Kaotican Alphabet

Roadie #42 – Blog #100

In which #42 reaches his century

So then, the hundredth blog. I suppose I should be doing something special for the end of the first century. Let’s face it though folks, every single one of them is special…. (This is another way of saying that if I wait until I’ve had time to do something uber-cool, we’ll be stuck on 99 forever, so we’d better move swiftly along).

The Dusseldorf show was covered admirably by Mr Anchorman, so there’s not too much to add there. In all honesty, all I remember about that particular day is the insane distances involved in getting anywhere. The vehicles drop us in an underground carpark. If the stadium viewed from above is a clock-face, the vans are at three o’clock. The dressing rooms appear to be at around eleven and several floors up. Getting to the stage involves a clockwise walk underground to six which feels a lot like walking halfway home to England.

From the stage (six), I often walk out to the mix tent to set up cameras and so on. For reasons best known to themselves, the stadium security require me to walk all the way up to the back of the stadium (twelve) and then back down to where the tent is set up off centre (nine). Oh well, it’s not like I couldn’t use the exercise…

We get in to Munich pretty late and it’s an early show. This means we’re on site for under four hours – including the show. There’s just enough time to grab some food, work out where the dressing rooms are and get on with it. Sometimes it’s all you can do just to hang on and not get left behind…

A stage time of 8pm, means that the fellas go onstage in the tail end of daylight. It’s quite encouraging to see that the show still works very well indeed without the need for total blackout. By In My Place, we’re well into dusk and the sight of the band out on the ramps amongst the arms-aloft crowd, set against a backdrop of fading sunset and silhouetted trees is about as idyllic as one could hope for a summer show.

The C-Stage is starting to work rather nicely again. It’s required a few tweaks to get it as effective as it has been in the arenas and sheds. We’re back to that glorious feeling that the band are just a little island of light in amongst the crowd. Tonight, Chris decides for some reason that Mr Champion should sing the falsetto parts during Billie Jean. At first Will is having none of it, but with some coaxing from the crowd, he pulls off an extremely impressive high voiced chorus. Never knew he had it in him!

Munich marks the birthday of Mr Phil Harvey, elusive fifth member, creative director and all round helmsman of the good ship Coldplay. Along with the band’s manager Dave Holmes, he’s steered the band through plenty of stormy water. He’s seen the band go from pedaloes on the Serpentine to the huge supertanker it’s become now. Here he is keeping watch from the mix tower. Happy Birthday Cap’n!

Another anniversary comes as Chris announces from the stage that guitar tech Craig “Hoppy” Hope today celebrates ten years of looking after the band. Back in England, it’s the weekend of Reading Festival. Hoppy first met the band when they played at Reading Festival in 1999. I’m led to believe by stories recounted by those who were there, that he made quite a striking impression that weekend.

Apparently, he’d been somewhat in the wars and greeted them cheerfully with a scarred and bruised face, sporting several stitches above the eye. Together with a ginger rock-a-billy quiff and 3 inch turn-ups at the ends of his Levis, he couldn’t help but make an impression. I’m told that the band, for some reason, were forced to play before the festival had opened its gates, meaning an audience of three people.

Times have changed, the crowds have grown, Hoppy’s ditched the quiff and had the stitches out. He’s still just about the loveliest fella you could hope to meet though and he’ll still have no trouble whatsoever drinking you under the table.

So, here’s to many happy returns for Mr Harvey, another ten years for Hoppy and ton up for the Blog.

Feels like there ought to be cake….