Tag Archives: Coldplay

Visuals matter: a kaleidoscope of light and color with Coldplay

I went to see Coldplay at the Rose Bowl on Friday. It might seem strange for me to write about that concert, but bear with me. In full-disclosure, Coldplay is not one of my favorite bands. My husband wanted to go to the concert, and given that I spend a lot of my own time (and his money….) on Duran Duran, I agreed.

First, I have to admit that I was pretty freaked out by going. I’m not going to use flowery language—that Las Vegas shooting scared me. I still have a little girl here at home, and both Walt and I were going to this concert. I went so far as to tell my mother-in-law that if something happened to us, to call my oldest right away and have her come.  In some ways, I felt stupid for saying that, but by the same token, none of those 58 people murdered a week ago probably thought twice about going to their festival.  During the two weeks prior to the show, I’d gotten no less than six separate emails from the Rose Bowl, first alerting me to the potential traffic and security measures already in place, and then after the Vegas shooting I received updates and more directions. So when Friday arrived, we left very early and anticipated something akin to airport security. While the line to go through security formed quickly and was lengthy, we had entertainment. A very large screen was set up with a security video playing so that we’d know what to expect and how to handle ourselves as we entered the venue. Once the line started moving, it was very quick and painless. Kudos to the Rose Bowl for that.

I should mention that I had never gone to a stadium show before, unless you count seeing The Beach Boys play following a USC football game a few times. I had no idea of what to expect. My preconceptions were simply that any band playing a stadium show would have to be able to do things BIG, and that most bands simply cannot afford those types of shows.

I don’t think I was wrong. Coldplay had a fairly large stage set-up with a long catwalk ending in a circular stage towards the middle of the field (surrounded by floor seats), and then another small stage in one corner of the field.  There were gigantic lights set up all around the field, and they had three video screens as well. Nothing about the show or its staging was small.

When we first walked in through the gates, were handed a wristband. Once seated, there were instructions onscreen as to how to wear the wristband along with instructions on downloading an app that would work with one of their songs. Walt and I were geeking out over the wristband and how it might work. Neither of us had been to a show that had the potential to be so interactive, so we were anxious for the show to begin.

I loved the colors and how they continued to change with every beat.

The lights went down, and our wristbands lit up! The overall visuals are difficult to describe, but imagine being teeny-tiny and standing on a branch in the middle of a Christmas tree filled with twinkling light, and then having mirrors all around you so that you feel like you’re a part of a kaleidoscope. The lights interacted with the music, changing color with the songs. It was like being a small part of a gigantic party, and that was only the beginning. There were fireworks, not just one time, but several times throughout the show. There was confetti, probably seven times – and I have to say, seeing the confetti shower in something the size of that stadium was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Oh, and then there were the pyrotechnics. Yes, fire!  And beach balls!  It was outrageous!

Loved the brightly colored beach balls (or balloons?)…it was the first time I could stand back and look at them without being worrying about being assaulted by one!

Everything felt huge. From the largest of visuals down to the smallest of details, everything made me feel as though I was one tiny chip of a colored tile in a kaleidoscope. The screens were high-definition, and although we were so far from the stage that I could barely see Chris Martin, if I looked at the screens I felt like I was right there. He was all over the stage, and I appreciated that the band, drum sets and all, actually moved to the circular stage out at the end of the catwalk AND to the other stage in the corner of the field. Talk about using all the room they were given – it was crazy. They had a way of making the largest audience I’d ever been a part of somehow feel intimate, and I probably only knew six or seven of the songs they played.

Then there were the hardcore fans in the front. The cameras were pointed their way many times throughout the show, and they weren’t just happy to be there, they were exuberant. While smiles are not hard to come by at a Duran show, this was different. It was like seeing myself amplified and illuminated by 10,000 watts. Not that there aren’t Duran Duran fans like that, but maybe I need to up my own game.

Visually, I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like it. The intensity of the interactivity made the show for me that night. The one word I would use to describe the concert? Happy. I needed happy. I came away feeling uplifted, light, and carefree. After the week I’d had, or the week that any one of us might have had, it was welcome respite. I’m still smiling, and it isn’t because I suddenly became a hard-core Coldplay fan.

