Out of Order
Coldplay in Mumbai and a sky full of dust
It was a beautiful concert. It was an experience of a lifetime.
- Total Shares
Remember the collective scoff we heard when there was a rumour floated by most responsible media outlets that tickets to the Coldplay concert would cost close to Rs 5 lakh?
Then, once these news portals generated more hits than Coldplay and more outrage than the time Chris Martin put the Indian flag in this butt pocket, it was gradually revealed that the tickets could, in fact, be won on the Global Citizen India website. This could be done by signing petitions, sharing photos and sending emails to ministers and the UN.
These actions got you points, and on earning a certain number of points, you would be eligible for the lucky draw. If you won, you’d get two free Action Journey tickets to the Global Citizen Festival in Mumbai.
This generally made you feel mildly altruistic and significantly smug when you thought of the douche (adj: a term used for person richer than you, synonyms: dude who was supposed to suffer the consequences of demonetisation but didn't) who could afford the Rs 50,000 tickets on bookmyshow.
But turns out, they weren’t the ones squirming, that was a privilege reserved for the seemingly charitable plebs (I wasn’t one of them, some of us scrambled last minute to procure the free passes at an affordable price from anyone who would sell them to us). So ladies and gentlemen, with a head full of dreams, we entered, The (rather ironically named) Green Zone.
On entering, the rush of getting to listen live to songs we grew up to, cried to, crooned along to and related to the generic nature of; was overwhelming. So was the dust. And the distance from the stage.
The buggers with deep pockets had us beat. They had F&B on tables, we had to queue up for close to an hour to get a slice of pizza which tasted like it was prepared back when it was still considered cool to love Coldplay.
They had carpeted grounds which didn’t throw dust into parts they didn’t know existed, we wished for an Odd-Even scheme to tackle the haze in our zone, which had now quite possibly become life-threatening.Coldplay's Chris Martin and AR rahman at the Global Citizen Festival in Mumbai. (Picture: Global Citizen)
We watched Chris Martin jump like a loopy monkey on large temperamental screens (the camera work was so painfully terrible, it looked like a montage that could double up as Ram Gopal Verma’s showreel), they watched an actual Chris-Martin-shaped blob on stage.
So, there was a wide gap between our experience and theirs. No, seriously, there was an actual road dividing the paid and the free zones.
Global Citizen, ladies and gentlemen. Eradicating poverty and privilege.
But there was one thing that was so overpowering, we all felt it in equal measure. The true equaliser was the overwhelming pain everyone, rich and poor, felt from being subjected to everything that wasn’t Coldplay or Jay-Z.
We got in at 4.30pm or so, and of the six hours we were there, three and a half were a "circle jerk of celebrities" (as a friend described it, rather graphically with hand gestures).
There was Arjun Kapoor talking about female empowerment (“he should instead support nepotism, a cause closer to his heart,” a friend joked), we saw Vivek Oberoi with a medal pinned to his chest, presumably to honour the glory of his momentary relevance. There was Sonam Kapoor, demonstrating a life of immense privilege as she stood with people far poorer than her, shrieking the word “confidence” into the mic.
Leander Paes made forced tennis analogies, Karan Johar still didn’t talk about homosexuality. Amitabh Bachchan, reeling from the thrill of Halloween, wore his Casper outfit and sang at the audience.
There was a sarpanch and a Thackeray, a dude from Colors and two intimidatingly good looking women who played club music for no reason whatsoever. There was Freida Pinto’s confused accent and Ranveer Singh’s performance outfit, which was so sparkly, we almost felt fortunate to be watching it from our cattle-class-area on a screen and not staring directly at it.
But the most WTF moment had to be Modi quoting Bob Dylan. An entire verse from 'The Times They Are-A-Changin'. The speech was so obviously scripted, it made Koffee with Karan seem as natural as a documentary shot with a handheld on Animal Planet.
People who didn’t attend, though, this most horrendous experience was obliterated, bull-dozed, massacred and completely annihilated by the two-hour-and-something long Coldplay performance. It was such a spectacular show that I didn’t even have time to toss my head back and laugh at the “they won’t perform more than like three songs ya” jibes I endured earlier.
Thirteen-year-old Asmita took over, Fix You made her tear up, The Scientist gave her goosebumps, Yellow made her head spin with nostalgia and In My Place made her remember a time when teenagers looked at life with a forced, innocent profundity.
Heck, I admit, the endorphins gave me such a kick that the cynic in me couldn’t even grunt at Chris Martin singing Channa Mereya, I just beamed and waved along.
It was a beautiful concert. It was an experience of a lifetime. I would brave a decorated Vivek Oberoi for it all over again.