Thursday, July 31, 2008

Viva Coldplay!!

I'm back in the city after a couple of weeks away...just in time for the Coldplay concert at the Air Canada Centre last night.

If you're expecting a concert review, you've come to the wrong place. There is no way I could write an unbiased review so if you want to read about the concert, you can read a review here.

There are not many artists who will get me to the ACC (for those who don't know - it's a 15000 seating capacity arena). Coldplay is one of those that I would go anywhere to see.

I prefer to see bands when they are not as well known and are playing smaller venues. Fortunately, my favourite bands are British so although they play arenas in England, most are not as well known in North America so they will play 500-2000 capacity venues here. There's nothing like getting up close and personal with your favourite artists:

James Blunt at the Mod Club in 2005

Keane performing part of Fly To Me and Leaving So Soon at Kool Haus in 2007 (he comes closer to where I am)

At small venues, you can really feel the music...see the singer's emotions, the guitarist's skill, the keyboardist's fingers or the drummer's efforts. You can see the sweat pour from their bodies. You can see the interaction between the band members and between the band and the audience. It can give you a new appreciation for the songs. You really feel like they are playing for you.

As great as small venues can be, there is something to be said for arena shows.

My first concert at the Air Canada Centre was U2 from the second last row (almost behind the stage). Being so far away gives you an appreciation for the spectacle and the crowd, but it's not ideal (especially sound wise).

U2 ACC Sept 2005 (not my photo - but basically my view)

I saw Coldplay in 2006 from the lower bowl across from the stage at the ACC. The sound was much better. The view was great because we're elevated but they are so far away. I thought this would be my last Air Canada Centre concert.

But then, when I managed to get 3rd row floor seats for James Blunt, I couldn't resist.

I Really Want You performed at Air Canada Centre 2006.

Last night I was 30th row on the floors. It felt like a small venue because everyone was standing up from beginning to end. The confetti also fell on the floor crowd, which was a bonus. The seats are closer together on the floor (rather than in the stands) so you feel more part of the audience but having rows means that you're that much further from the stage (as compared with a small venue). In the stands, the row ahead of you is lower (as well as the stage) so your view of the stage is better.

Last night, I loved hearing the crowd sing and seeing people dancing. I did capture a few short moments.

Fix You Air Canada Centre July 30th, 2008

The beginning of Viva La Vida. I had hoped to record more for my son (as it's now his favourite song), but (to his chagrin) I decided to enjoy the moment and dance instead (perhaps in hindsight I would have preferred to get a bit more, but oh well...I really loved it last night and will remember that).

There is a fine line between getting enough footage (photos/videos) to preserve the memory and being too busy trying to capture the moment that you actually miss the live moment.

Unfortunately, in order to get a great photo, you do have to take a few. I am learning with experience when the chances are better to get a great photo (depending on the lighting). There were many songs I was able to fully appreciate last night because I knew there was no way to capture them well. So I completely enjoyed those songs. When the lighting was better, I snapped away and managed to get better photos than I expected from my location.

I was trying to decide if last night's concert was my best concert ever. It's difficult to compare them. Coldplay at the Kool Haus was so intimate, but it did not have the production of their arena shows. X&Y wasn't released yet for the intimate gig. Many of the songs were not known to the audience so the audience participation wasn't as great. The crowd participation definitely adds to the concert experience. Screaming women don't help the James Blunt concerts. Keane don't get the widespread audience participation that Coldplay get (yet). I haven't been close enough to U2 to have them be my best concert ever.

I love seeing the different perspective from different venues and different views. There are positives and negatives to all of them. It's difficult to choose just one concert as my favourite, but this one definitely is up there. Floor seats at an arena combines the intimacy of a small venue with the spectacle of an arena show. Perfect combination.

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