Wednesday Jul 22, 2009

Coldplay at Shoreline was ... WOW!

Caught Coldplay at the Shoreline Amphitheater last week, after a fabulous dinner at Fiesta del Mar.

I don't know how many times I've seen them in concert, but this was the second time I've seen them on this tour. I feel like a teenager still sometimes ;)

I couldn't get any information from the Shoreline staff who the opening bands were, but the first one was a groovin' rockabilly type sound with lots of harmonica, and the second was an African soul group (heavy on bass and some pretty fantastic dancers). Both very different from each other and not at all like Coldplay's music, but very enjoyable all the same.

In between bands, they played a band that sounded like the Cocteau Twins, but wasn't. It was very good - anyone have any idea who it could've been?

This concert was spectacular. Coldplay is one of the few bands that I've seen that really interact with the audience and care about giving a top notch performance, not just a rehash of their albums. The Shoreline concert featured a different line up than when I saw them in the HP Pavilion (and the sound was a hundred times better. I love the HP Pavilion staff, but that place was NOT designed for acoustics!).

This show even featured some new tracks of the album, Left Right Left Right Left, which they gave to every attendee that night. Cool bonus that really made us feel that we were actually getting our money's worth (though I was still happy we didn't have to pay any TicketMaster monopoly fees since I bought the tickets directly from the box office).

Some happy moments of mine from the show:

When I saw them testing their lasers before Coldplay came out, I couldn't help but hear "Where my lasers at? Yo!" ala Coach Z.

Realizing that cell phones have completely replaced lighters at concerts and totally appreciated the lack of smoke (though, must be challenging to get those lasers to work! yo!)

Being told "There's an App for that!" (yes, an app... for an iPhone.. to make it look like you're holding up a lighter. \*sigh\*)

Hearing Blue Danube play and reminiscing about the number of times we played that tune on water glasses at the Gaslighter. Getting the correct variety of glasses to get all of the pitches, keeping them tuned, and staying all together was a feat of magnificent talent that we somehow pulled off most nights.

Loved the big giant yellow balloons floating around all sections that were filled with confetti during the song, Yellow. It made us all feel as if we were part of the performance. The balloons bouncing along, each of us reaching for them, sometimes they burst and released their confetti. Very cool. Very surreal.

Using our cellphones (everyone had one) and doing the Mexican Cell Phone wave. Not sure why Coldplay referred to it as such, perhaps it originated in Mexico?

Thrilled when the band did an acoustic tribute to Michael Jackson, doing a fantastic rendition of Billie Jean from the lawn.

Thinking, "Those who are dead, are not dead, they're just living in my head" is true. None of you will ever be forgotten by me.

The music was phenomenal, the performance was intense. Wow.


Tuesday May 26, 2009

Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction - wow!

Wow, what a show! My husband and I caught Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction at the Shoreline Amphitheater on Friday night. Thanks to the resident purchase program at Shoreline, we got great seats - we were surrounded by people with band passes. Perfectly center, front section.. okay at the back of that section, but fantastic all the same!

Street Sweeper Social Club opened - very reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine, which I understand there is some membership overlap. Very cool, very interesting opening band.

I was very surprised when the next band was Nine Inch Nails - I guess since Jane's Addiction had broken up so long ago, I expected them to be the opener.  All the same, Trent and the rest of the band were AMAZING.  It has been way too long since I've listened to my NIN albums. I had forgotten how I just get swept up in the lyrics and can't help but dance.  My desire to enter a mosh pit was nearly overwhelming, as was my desire to write code. Odd that the two emotions were so intertwined. ;-)  I was happy that they did Head Like a Hole and Hey Pig. It's also cool knowing that Trent Reznor is one of the nicest guys in rock and roll. I got to meet some people sitting around us that knew him, and an old friend of mine from Chicago, Stella Katsoudas,  had recorded some music with him in the past (while I got to hear the tracks, they were never officially released by a label).

During the NIN set, I noticed a familiar face rockin' out one row up and a few seats to the right - Matt, a man I used to work with in my first job at Sun. Something like 20,000 people in that amphitheater and I run into someone I know. Small world!

Jane's Addiction surprised me by doing nearly completely revamped versions of most of their songs - many I didn't even recognize until I'd catch myself singing along to the words! Musically they were completely new songs. Much harder, more intense - a surprisingly excellent follow-up to NIN.  Perry Farrell also promised to not let one jerk ruin the show for everyone, which I can only guess was in reference to his old propensity to leave stage if someone threw something up onto the stage. As I had my first Jane's concert ruined by a jerk who threw a show at Perry, I was relieved to know he had learned more patience in the last 15 years. They seemed to have the classic line-up as well.

Jane's Addiction closed with a fantastic classic rendition of "Jane Says", complete with the steel drums and acoustic guitars.  The show started on time (7PM) and the bands made quick time of changing equipment. NIN and Jane's played hard and long - with the show going solidly til 11:30PM.  It is such a relief to actually get my money's worth from a concert where the bands are working together like well oiled machines - no screwing around, no stopping and starting of songs. Just good music, played well and played with passion.  Of course, someone should've told Perry that we weren't in San Francisco ;-)

Other than Matt, did any of the rest of you catch them this time around?

Monday Feb 23, 2009

Shoreline Amphitheater saves seats for residents

I went this Sunday to the Shoreline Amphitheater to buy tickets for an upcoming Coldplay concert, as I hate paying the "convenience" fees to the online ticket retailer. I like to go to the box office on Sundays, because Shoreline waives their own convenience fee, too.  There's no way to get out of the stupid parking fee (charged per ticket, regardless of if you drive to the amphitheater or not). All the same, I said "Two tickets for Coldplay" and the attendant said "Only lawn left". Fine. Then I heard a man at the next window telling the customer that they may as well set up his Mountain View Residency card while he was there.  That triggered an old memory of when Shoreline used to do presale for residents, a program I thought had expired, since it is no longer mentioned on their website.  When I asked my cashier about it, she said, yes, Shoreline still does that & presale is for every show - two days in advance of regular sale at the box office or online. Thinking it was too late to do anything about the Coldplay show that had already been on sale for two weeks, while I was there I might as well set up my residency for the next concert. With just my driver's license and car registration, she did it right then & there, then informed me that there were still some reserved seats left for Mountain View residents.

I guess these were the leftovers from the presale that had not yet sold! She told me that they continue to hold them for residents until the show date gets closer. Very cool!  Of course, I don't actually have the tickets, as they have implemented a new procedure to prevent scalping where they only give you a voucher instead of tickets.  I'll need to pick them up day of show, which is a nuisance, but as I dislike scalpers, I guess it's worth it.

Thursday Dec 11, 2008

Here we come a caroling...

Okay, actually there we went.  Today was the annual Sun Caroling day.  We went from building to building in Menlo Park spreading holiday cheer, including a few lesser known Hanuka songs. Carol of the Bells, Psallite and 12 Bugs of Christmas seemed to be the favorites this year. I know I've been so busy rehearsing for Babes in Hollywood that I had a hard time keeping some of the harmonies for the classic holiday songs in my head. Too used to singing melody on those, I suppose.
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Valerie's former weblog. The new one can be found at http://bubbva.blogspot.com/

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