I don’t think there’s necessarily a moral or message here. I just know that prior to this show, I’d always shied away from stadium shows. I don’t like crowds. I hate sitting far from the stage. I felt like maybe I’d be bored. I was none of those things, and I sat up in the stands, away from the floor,  far from the stage. In this case, I think the visuals for me were FAR better than those who sat on the floor or close to the stage because I was able to see the full effect of the wristbands working or the beach balls bouncing throughout the crowd, or the fireworks spraying like fountains of light far above the stadium. I’m not at all sorry I went.

I can’t even begin to think about how much this must have cost Coldplay, but if my experience is worth anything to the band – it must have paid off in spades. Definitely the most uplifting show I have been to in a while, particularly because I didn’t know every word to every song (or any song for that matter). Their set had plenty of quieter moments, but the visuals –  participating as part of a giant kaleidoscope of color and light kept the crowd going. Not an experience I will soon forget.


Year End Katy Kafe with Roger Taylor

Today brings Roger Taylor to the Katy Kafe. I always know it’s December when Katy announces Year End Kafes, and it’s a happy Monday because today the first one was posted!

Roger Taylor Goes Retro with Do They Know It’s Christmas

The purpose of the Year End Kafe’s are to wrap up the year, and today Roger Taylor took time out from the final (we’ll see about that) mixing of the album to chat. They began retro-style, by talking about “Do They Know it’s Christmas?”.  Katy asked Roger Taylor how he felt about it being the 30th anniversary for the record, and Roger responded saying that his first feeling upon hearing it each year is “annoyed”.  I guess he’s tired of hearing it after all these years…which I can understand. Completely.  (Although this is not the song I would have in mind while feeling that way…) He did say though that it’s “amazing that Bob [Geldof] got them all together”, and back then, bands were very tribal. There were a lot of bands in that group that would have never spoken to one another outside of an event like that. Who knew!?!

Roger Taylor’s Favorite Concert of 2014

Recently Roger went to see Peter Gabriel at Wembley, which he said was an amazing show (he likes that word almost as much as Americans like the word “awesome”).  He talks about the lights and shades of the show and his records, which reminds me of the Duran Duran lyric that I know each and every single one of you worth your Duranie membership card is singing in your head right this minute.  “Come on show me all the light and shade that made your name”.  Song?  Lonely In Your Nightmare for the win, Alex!!  (The game show Jeopardy. If you’re not from the US, you have no idea what I’m going on about. Google it.) Moving on…Katy asked about my very favorite Peter Gabriel song ever, wondering if Peter played “In Your Eyes”.  Roger responds saying that yes, it was the last song and that yes…it was “AMAZING”.  Of course it was, Roger.  It’s “In Your Eyes”!!!  Roger says we all need to go see it live or listen to it on YouTube…so you guessed it, I have it here:

Roger Taylor’s Favorite Album of 2014

For Roger, the favorite album of the year came later than expected as he very recently discovered a band called Jungle that is very big in the UK.  Roger says that the band has a Marvin Gaye retro-feel and that he loves the album.  You can hear Time here and Heat here.

Additionally, Roger talks about the latest Coldplay album, Ghost Stories, which was mixed by none other than Spike Stent.  He cites the depth of the album, and the light of some of the songs, saying that these two albums are his favorites of the year.

Roger Taylor On His Best (or Favorite) Events of the Year

Roger begins with a huge personal event – his youngest son Julian just appeared in his first Nativity event as a shepherd. According to Roger, he sang, had some lines and even danced. I’m sure he was adorable!!  Let’s face it this event was probably FAR better than the Duran Duran event in Austin, which of course was the next event Roger mentioned.

The F-1 Fan Fest in Austin whet the band’s appetite for playing live again, he says. They played for an hour and a half, and he really enjoyed the race the following day.

Roger also made mention of the Teenage Cancer Trust in London. He said this show was particularly fun because of the “real” Duran Duran fans in attendance at the show.

