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Much Staff Picks: My First Time (with Coldplay)

September 19th, 2011

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Coldplay.

It was July 31, 2008. A week earlier, I packed up my life in Calgary and flew to Toronto for a job here at MuchMusic. Over the course of seven days, I’d said goodbye to my closest friends and family, moved to a new city, hunted for an apartment and started a new job. Life was hectic.

But in the midst of all that, there was one thing on my to-do list that would eventually bring me great comfort – “Buy Coldplay ticket.”

The band was set to play two nights at the Air Canada Centre. Thankfully, I found a single seat available for the second show on Ticketmaster – a lonely bastion of hope in Row 50 (!!!) on the floor. Having never seen the band live before, I didn’t mind I was going alone – I just needed to be there. I added $114.25 to a credit card already ravaged by a one-way airfare, damage deposits and Ikea furniture, and ended up having a totally priceless concert experience.

The show opened with the lush instrumental Life in Technicolor and segued into Violet Hill. I made fast friends with the strangers next to me as we belted out the chorus, “If you love me, won’t you let me know?” Clocks was next, and tugged at my homesick heartstrings with the refrain, “Home, home, where I wanted to go.” It wasn’t until a choir of beautiful Toronto voices drowned out Chris Martin on the next track that I truly started to feel In My Place.

I’ve been to hundreds of concerts in my life – but if you put me on the spot and asked for a “favourite moment” over the years, I could answer, “Fix You,” and be satisfied with my response. To see and hear this song in concert is not just to see and hear it – you feel it in every cell of your being (or at least I did). I’m certain I’m not the only one who felt goose bumps after the first note of the song reverberated through the arena. I’m certain I’m not the only one who got a little choked up hearing 20,000 people harmonize on the chorus. I’m certain I’m not the only one who was overcome by total euphoria the moment Jonny Buckland joined in on guitar. It’s an incredible song (not just by Coldplay standards) that will arguably go down in history as their best. I’ll always associate one lyric with the week that had just passed: “If you never try, you’ll never know just what you’re worth.”

There were several highlights to follow. The band rolled along with more hits and new material, set up in the crowd for an acoustic performance, sang Happy Birthday to drummer Will Champion and showered the crowd with neon confetti shaped like butterflies; I caught one before it touched the floor and kept it as a souvenir of the first concert in my new home.

I haven’t seen the band since that night, which is why I’m crazy excited about this Wednesday! In case you forgot we’re just days away from Rogers Presents: Live in the Lot with Coldplay! Queen Street will be closed to traffic and open for everyone who didn’t get a wristband, so come downtown and be a part of this amazing experience. If you can’t be here in person, make sure to tune in at 9ET/6PT on MuchMusic and for the hour-long, commercial-free performance.

I promise you won’t forget it.

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