We arrive into the Saratoga Springs venue a little late. Well OK, we’re a couple months late. This is the show that had to be re-scheduled from our last US leg. The route in seems to lead us through a wood, which is all rather pleasant for a summer’s afternoon. The venue itself is a little unusual. It’s a shed, like most of the others we’ve done in the States recently – a stage and a covered area with a lawn at the back. Here though, there is a balcony too.
Jonny recently said that sheds were like "doing a festival and a theatre at the same time". The balcony here means that you almost can’t see the lawn and it feels more like doing a theatre with no walls where you can see a lot of trees all about the place.
The management office is where I usually hang out before the show if there’s space. Today, the management office is huge and located right next door to the dressing room. Elbow strike up their soundcheck. I consider going out to watch them, but decide I’d better get some work done. They finish a run through "One Day Like This" and there is a strange piano coda I’ve never heard before added on to the end.
Slowly, I locate the sound and realise that it’s not coming from the stage at all. It’s the dressing room piano. Someone has been playing along with their soundcheck, working out the chords. My money’s on Mr. Champion…
The universal adoration of our new friends becomes clear when their set begins and the enclave of Coldplay roadies watching their set swells from just myself and Andy Bramley to at least half a dozen assorted Coldplay crew. Finally, come Grounds For Divorce, I look to my left and none other than Mr Phil Harvey is down here in the pit with us singing along at the top of his lungs.
The slightly unusual layout of the venue means that not only does it look a bit different to us from the stage, but clearly for the folks in the balcony, the B and C stages are going to look either a bit strange, if not invisible. They make it through God Put A Smile and Talk on the B, before Chris decides to pull the plug and do the Hardest Part and Postcards from back on the main stage.
Inevitably, this generates a ripple of confusion through the crew. What’s going to happen with the C-stage? If they’re going to nix that too, we’d better move fast. It’s a tough choice: deprive the folks who’ve been sat right at the back the chance to get close to the band, or go out back and disappear from view leaving the folks in the balcony only the video screens?
They plough out there, deciding to get in amongst it at the back and it’s the right choice. Chris apologises profusely to the balcony in the encores, but it’s been the best way to deal with an odd layout, I think and a good solid show all around.
All that remains is to head back to NYC for a couple of days off in a row. Sheer luxury. It’s stormy and wet again, but to be honest, I hadn’t planned on venturing into the outside world a whole lot anyways.
Over the course of the two days though, I spend a lot of time listening to other people’s record collections. iTunes has this feature where you can share your library with others on the same network, which means when you are on hotel wi-fi, plenty of other folks stuff turns up. I’ve always had this feature turned off just as a safeguard against forgetting that I have anything work-related in my iTunes library.
For the two days off though, I have a lovely time wandering through other folks’ libraries. I was having a discussion the other day with Dan Green that the whole aspect of displaying your record collection as a representation of who you were and of course the reverse, when you used to go to someone’s house and stand there surveying their collection and passing silent judgement.
I come across one library that is so painfully hip that I can almost pinpoint the magazines the owner must read and feel like I can picture their very haircut. To my surprise, as I scroll through, I spy Coldplay in the artists section. Ah, only Parachutes and a couple of B-sides. Music-snob cred still intact. You wanna check ’em out now mate. They’ve still got it…