Friday, August 07, 2009


we bought coldplay tickets in february, the morning they became available. it's been a long six months, but we made it--and man, was it worth it!

we headed towards raleigh in the early evening and stopped in knightdale to get some dinner. the two bands opening weren't ones we were familiar with, and since we had seat tickets and didn't have to save space on the lawn, we figured we could take some time.

to be honest, i haven't been through knightdale in a long time, since they opened up the bypass around it a few years ago. i was shocked to see that it continued growing--by leaps and bounds, in fact. the shopping centers that have built up there are HUGE and have tons of stores and restaurants. we chose to stop in at five guys and enjoy some of their delicious cheeseburgers. after our rookie mistake of ordering two orders of fries last time we visited, we have since learned our lesson and only ordered one regular serving of fries (which was still ridiculously large and we barely put a dent in them.)
then it was off to the concert. as much as i have enjoyed the numerous concerts at walnut creek over the past 10 or 15 years, i hate getting there. and i hate leaving. this venue is tucked away behind neighborhoods and in the suburbs of raleigh, so that traffic is horrendous coming and going. luckily, since we arrived fairly late, we were able to get a parking spot at the back of the lot, close to the exit.

oh, but before we get there, let's share this fun little story.

we have three technological devices that can give us directions. a GPS, justin's palm pre, my blackberry. with three devices in the car, you'd think we couldn't possibly get lost, could we?

oh, yes we could.

justin was driving at this point and searched for "alltel pavillion walnut creek." i didn't think to correct him that it was time warner now, but figured it had found the same place. as we got closer and closer to downtown raleigh, i realized that was not the case.

so i go to turn on the gps. he doesn't use his as frequently as i do, so it doesn't stay charged. instead, it was dead and wouldn't even turn on when it was plugged in. so that was no help.

and as much as i love my blackberry, us cellular doesn't have good data coverage in major metro areas (i know, makes perfect sense, right?) so i couldn't pull up google maps.

so we went off of our basic raleigh knowledge and managed to find 440 and eventually get there. moral of the story is--even having three devices that give directions can get you lost.

back to the concert:

after getting in, we got some drinks and made our way to our seats. center of the covered pavillion area, right behind the VIP boxes.
even though it had rained earlier in the day, it was a gorgeous evening and was actually pretty comfortable. they had a "viva" balloon anchored at the top of the lawn, and i stopped at the top to get a picture of the nearly sold-out crowd.
when coldplay actually came out, they had "blue danube" playing, with a spotlight on someone down front leading the crowd in waving and clapping along with the song. then the lights went down and a huge banner fell with the band siloutted behind it. the crowd was going crazy! the laser show added some awesome effects along with the light show.

when they played "yellow," the huge yellow balloons came out again. four years ago, we were on the lawn and they didn't come anywhere close to us. this year, we were definitely closer but still didn't hit any of them. after yellow, they lowered five "video orbs" where they were able to project images and streaming video onto the screens. coldplay brings their own video system with them, and the quality is amazing. so much better than any of the concerts we've ever seen.
last time when they were touring, they had the video wall from the "speed of sound" video. this time, they had a smaller version of it, but still used it for some cool visual effects.

then they started coming out into the audience! i had seen them doing sound check on a couple of guitars on a spot in the lawn earlier and figured they would head out that way. they also set up a small stage with a keyboard on the right side of the pavillion. as always, lots of audience interaction, getting us to sing and be involved in the show.
then they headed out to the lawn for an acoustic set, including "billie jean" and some of their own made-up riffs for the night. they made it back up on stage for the last full set, which ended up being my favorite part....

confetti! i had seen the machines set-up around the outside of the stage and the lawn and wondered what they were for, figuring it was some sort of pyrotechnic thing. during their last song, they had several blasts of confetti all around the stage and seating area. then, during a black light section, they had neon confetti that was just amazing.(i was frustrated by a girl 3 rows up who was easily my height, but insisted on standing on the seat so that her head was in my way for about half of the concert. you can see her head in several of the pictures. argh.)

of course, they came back out for a two-song encore, and when all was said and done, it was 11 and the concert was over. rather than fighting the cattleherd-like crowds, we sat in our seats for a while, and then cut up across the lawn to see the viva balloon up close. from there, we could see the surge of people at the gates, trying to get out.

it was also pretty crazy down there because we were informed by chris martin during the concert that they had a cd for each of us as we left the concert, complete with 9 tracks--some new stuff, and some live recordings from concerts. umm, wow? how many groups do that?we snagged some of the confetti on the way out, too. neon butterflies, fitting with the design of the cd.

and then it was time to leave the concert. and this is my least favorite part, folks. i've had such crazy experiences in these parking lots that sometimes, it almost ruins the concert experience. since we had waited for a while and were towards the back of the lot, we didn't have to go far to get to the exit. but then it's five or six "lanes" of traffic trying to merge at one little one-lane outlet that cuts THROUGH THE WOODS to actually get back to anything that resembles a main road. and yes, we may have fifteen people directing us in as we arrive when any idiot can park in straight line yet it takes three staff members to guide us to our parking spot, but when it's time to leave THERE'S NO ONE DIRECTING TRAFFIC and instead it's every man, woman and child for themselves and people are still buzzed or hungover or frustrated and it's late and it NEVER goes smoothly. i've written so many "suggestions" to the concert people about having staff members out there in the parking lots directing traffic, as we've watched people take out traffic cones or knock over posts and ropes to get traffic moving after a concert. and wouldn't that just make sense?

and that's my soapbox for the day, people. thanks for listening :)

so we got out eventually (i did--justin does NOT do well in those situations. same reason i drive us through the congested areas on i-95) and made it home by 1:15. and today i'm running on caffiene as we wrap up the work week and get ready to head down to myrtle beach this evening to spend the weekend with my family. i'm excited to get away, to have a pepper-free weekend (she'll be having a slumber party with saydee and sophee over at amber's house--many thanks, amber and steve :) ) and to explore a different beach area than our regular stomping grounds. check back after the weekend for our fun in myrtle beach!


  1. we love 5 guys! mmmmm....

    knightdale has come a LONG way!

  2. i think i have the same two tank set...

    and so help me... the next time you get that close to my house and don't come visit, i will throw my best version of a 2 year old tantrum. :)

  3. @katie--probably not the exact same, since mine are a combination of wal-mart clearance tanks ($3!) and a three-pack of jockey white tanks from sam's club. so glamorous :)

    and we will be there next time, cause i just can't imagine your version of a 2 year old tantrum. this was a concert-only trip, but the next trip should be a little more laid back!