Jenn — I’m sorry for taking away from your experience. I’m sorry for being selfishly distant when all you wanted to do was share a special moment with me. I’m sorry. I’m really fucking sorry. I know how unattractive I must be to you right now. I know how shitty I look for projecting my misery onto you. I shouldn’t have let his misery surge through me. I am stronger than that. All I showed was weakness tonight. I always find myself apologizing for not breathing. If only I stopped to breathe more, I’d waste less breath on avoidable apologies.
I’m usually hard on myself. But, what I did before Coldplay was just f*cking stupid. And very expensive, emotionally and monetarily. I didn’t even want to write about it. No, no, I’m not referring to Coldplay — their performance surpassed all expectations and redefined the way I view concerts (yes, seriously) — I’m talking about the circumstances immediately prior. Namely, facing defeat.
When you try your best, but you don’t succeed.”
This was to be my 15 year-old nephew’s very first concert. My plan was to create a perfect experience. I know what you’re thinking — I surely ruined concerts for him forever, starting him out with an unmatchable Chris Martin production. While this is true, there was a great and unexpected challenge coupling the night.
Jenn purchased two tickets when they went on sale. Two weeks before the show, she decided she wasn’t going to go because she couldn’t figure out how to make it work financially after her friend backed out of the trip. I offered to go. It sounded awesome — we could fly up for cheap, rent a car for cheap, stay with my sister in New York for free, hang out with my nephews, and go see Coldplay. Jenn and I had connections to the tour and we requested press access for good measure. We were covered, or so it seemed.
Everything came crashing down the day of the show. We were denied press access the morning of the show. My friend who was working the tour found out they were on some kind of lockdown and couldn’t get any guests in. Jenn’s friend didn’t respond to anything we sent him the day of the show. We were forced to come up with Plan C.
I had the idea we could buy some premium seats and offer them to a couple sitting next to us, so my sister, nephew, and I, could all sit next to each other — you know, since they drove 3 hours to get there, and we flew across the country. We quickly found a friendly scalper and began our negotiation. Floor seats were expensive. But, there would be no better bargaining tool. We agreed on $280 for two floor tickets, two sections from the stage. No one will pass these up, I confidently thought. He calls his friend over who has the floor seats. I made my purchase and thanked him.
We hurry through security and scan our tickets with smiles. Large red Xs appear on the scanner and my stomach drops. Fuck. We got fucked. I can’t believe this. I go to the box office and explain. They tell me I am holding fake tickets. Adding insult to injury, the box office attendant writes a bold VOID before handing them back. I’m panicking. I have to find the guy. Fuck. I run back to where he was. It was a 5 minute run. Where is he? I’m furious. I’m thinking unreasonably. He’s gone. I’m hating him. I’m hating his friend that he was partnered up with. I’m hating his existence — he’s the fucking problem in this world, he’s the reason why some people hate others or anything. He’s a dark source perpetuating evil from his bottom feeding, empty soul, maniacally scratching for whomever he can use for a temporary moment to feel that he matters. He doesn’t. He never will. He will die meaningless and miserable.
That is the mood I slid into. I was defeated, angry. I should have made him walk to the gate with me. Or, done several other things to question his integrity. I should have made him feel the way I pictured him — below me. I was mad at this evil character I fiercely painted, but my guts twisted at the knowledge that the only person I had to blame was myself.
I fucked up. It was a poor decision to not “think twice.” Maybe he didn’t know the ticket was fake. Maybe he was just trying to help out. Maybe he really was just an asshole who took my money and bounced. And, maybe I’m a hypocritical asshole, who is getting well-deserved karma with interest, because years ago I sold a copy of a lawn ticket to a scalper in Tampa for $20. My best advice? Never trust a scalper. Buy tickets from the band or directly from the venue. Buy their merch at the show instead of online. Reduce your risk of making the same foolish mistake I made.
Time was ticking. I swallow my pride and disappointed looks from my sibling. We go directly to the box office and purchase two real tickets. We’re now up to $710 for 4 Coldplay tickets. I approach security with my tail tucked, but we made it. And, my nephew learned a valuable lesson from this.
My expectations of Coldplay live were to see a good, over-produced, even a bit diluted show, and have a decent experience — that’s where I was wrong. The experience was unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve never felt more special at a concert in my entire life.
We walk in the venue (venue, hah, stadium that holds 70,000 people), and are handed a clear bracelet with a small plastic box attached to it. We find our seats as the lights fall down. Coldplay begins with the tour title track, “A Head Full of Dreams,” and waste no time going into “Yellow.” Everyone’s hands go up then the entire place begins to glow yellow. These little boxes on our wrists light up with LEDs synched to the music — they flash to the bass drum, they randomize energetic colors during “Paradise,” and they provide a degree of connectedness I’ve never consciously captured before. I feel like I belong. We were all being guided by lights. 😉
There’s such a special power presented through live music. You can actually hear me saying “I feel so much better,” to Jenn at the 0:26 mark of the video I recorded of “Fix You.” My nephew and sister ended up having the best time. Everything ended up being okay. Coldplay has honesty bleeding through every ounce of their performance. It felt like I was in an intimate room watching my friends perform. They pushed the pain I built passive aggressively out of my pores. Their energy drew my smiles from the inside and pulled them right out onto my frustrated face. I have never experienced such a great financial loss at something that was designed to be so uplifting. Someone tried to take a piece and peace away from me. Coldplay refused to allow me to feel such negativity.
Yes, that’s Chris Martin laying on the floor feeding us the beginning of “Fix You.” Coldplay performed on three different stages throughout the two and a half hours. They paid tribute to Bowie on the main stage (“A Stage”), covering “Heroes,” and used the catwalk to access the “B Stage” in the middle of the floor for a few, then walked through the audience to get really close for Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” and one of my favorites, “In My Place,” on the “C Stage.”
It’s hard to sound intelligent when you’re still trying to digest the emotions a group of beautiful humans gifted to you. Coldplay reassembled my heart. Chris Martin and every single soldier of the band, the sound engineers, lighting techs, pyro techs, tour staff, management, everyone, built the best show production I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
Jenn — As I exhale, all I can think is, Thank You. Thank you for spreading comfort on my lower back, and holding your smiles a little longer, and my hands. Thank you for coming to me with solutions and pouring positivity into my frustrated ears. Thank you for helping me zoom out for just a minute and, most of all, for reaching both your arms down and lifting me up. You’re all that’s right in this world.
Fast forward to one week later. I’m handed an envelope and a note. Something was up. Something I would have never ever expected in a hundred years — my friends all got together and donated money to raise the amount I lost. I am usually pretty good at taking compliments and criticism and feedback and love … but I found myself unable to process the incredible feelings of kindness and support and love and togetherness I felt from some of the most special people in the entire world to me. I was overwhelmed to the point of tears. These are the people who are right in the world. We are the people who will save humanity, one broken heart at a time.
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REGGAE RISE UP MUSIC FESTIVAL
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