Let me start by saying there was no breakfast. Not even a muffin or a packet of instant coffee, which, at 6:30 in the morning, is something one might be in the mood for. No, there were no comestibles to be found within the recently-completed Red Bull Sound Space at KROQ in Los Angeles. There was just Coldplay, one of the biggest bands on the planet, performing a handful of new and old songs in an intimate theater setting for 100 of their most enthusiastic fans.
Actually, 101 if you count the precious cargo in the belly of the expectant mom next to me. Not a bad first concert, and not a bad way to break in Red Bull’s newest performance space.
The first thing that hits you about the space is just how cozy it is. Based off my conversation with someone in Coldplay’s camp, it’s probably the smallest spot with an audience that the band has played since they formed in 1996.
The amazing backdrop of speakers, turntables and stereo components came courtesy of a call to action from KROQ to its fans, who brought in their old equipment in exchange for a station t-shirt.
A huge black wall on the left side of the room will be the spot where all the visiting bands sign their names post-gig. The stage is elevated not more than a foot off the ground, and there’s no barricade between the band and the crowd.
A few fans took the opportunity to present lead singer Chris Martin with small gifts -- a book and a small ornament you can see dangling from his piano mic in a few shots -- and ask some questions of their own during the show’s commercial breaks.
Kevin and Bean and Coldplay
As they have for the past 21 years, iconic L.A. radio dudes Kevin and Bean hosted the morning performance, which lasted a healthy 90 minutes and kicked off with “Yellow,” the band’s first hit and the song that endeared them to KROQ back in 2000.
Bean was in rare form throughout the interview, joking with Martin and the rest of the “pasty British dudes” about everything from the pronunciation of the new album -- that would be my-lo zy-letoe -- to what song Guy Berryman is presently singing in the bath, which would be Aloe Blacc’s “I Need A Dollar.”
Their second song, “Paradise,” is relatively new to radio, but had all the swagger and romance of a classic Coldplay tune. After a few audience questions, the boys broke into “Viva La Vida,” prompting the morning’s biggest sing-along session.
Though no professional cameras were allowed into the venue, fans were able to use point-and-shoots and camera phones to pop off an unlimited number of pics. Couple that with ample but transparent security and it was like rocking out to a concert in your living room.
For their fourth song, they played another new tune, “Charlie Brown,” which lyrically speaks to a wandering, vagabond spirit of discovery; subject matter that’s right in Martin’s wheelhouse.
The band closed with “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall,” their first big tune off the new album, but the biggest round of applause seemed to come after they performed another fan favorite, “Fix You.” The set list had “Clocks” down as the second-to-last song, so it’s unclear whether or not the band called an audible and opted for the ballad over the uptempo jam, but it was the right move for sure. A few fans I spoke with after the show said it was the highlight of the set.
“My wife actually got teary-eyed during “Yellow,” said Brian Parkhill, the father-to-be in attendance. “With both of our older daughters, we would play Parachutes and A Rush Of Blood To The Head for them while they were falling asleep at night, so it was kind of nice to begin carrying on the tradition with our third daughter.”
At least a dozen more artists are scheduled to roll through the Red Bull Sound Space at KROQ throughout the year, so you’ll want to stay tuned. Still, you never forget your first, and seeing Coldplay -- a band that commands the full attention of Glastonbury-size crowds -- in a space like this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Source: ChinaShop Magazine
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