Friday, October 03, 2008
Up until 7.00 last night, I had given up hope of going to see Coldplay here in Rotterdam. Originally, I'd booked for the only concert they were going to do in the Netherlands at Arnhem. However, in May, the venue was changed to Rotterdam, and the ticketing company assured me that my booking had been transferred to the new venue too. At first sight, this looked great. My favourite 21st century band was playing in my home town and I wouldn't have to travel across the country to see them. However, I had some misgivings about this change, and asked for further assurance that the booking was confirmed. I got it, but even so, things went wrong.
In the week to yesterday, I spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone and on the Internet trying to find out why my tickets hadn't arrived. Eventually, the ticket company told me they were very sorry, they wouldn't be able to send them, as the suppliers had not provided them. All indications were that when the venue was changed, those who had booked for Arnhem were 'forgotten' and all the tickets re-sold. I was devastated, and made my feelings known widely around the Internet, and also on the Coldplay website's Oracle page.
Well, this was the best thing I could have done. I never expected those around a band of Coldplay's fame would be bothered about a single fan's disappointment, but I was so wrong. The Oracle not only sympathised with my situation, but actively tried to help me, and when that failed, passed my tale of woe on to the Band's liaison manager. The result was amazing!
At 7.10 last night, I received a mail telling me where to go and collect two tickets for the show, which was due to begin at 8.00. I couldn't believe it; didn't believe it in fact. I called Jodie, my daughter, straight away and screamed at her to get over to Rotterdam now now now! She was going to come with me in the first place and was equally disappointed when the tickets didn't show.
I think she must have broken all speed records to get here, but it was only by 8.15 that we were on our way. Luckily, there was a support act on first, so we didn't feel too badly about missing them as long as we were there in time for the beginning of the main event.
On arrival at the stadium, we were even more amazed to be sent to a special door, marked 'Gasten van Coldplay'. We suddenly realised we were the band's guests! Wow and even more wow! It turned out that they had put us on the guest list so that we could get the two tickets, and we had the absolute best seats. We had a moment's fear when our tickets wouldn't go through the scanning machine, and we had to wait in trepidation while the security guy went off to check them. Such relief, though, when he came back and smiled us through.
In fact, in the end, we were so close to the stage, we could practically see every bead of perspiration on Chris Martin's face. The Ahoy is a very large venue, so the risk of being too far to really see anything was quite serious. The concert was fantastic. If I had to write a list of all my Coldplay faves, they played them all, plus most of the tracks from their Viva La Vida album. They started with Clocks and finished, very fittingly, with Yellow. Their energy, charm and sense of fun infected the whole audience. Chris Martin is just such an unbelievably nice person, and he makes even a venue like the Ahoy feel warm and intimate, and that the audience are all his personal friends.
Twice, they made forays into the audience to play songs surrounded by stunned and happy fans. The second time, they turned up right at the back of the auditorium 'up in the gods' and sang two songs there. The look on the faces of the people around them was enough to show how well these guys win hearts and minds with their empathic attitude. With an awesome light show, reflected on swirling orbs above the stadium, and the eruption of the audience every time they started one of their best known songs, it was a concert I will remember as one of the best ever.
What I will remember even more, though, is the kindness and caring of Coldplay's support group. Firstly the Oracle, whose name I don't know, and secondly, the wonderful fan liaison manager, Debs. Without these two, Jodie and I would still be nursing sorry and disappointed hearts for missing this rare visit to our shores by my most favourite group of musical geniuses this side of the millenium! Thank you so very much for making it happen for us, guys. We will never forget it.