My good friend Duncan kindly agreed to write his thoughts on Coldplay in Abu Dhabi last weekend. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:
“Quint, Edina, Reg, Simon and I joined a bunch of Reg’s mates in taking a 30-seater bus down to the Coldplay gig in Abu Dhabi at the weekend. Hopping on the bus at 3:30 seemed a little early at first, but following various detours we made it into the gig just about on time.
One particularly inventive and spontaneous detour by the driver took us onto The Walk at JBR, where we were able to savour the standstill traffic for half an hour before getting back on track to Abu Dhabi. A BK flame grilled burger and several refreshments heavier courtesy of Reg, the bus arrived at the impressive Emirates Palace in the throws of a huge electrical storm. As we passed the huge entrance arches the heavens opened and we received our first soaking of the evening. Luckily the rain was warm, and morale remained high in anticipation of a great gig and nothing dampened our spirits.
The band arrived upon stage at about 9:25 to a throbbing crowd of about 15,000 and immediately launched in to some of their new tunes from the Viva album. Twenty minutes into the gig the real storm hit in every sense. As Coldplay’s career-launching anthem Yellow blasted out around the stadium a rolling thunderstorm enveloped Abu Dhabi.
The band played on while the soaking crowd stood firm, launching giant yellow balloons around the stadium like a beach volleyball competition gone way out of hand. With warm rain trickling down my back and a massive grin on my face, I watched the show harbouring that familiar regret that I had not pursued my music career and opted instead to become a landscape architect.
As Fix You built up from its quiet, church organ-led beginnings to a stomping crowd sing-a-long, there could not have been a person in the stadium who didn’t experience that wonderful spine-tingling feeling. This song has been playing on my office stereo ever since and still generates the same response. Looking around me as the band played on, every crowd member sang along while the rain tumbled off their smiling faces. Looking behind me from the peasants pen, I knew that Edina and Quint would be blasting out their parts in the posh seats above me, their performances honed on many a Singstar session at Casa Jumeirah.
Half an hour later the weather and the anthemic melodies seemed to subside to reveal some of the bands more delicate songs like The Hardest Part and Postcards From Far Away before once again building into new sing-a-long favourite, Viva La Vida. Coming towards the end of the gig proper, the band made an excursion to a smaller stage surrounded by the crowd and bashed out a few acoustic tunes upon which the other band members took turns to sing with varying degrees of success. A successful encore later, the crowd was elated and we flooded out of the stadium in a long, steaming, stream of fans, grinning and chatting as we walked along the cornice towards our transport. Arriving back to my soft, dry bed at 2:30am, I was very aware of how lucky we are to live such a great life in the desert!“