It was hot. It was Godblazing hot. I had been standing there for more than an hour, determined to nail my spot as close as possible to the stage. I wanted to see everything. Earlier on at the entrance, security was tighter than Ricky Martin’s leather pants. They took away the drinks and snacks. I was bound to stand there for the next few more hours, among the throng of humans, all sweaty and hyped-up and anxious.
So what do you say about a concert that is Coldplay, in all their pasty, almost middle-aged rockstar glory?
They wanted to put on a show, and boy was it worth all those ticket struggles and travels and leg cramps. It was worth all that and more.
Because for a lot of us, Coldplay isn’t just four dudes in a band, is it? I hate crowds. I hate sweaty, wild crowds. I hate lining up. But then the lights in the stadium went off and then there was a flicker, and then I heard a familiar riff of my favorite song, and then there he was, running across the stage in the middle of laser beams and kaleidoscope of lights.
Chris Martin, the guy who wrote anthems of my adult-angsts and anxieties. When I was in college I would spend every rainy, wintry mornings sipping a cup of tea by the window watching the cars drive by, with his songs played in the background. I listened to ‘Sparks’ when I had no idea what love was, once a many naïve moons ago. And yet during my most recent heartbreak, I must’ve listened to their album, ‘Ghost Stories’, on repeat for days on end.
Seeing them there, in the flesh, was an immediate high. I was standing close enough to see their faces, and I thought how strange it was that he seemed from a different planet – a different lifestyle, a different world, a different race, a completely different person than me – and yet he wrote songs that seemed to share my sentiment over things. And that the person next to me, a stranger from another country, and then another, and another, and the rest of the thousands of people at that stadium must have related to these melodies and lyrics the same way for them to be there too.
It was fascinating.
It was a show that required high energy and gave back a lot more. The fireworks, the confetti, the colorful balloons, the laser lights, the amazing guitar riffs. There was always an injection of pick-me-up anthems, songs about looking at the positive side of things.
And right when you thought you’re in an over-the-top show, Chris begins ‘Yellow’, and then an acoustic ‘Everglow’, and then a slow ‘Always In My Head’, a song he wrote for Gwyneth about still thinking of somebody who has long left. They all bring you back to whatever state of mind you were in, in the past when you were listening to these songs with your earphones.
And then it ended. I was almost dehydrated from the sweating and confiscated water I brought. They took a bow and they disappeared backstage. The lights went off and then when it turned on again, the stadium looked normal. Regular. As though nothing special had happened before. It was like that magical roller coaster high ride that lasted only for a fraction of time and now it has disappeared completely.
I walked all the way back home in the stillness of the night, still humming my favorite tunes, until I fell asleep much later.
I burst through the office door with gusto. I think I accidentally shoved a lady who was walking at sloth speed carrying a bad choice for breakfast, and I think she thought I was late for a meeting. I wasn’t. I threw my bag on the desk and quickly logged into my computer, my headscarf askew. Every minute counts. Every single second makes a difference.
The online ticket sale had not started. I sighed a little but was glad that I was now in the virtual ‘waiting room’, a website to queue up with possibly thousands of other people, waiting for my chance to grab my tickets. That morning I was going to pull off the ultimate multitasking act – conducting a work meeting and trying to buy Coldplay concert tickets at the same time.
I had it all pictured so vividly in my head. A trip to Singapore. Me in the crowd of thousands, singing along to tunes I had heard since my college years. Tunes that I had on replay through every important young adult milestones, every day dream, every road trip and every melancholic life event. I hated concerts and I hated crowds. There is nothing appealing about standing next to sweaty strangers who would probably yell so loud my eardrums would buzz. The people on stage would be so tiny I can’t see a single thing. But for Coldplay? Complete exception.
I was finally at the final stage of ticket purchase, the payment website. My heart was soaring. I stared at the ‘page loading’ icon as though my life depended on it. I needed my morning tea, but that can wait. I had a tummy ache, but that can wait. I was working but I was constantly checking that website every thirty seconds.
Error purchasing tickets. Please try again.
I was taken aback. What? What?? This cannot be. I tried again. Same results. And after about an hour, there is was. TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT. I stared at the computer screen in silent frustration. I told the Russian guy who sat next to me about it and he laughed. I decided I didn’t like him today. I found myself feeling angry and disappointed. Strangely very angry and disappointed.
Wait. Hang on. Let’s hold back the crazy for a minute. What was wrong with me?
I made myself a cup of tea and relaxed a little. I still could not shake off that feeling of being bummed out. They were just concert tickets. Why was I feeling too overwhelmed about it? I gave it a little thought. As the day went on and the annoyance wore off, I began to realise that maybe, just maybe, it really wasn’t just about the tickets after all.
The truth was, I just… I needed a win.
I needed a win because I had been having a rather rough couple of months over life things, and I have not had much to be excited about. On normal days I would’ve possibly gotten over the disappointment of not getting the tickets immediately, but the prolonged frustration made me realise that the truth was, it was more than just about being able to get tickets. The last couple of months felt like a long episode of going downhill, and when news broke over the Coldplay concert tickets my face lit up at the slightest indication of something fun or happy at the distant horizon.
So of course, when the bigger odds of me not getting the sought after, uber-popular show came to be, I became exasperated. I had enthusiastically tried buying them on two different days. Why can’t I get these damn tickets? Why? I’ve tried so hard. Why can’t I just catch a break for once? Why is everything being like a shit ball rolling downhill? This is when I realised I was actually getting frustrated over other reasons and decided to pump the brakes.
It is no secret that sometimes life does not happen the way we want them to be. It is also no secret that this is sometimes hard to accept, especially if we feel that we had given everything we’ve got to offer and somehow, it still seemed as though it was not good enough. But although these things are known, the human side of us would still feel let down when they happen, and when they do happen somewhat consecutively we can sometimes get a little overwhelmed by it all.
And sometimes, all we need is a little win. Just so we could feel like our usual positive selves again.