For the band, 2014 was really about finishing the album. Roger claims that the album “really is nearly finished”, saying that they are spending 10-12 hours a day in the studio to get it done.  Something tells me they’re hoping to be finished by the new year, if not Christmas. I’ll say that by the way Nick looked in the Lindsay Lohan photo from earlier today, he’s never left that studio! He had a bit of the “I-am-crazed-and-haven’t-left-the-studio-in-a-few-days” look going on there.

Roger Taylor looks ahead to 2015

Roger says he’s looking forward to people hearing the new album, and playing again. He says that they are steadily building towards that moment when it is released from the studio, which feels like a moment of freedom. He continued, saying that they need to work on the business-side and get that completed in the next few months and then hopefully if all goes well we will actually hear new music by April or May, but maybe not the entire record.  (Let me just say that this is the third or fourth year in a row we’ve heard something similar…and it’s getting tougher and tougher to believe or even have ANY kind of understanding of what sort of album we’re going to be getting.)

Roger says he’s working on “Durantime”…which in turn Katy likened to the movie, Interstellar.  I’m not sure if any of you have seen that, but basically the astronauts think they’ve only been gone two years when in fact they’ve been gone something like twenty-three. There’s that whole time-warp thing, you know. Roger Taylor, ever-the-sensible-one, replied half under his breath,  “Oh, don’t say that…the NEXT album could very well be that way!” (That’s not a good plan unless they’re looking to have all the Duranies show up on various band member doorsteps to motivate them….just saying.)

They finish up with Katy asking about an album title, of which there still is not one (Yes there is – it’s #DD14, don’t you know?!?), and Roger saying “Time does fly in between Duran Duran albums” when Katy mentions that her son Tanner was just a baby when All You Need is Now was released, and Roger’s son Julian hadn’t even been born.

You’re right Roger, time DOES fly.  Four years is a very long time, even by Duran Duran standards.




Do They Know It’s Christmas, Take Four

Bob Geldof says there’s no way he’s going to rerecord every Duranie’s favorite Christmas tune, “Do They Know It’s Christmas”….except that it turns out he is.  In what he claims to be “the worst-kept secret ever”, Bob Geldof announced today that there will in fact be a new version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, available next week. This time, the lyrics are being reworked for the Ebola crisis and will feature recording artists that are more than likely much more notable to today’s teens than those of us still clinging on to the original “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by our fingernails.

I didn’t realize that this would be the fourth version of the song (clearly I really am stuck in the 80s and I just can’t quite believe I’m the only one), so before we get much further, let’s take a quick look back:

Band Aid I

This version is our most beloved from 1984, and is the one that I hear whenever it’s played on the radio.

Band Aid II

This version was recorded in 1989. The lyrics were rearranged in a traditional “verse and chorus”. It apparently reached number one for Christmas and included the following performers:

  • Bananarama
  • Big Fun
  • Bros
  • Cathy Dennis
  • D Mob
  • Jason Donovan
  • Kevin Godley
  • Glen Goldsmith
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Pasadenas
  • Chris Rea
  • Cliff Richard
  • Jimmy Somerville
  • Sonia
  • Lisa Stansfield
  • Technotronic
  • Wet Wet Wet
Band Aid 20

This was recorded in November 2004 for the 20th anniversary of the recording, and also reached number one.  This version featured an extra rap segment by Dizzee Rascal during the “here’s to you” section.

Which brings us to the present, Band Aid 30, which is set to record next Saturday.  Coldplay (contributing from Los Angeles), Jessie Ware, Paloma Faith, and Sinead O’Connor have signed on to record the newest version. Interestingly enough, Bono is the only artist to sing the same line in the original and recent versions, and he is set to record with the yet-to-be-fully-announced group on Saturday.  Geldof mentions that other “giants” of rock and roll have yet to be announced.

While I applaud the idea of doing something to fund the campaign against Ebola – dealing with the problem at it’s source, I have to wonder if this version will ever reach the heights that the original, beloved original once did. The original song was a first, it was wholly unique, and dammit – it featured Simon LeBon.