Thursday, April 06, 2017

Coldplay in Manila!

I can finally tick this one off my bucket list. I joined 35,000 people at the SM Mall of Asia grounds on April 4 to watch Coldplay perform during the Manila leg of their "A Head Full of Dreams" tour. (Was the crowd just really 35,000? It felt like there were a lot more people!) I was in line at 3pm, the earliest I have ever fallen in line at a concert. Since there were no seats at the grounds, I wanted to make sure I got as close to the front of my section as possible. Despite queuing up early, there were still hordes of people in front of me. Luckily though, I was able to make it to the front of my section. We were also very fortunate that the weather was great - it was neither too hot nor was it raining.

It was around 9pm when Coldplay finally appeared on stage. The moment the lights came on and the screens lit up, the energy of a crowd that was tired from being on their feet for hours was significantly boosted and wild cheers erupted from everyone, including myself. I couldn't believe I was there amidst a crowd watching a band whose music I had loved for years and that I desperately wanted to see live. It was incredible!

only one of two photos I got to take that night before my phone battery died

They played music from all their albums, making it a truly magical night for all their fans. The show was made even more spectacular by the incredible lights and fireworks display and the bursts of confetti. They played many of my favorites, including Fix You, Yellow, The Scientist, and Viva La Vida. Probably my favorite moment was when Chris Martin asked everyone to send love and positive energy to a part of the world that needed it, such as Syria, before he put on a powerfully moving performance of Everglow. The fans also loved the fact that he performed a short made-up song specially for the Philippines (Chris said that he was just making it on the spot but I have this feeling that it was prepared beforehand. :))

video uploaded by 316jet

He also asked people to send love to one of his fans, Ken, who couldn't be in the concert that night because he was battling stage 4 cancer. Chris actually visited Ken before the concert and performed Ink, which Ken had requested. Read more about this touching story here.

Amidst all of this, there were many challenges that conspired to make that evening miserable for me. I wasn't allowed to bring my point-and-shoot camera inside (even if the policy said that only pro cameras were not allowed) so I had to leave it in the baggage claim which meant additional queuing before I could head home. The very bad phone signal resulted in my phone battery getting drained just as the concert started, meaning that without a phone and a camera, I was only able to take one photo right at the start of the show. The audience sections were also changed, with the VIP section being enlarged and pushing everyone else further back so it wasn't good for all of us who weren't in the VIP section. Also, my xyloband very sadly didn't work so I somehow felt just a little left out when the xylobands were changing colors to fit the music and add to the amazing light show.

My plan to hitch a ride home with my friend who was in a different section also failed because my phone went dead. With thousands of people trying to get taxis or Uber and Grab rides to get home, I decided to walk all the way to Solaire resort where I had a very late dinner before queuing for a taxi. It was 2AM when I got home and after being on my feet for about 10 hours, I had a couple of blisters. Still, the concert was worth all the difficulties. Coldplay is one of my favorite musical artists and they have written some of my favorite songs. Watching them perform live is an experience I won't ever forget.

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