PM