“…that’s the dream, that together we can do amazing stuff for the right reasons!” Author and event organizer Kelly Corrigan was left nearly speechless on stage as she reflected back on the amazing evening that closed with Coldplay’s Chris Martin and performers from the Oakland School for the Arts covering David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?”. All part of the annual Notes & Words: Benefit For UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland at Fox Theater on Saturday night. The sold out crowd of sponsors, donors and attendees took in a wide ranging selection of entertainment that also included a rocking performance from The Stone Foxes and readings from B.J. Novak and Dave Eggers. There was a lot of emotion throughout the night, though the majority of it was good humor and contagious joyfulness.
As with last year’s 2012 Year In Review, reflecting on the many shows attended in 2013 and trying to make some sense of it all was a challenge. Having attended nearly 100 events, which usually includes at least one supporting act and a headliner, as well as one 10-day festival and many multi-artist shows, I saw literally hundreds of sets. Miraculously, I can probably count on one hand the number that were “bad”, and the majority were awesome in one or more ways. Still, I feel it is important to highlight the best of the best of the best, in an attempt to celebrate an amazing year of music. You can also check out my Top 100 Concert Photos of 2013 in that separate article.
“Essentially, the word around here is grateful…” Chris Martin at his piano, backed by the Royal Academy of Music, opening the encore for the night with a cover of “White Christmas”. I’ve written quite a few articles about Coldplay in the past, so any who have read them would know that they are one of my favorite bands (along with Depeche Mode and Pixies). I hadn’t seen them live since their show in San Jose in April of 2012, so it has been a while. They took 2013 off as far as performing live goes, and have been in the studio working on new material. The band has always used their gifts and successes in music to help others, and one of the organizations that they’ve been a big supporter of is Kids Company in the UK. And, as per tradition, they tend to do a special show each year for Christmas and/or New Year’s, so this year it was another of their “Under 1 Roof” multi-artist events. Sharing the bill with them this year was Lily Allen, Ricky Gervais reprising his character from The Office performing as David Brent and Foregone Conclusion, magician Dynamo, and Rizzle Kicks, with Fearne Cotton hosting the evening, along with some surprise guests like Robbie Williams and Tim Rice-Oxley from Keane.
As is somewhat of a tradition, it was announced this month that Coldplay will be doing a special charity concert in London to benefit one of their favorite organizations, Kids Company, who provide practical, emotional, and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children and young people in London and Bristol. The special event, “Under 1 Roof: A Night For Kids Company”, will be held on December 19th at Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London. Joining Coldplay on stage will be Ricky Gervais, in character from The Office’s David Brent as David Brent and Foregone Conclusion, Lily Allen, magician Dynamo, and hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks, all hosted by Fearne Cotton. [Read more…]
This is the second and last of my 2012 “Year In Review” articles, though this one is mostly a pictorial. I went through the pictures I took at shows throughout 2012 and pulled out 100 of my favorites to republish here, in celebration of an amazing year for concerts and a fun year for me with photography. You can also check out my other Year in Review article with my Top 10 Live Music Concerts and Top 10 Studio Albums & Songs. [Read more…]
2012 was an amazing year for both new music and live concert events, and although writing this “year in review” proved to be a monumental task, it was fun for me to do it to relive some special moments and appreciate the opportunities I had over the past 12 months to find new music and attend so many awesome live shows. It’s funny because many concerts and tours are announced with little notice, so at the start of any given year, you don’t really know what to expect, and 2012 definitely held a lot of surprises. When all was said and done, I ended up going to 58 concerts in 2012, each of which featured anywhere from one to seven artists, so that is a lot of live performances.
Last night was a really historic and wonderful event by a little band called Ash. And I mean “little” in the most complimentary sense… a band that has stayed true to its roots and its fans. The group from Ireland celebrated their 20th anniversary in style, by really creating an event that celebrated their fans as much as themselves. This was most appropriately illustrated by their second of three (yes three!) sets, which transformed from an acoustic concert in a very small setting (which made the typical MTV Unplugged show look like a stadium gig by comparison) to a session of “Asheokie” (i.e. karoke, but with fans fronting for the band themselves). It was really unlike any show I’ve ever been to, and demonstrated a lot of class and, well, tremendous fan service. [Read more…]
So I was having dinner with a friend last night, telling her about Saturday’s Coldplay concert in San Jose (see “Coldplay at the HP Pavilion | San Jose, CA | 4/28/2012”). I had mentioned that after the show, I met Jason Regler, the inventor of the “xylobands”, the wrist bands handed out to concert goers to wear during the performance, which are activated over RF signal to light up (and light up with different flashing patterns) for different songs, at different times during the concert. These were first introduced for the “American Express Unstaged” concert in Madrid, which was directed by Anton Corbijn (see “Coldplay “Unstaged” at Plaza de Toros | Madrid, Spain | 10/26/2011”). In any event, since my friend has never seen Coldplay in concert, I thought I’d send her a link to one of the videos I shot during one of those sequences, so she could see just how awesome these are when employed during a show. That’s when a very strange thing happened, which I thought I’d share with the readers of the Rock Subculture Journal… [Read more…]
Last night, April 28th, was the second in two back-to-back performances by Coldplay at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA – part of their official Mylo Xyloto world tour. This was the sixth time I’ve seen Coldplay in the past six months (having seen their AMEX Unstaged show in Madrid, Spain in October, some of the special European tour dates at the O2 in London and the Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy in December, and the special iHeartRadio charity gig at Club Nokia and the Jimmy Kimmel Live! block party in Los Angeles in February. As such, I don’t think I’m in a position to do a “normal” sort of review at this point, as I tend to subjectively compare to all of the other shows I’ve attended in the past year and beyond… but as I’ve come to expect, with last night’s gig, Coldplay put on a high energy show with a great mix of hits and new material. Watching many in the crowd seeing the show with “fresh eyes”, it was certain that the nearly 18,000 in attendance came away having shared an awesome experience with this fantastic concert.