Roadie #42 – Blog #43

Oct 25, 2008

Just when it looked like we were going to be settled into a long run of arena shows, out of the left field somewhere comes a theatre show for an internet company! It’s a Yahoo! session and we’re at the Hammerstein Ballroom. It’s a beautiful venue in Manhattan, literally around the corner from Madison Square Garden. It could easily have been a real nightmare trying to shift gears on the touring juggernaut like this. In reality, it’s made very easy for us by the folks who’ve been putting this thing together. Obviously, we’re not putting the arena production in. No balls, no lasers, no screens, just the band’s gear – the Yahoo! folks are taking care of the rest. It’s a simple setting, but it looks very classy.

For me, it’s amazing to see how legitimate the idea of "internet music shows" have become. In recent memory, the experience of watching a "webcast" of a gig meant a video window not much larger than a postage stamp that mostly showed the word "buffering". At the gig, there would generally be a couple of guys with laptops and video cameras looking rather nervous, spending an awful lot of the day swearing at the screen and shaking their heads. Today, you wouldn’t really know the difference between this and a full TV show. It’s really only the live element of proceedings that’s missing. In another ten years, when bandwidth finally allows us, I can’t imagine any live event won’t be shared around the world with whoever is interested. People will be sitting at bus-stops watching arenas full of people having the time of their lives. People will be social networked up around the globe, discussing and enthusing in real time as the set unfolds. People will probably be streaming it from their mobile phones and you’ll be able to skip around the room from one fan to another to see who’s got the best view. I wish the future would hurry up…

Meanwhile, here and now, the guys are giving Yellow a spanking. I wander out into the crowd for a look. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but this song seems to have undergone something of a rebirth on this tour. It sounds very fresh, vibrant and alive. It’s always been a crowd pleaser, plainly – but it’s got a bouncing, grooving joy about it this time that I don’t remember having seen for a very long time. Watching them crank it out in a tiny theatre such as this is doubly resonant, as the time when they were regularly playing venues this size was way back when this song was in its prime…

With the setlist finished, there is a short question and answer session to do. The questions here come from members of the audience. Topics are wide ranging and bring the best out of the fellas. It’s often easy to forget that they are actually very funny blokes and today serves as a good reminder. It’s been a top day, really. They (whoever they are) say that a change is as good as a rest and today has certainly been a most enjoyable stray off the regular touring treadmill. I’m not sure when this’ll ‘air’ on Yahoo!, but I reckon it’s worth a look for all you web-savvy Coldplayers.

Roadie #42