Saturday, September 12, 2009

First Day at The Netherlands, Coldplay Concert

We had to wake up really early the morning after the concert, as we had an early 8:40am flight from London to Amsterdam. Flying out of the London City Center turned out to be quite a nicer experience than flying out of Heathrow.

After a short breakfast at the airport, we proceeded to security – Jeroen armed with a small backpack and me wearing quite a big backpack along with a travel guitar. No problem in security control whatsoever, and we proceeded to the gate.

Once arrived at the gate, I was approached by one of the ladies working there. She was pointing at my backpack.

- “I am sorry, you will have to check it in”, she said.

- “… OK, how do I go about doing that?”, I replied.

She didn’t really answer my question, though.

- “This is a very big backpack. How did you manage to get it through security?”

I tried to come up with a proper reply but couldn’t. What am I supposed to say? “I hid it under my coat”? Maybe “I sneaked it in”? Or, maybe the best would be “who said I got here through security control?”.

- (looking at her with a helpless expression) “How am I supposed to answer this question?”

She really didn’t know what to say but I did notice a few people standing around giggling. She ended up giving me a note (like in school) and instructions to put the bag on a cart right next to the airplane, and I shall be receiving it as I deplane.

One hour and a half waiting inside the damn airplane! Formal excuse was “luggage discrepancy”, and after a while it was “need to refuel due to the airplane’s engine being turned on for so long, waiting”. We finally departed an hour and a half past scheduled time. That means much less time to sleep at Jeroen’s place before heading to Coldplay’s concert.

We finally arrived at Amsterdam, took the train to Delft (where Jeroen lives), changed and immediately left towards a city by a name so strange that I fail to recall it right now. There, we were going to meet Lennart (Jeroen’s colleague), Ineke (Lennart’s girlfriend) and Jeffrey (Lennart’s brother). Lennart was commissioned to drive us to the venue in Nijmegen, about two hours away from Delft. We ended up spending three hours in the car due to terrible traffic, but we had fun along the way.

We reached the venue – a huge park – at around 6:30pm, two hours and a half before the main event. White Lies were warming up for Coldplay. Weather was perfect for an outdoors concert, and the sound was very impressive.

At 9:00pm, Coldplay went on stage and gave a stunning performance. Truly stunning. Out of the 41 concerts I have been to in my life, this was the third one that was NOT Mark Knopfler’s (the first one being Guns n’ Roses in Tel-Aviv, 1993, and Eric Clapton in Toronto, 2008).

The crowd was great, participating really well in the concert itself, except for two 16 years old girls beside us who obviously had some alcohol in them, screaming to no end. We were located about 70m away from the stage, but could still see the concert through the big screens at both sides of the stage.

I am only familiar with Coldplay’s earlier material and listening to those songs played live was very enjoyable. Happy to have been there.

Our way back was very easy. Hardly no traffic and I was actually asleep most of the way – I was devastated after this extremely long day. Within an hour and a half we arrived at Jeroen’s place, where I bid Lennart, Ineke and Jeffrey goodbye. Within 15 minutes I was already fast asleep.

Another great day is over.


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