Kaotican Alphabet

Roadie #42 – Blog #12

#42 reports on a magical night in Vegas

San Jose sees set-list tweakage continue. The LA shows have gone very well and feedback has largely been extremely positive. The band, however, aren’t really ones for auto-pilot. Everyone is very pleased with the show, but the search for the ultimate knockout punch continues. To this end, Politik is pulled out of storage and gets a good airing. I can’t really see the point in ever doing a Coldplay show without it myself. It is truly monstrous live and tonight is no exception. It’s very good to see it back! From where I am through the gig it feels like the first utterly solid show. Inevitably, my response to the gig is largely built on whether things have technically worked or not – and tonight is very smooth on that front, which is very gratifying this early in the tour. As soon as we get into the vehicle for the ride home, the band are discussing other ways to improve the flow and refine the set. It’s all subtle tweaks, but at this point, improvements are based on many tiny changes, rather than single grand gestures. One more show and then two glorious days off…

We hit the ground in Vegas and Tour Manager Franksy finds the Tannoy mic at the back of the plane to welcome everyone with his finest Elvis impression. Outside the window, the vehicles that meet us have multiplied into a true cavalcade to accommodate the selection of LA’s finest who’ve accompanied us for a Saturday night jolly. Chris remarks that looking out at them on the tarmac makes him feel like the president of soft rock. It’s almost the perfect arrival, spoiled only by the minor detail that the steps they’ve bought for disembarking turn out to be the wrong size. We all sit back down as the man with the ladder-on-a-van turns tail and heads off in search of something that fits.

It seems it’s been a tough day for the rest of the crew. When we arrive, I overhear someone on radio saying "I gotta go get breakfast". Given that it’s 5pm when we arrive, it seems safe to say it’s been a busy day here. After the ten hour drive from loading out in San Jose, the trucks only arrived at 11am, which means they’ve performed nothing short of miracles to get the show up and ready in only a fraction of the time they usually have. Hats off folks!

Though everyone is happy to be in town, there is a slight concern pre-show. Vegas crowds can be pretty hard to impress. It’s not like they’re short of options for how to entertain themselves of an evening – and more than that, I think sometimes folks can be just plain over-stimulated. Lets face it, any town that can take in its stride hotels with their own roller coasters, next to pyramids, sphynxes and full-sized pirate ships is going to find a few flashing lights and a pop group pretty uninspiring.

Or are they?

It would appear not! The crowd are utterly bonkers from the off. So much so, that I spend the majority of the evening with one earplug out so I can take in the sound of the crowd. I’m wondering if it’s the loudest Viva La Vida singalong so far, or whether it’s just that I’ve never been listening for it before. My question is answered when the song finishes and the crowd simply carry on singing. They roar the chorus on alone and it’s utterly wonderful. It’s the kind of football chant-style crowd noise that I’ve only really ever heard before in South America or certain parts of Europe and here they are in a "hard to impress town" giving it loads! Inevitably, the enthusiasm of the crowd drives the band on to new heights. I don’t want to spend the whole tour writing "it was a great show" in this journal, but tonight was truly remarkable, it has to be said.

See you in a few days…