I admit I am a Coldplay groupie. Possibly the oldest Coldplay groupie living.
No, I don't wait outside the stage door or visit their famous recording studio, a former bakery in a working class section of London, but I do look at the concert schedule and will try to conjure ways my business trips could align with the band's appearances. Lucky me. I have seen them in Wembley Stadium, San Jose, Los Angeles and a couple of other places.
I was lucky enough to be at the open-air Hollywood Bowl last month when the band performed. An outdoor venue has pluses — an amazing fireworks display that couldn't happen in an indoor facility like Toyota Center, along with the expected light bands and confetti which only amped up the sensory experience.
By the end of the second song there was so much confetti in our hair, chairs and floor that we looked like we had all gotten married.
But going to a concert alone is not the same as sharing it with friends.
I attended both Houston concerts. When someone asked me, "What did you get from Tuesday night that you could not get from Monday?" I replied, "It is a totally different experience. "
On Monday night, when I attended with my best friend, my seats were 20 rows up in the section closest to the band. From that vantage point, you can see the entire spectacle, all of the audience jumping in unison to the music, lights flashing from electronic wristbands, and both stages. You can also hear Chris Martin a little more clearly and notice the piano seemed a little tinny in spots.
Tuesday night my assistant landed floor seats on row 3 for a few clients and those in our office who were fans. The first thing that strikes you on the floor is the noise! It is much louder, harder to tell a mis-key. But the best part was having the band sing within three feet — a thrill all its own. And the light show that critics rave about is much more noticeable from the floor.
By the end of the second song there was so much confetti in our hair, chairs and floor that we looked like we had all gotten married. And goodness it is fun to sing the words of the songs at the top of our lungs as a group with wristbands and cameras flashing.
While standing in line I chatted up a source close to the group who said that Martin's wife, actress Gywneth Paltrow, did not attend the Houston gigs but that Chris's father, Anthony Martin, a retired accountant did. Perhaps that is why Chris Martin cleaned up his language in his Tuesday night performance. (On Monday night, he let the F-word slip a couple of times; his parents are known to hate off-color language.)
The insider also showed me a photo of Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly, who were backstage for Monday night's concert. Giffords and Paltrow are related.
The insider also showed me a photo of Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly, who were backstage for Monday night's concert. Giffords and Paltrow are related. Paltrow's late father, Bruce Paltrow, and Giffords' father, Spencer Giffords, were first cousins.
Unlike the nearly flawless performance Monday night, Chris and the boys had a couple of miscues on the quieter songs on Tuesday night. After flubbing the start of one song, Chris laughed and said, "Let's start that again. Please everyone I hope this doesn't show up on YouTube because people would think we were not professional musicians."
He laughed again when it happened again as the band launched into "Speed of Sound."The audience laughed and cheered his unpretentious explanation.
After the Monday show ended, concertgoers lingered at the Toyota Center savoring the experience. Not so on Tuesday. About 10 minutes after the concert ended, the ubiquitous security guards told us to move out because the set was being broken up. Indeed it was as the tour moves on.
Houston is a warm memory. But is anyone up for Thursday night in Tampa? Friday in Miami? I'm game if you are.
For a review of Monday night's Coldplay concert at the Toyota Center, click here.