Coldplay

Coldplay

Finally I managed to attend a Coldplay concert! I say “finally” because the story is not short 🙂

In 2016 I was really disappointed when I discovered that the “A Head Full of Dreams” world tour would not come to Italy. Therefore I had decided – quite madly, to some extent – to buy two tickets for the concert to be held in Barcelona. However, in the following months I had sold the tickets, because it was clearly a crazy idea. The English band would remedy, though: in 2017 they eventually planned to have a second leg of their world tour, and this time Italy would be in, and in particular Milan!

The fight for tickets was really fierce: sales started (and ended!) was exactly one year ago, on October 7, 2016. Indeed it also had legal consequences, as you can see at this link. However, I incredibly managed to conquer one ticket, thanks to something like 15 webpages kept in parallel and refreshed every ten seconds! One might ask: didn’t you know that you would be in the States? Well, due to a lucky coincidence, the concert was scheduled on July 3, exactly during the period that I had already planned to spend in Europe, due to the EAERE conference in Athens and Serena and Giovanni’s wedding (they are two friends of mine).

All good, then. Well, yes, but I only had one ticket and it is never great to go to a concert alone. However, I immediately thought that the band would surely fix a date in San Francisco as well and that I could go there. I checked and yes, San Francisco was within the tour dates, precisely on October 4! In this case I managed to get two tickets with no big efforts: I was really satisfied, in the end!

When July came, I decided with no regrets to sell my single ticket for the concert in Milan. “Why should I go alone now, when I can go accompanied in October in SF?” I asked to myself quite rhetorically.

However, it happens that my enthusiasm substantially fades away. The reasons were quite diverse: partly it was for sure due to all my problems in summer, but even when I came back to Berkeley in September my mind was mostly concentrated on settling down. So, the concert progressively approaches, but basically I do not organize anything. At some point I also try to sell the tickets, but contrarily to what I thought, I do not succeed in it. It must be said that the website where I bought my tickets allowed you to sell them on the same platform: the problem is that many others had had my same idea. Obviously I cannot find anyone to go with, so bottom line the day before the concert I have to organize everything, quite last second and, again, with very little enthusiasm.

By the way, the concert was not precisely in San Francisco, but in Santa Clara, which is located in the southern bound of the Bay, in the middle of the Silicon Valley, about 50 miles both from San Francisco and Berkeley: apparently, San Francisco 49ers really had to build their stadium there!

However, the outbound journey is very easy to plan, as there is very convenient train connecting Berkeley to Santa Clara, whose station is really next to the stadium. The same train is not available for the inbound journey, but there is the BART (which, I remember, is the metro / suburban train of the Bay) leaving from Fremont, which is not too far from the stadium. Surely there will be a shuttle after the concert, I think. At worst, I will call a UBER.

OK, then: the following day it is time to go to the concert.

By the way, the outbound train gave me a confirmation about one thing that I would like to tell. Yes, that’s one of my typical anecdotes 🙂 If you wish, you can skip to the following section… but I will keep it short, I promise!

Basically, since the very first nights here in Berkeley I have sometimes heard some sounds coming from west, i.e. from the sea, that I had initially identified as ship horns. One day, an Italian friend here in Berkeley told me that indeed it was not like this: it was the horn of trains. By the way, trains here do not emit a whistle like ours, but a sound more similar to that of ships. Actually the railway runs along the seashore, so at least I had geographically guesses right 🙂 Now, the reason why they produce a regular noise (both night and day, but apparently I never paid too much attention during the day), I was told, is that many streets have no protected level crossings! Therefore trains have to draw attention, in addition to markedly lower their speed. Honestly I was quite skeptical, but going to the concert I really had to change my mind! I also took a video while passing by Oakland downtown: you can see that it is quite impressive… but there is closed level crossing, at least 🙂

However, enough with useless words: I am now at the Levi’s Stadium!

After the typical intro by the supporting bands, it is time to get the concert started! I link a Youtube video of the first moments of the concert.

Needless to say that after two nanoseconds my mood makes a U-turn and I get a super boost to my enthusiasm! But let my photos and videos speak for themselves!

Really an amazing show… I knew that it would be great, that’s why I really really wanted to go ahah!

Great night with no problems, then? Well, it is not called “America 2017” if some unforeseen events do not happen…

After the concert, as said, I had planned to take the BART. Outside the stadium, I immediately see that some buses are available that go to the station, leaving every 10 minutes or so. Very good, then: let’s get on the bus and let’s go to Fremont. As you can imagine, the bus is basically full: many people have my very same plan, apparently. However, when we get there, we have a bad surprise: the electronic board says that there are no longer trains going to Richmond (my direction). I immediately check the timetable and I discover that actually the last Richmond train left five minutes before (obviously). Too bad, but OK, never mind, let’s get a UBER: to this purpose, I start making arrangements with a Dutch guy living in Berkeley to share a ride with. In that very moment, though, some guys tell us that the electronic board next to the platform does say that a train heading Richmond is about to come. The Dutch guy and I are quite dubious, but OK, let’s check then. Indeed the board talks about an incoming train, but the message seems quite “non-standard”, so our doubts remain. And indeed they materialize some seconds later, when a train heading Richmond does pass… but does not stop! The Dutch guy and I share a sign of agreement which does not need any words… So, we go back outside the station and call our UBER. Before that, however, one last nice surprise: we are charged something like 5.75$! BART tickets in fact do not work as single ride tickets, but have a credit from which the cost of the ride is subtracted, depending on the length of the journey. Well, we were charged just for going in and out of the same station. And the amount is not negligible: the ride from Berkeley to San Francisco is 4$, for instance. Never mind, fortunately our UBER has come. By the way, it is the most crowded UBER ever: the car is tiny and there are four passengers in addition to the driver. My Dutch friend is very kind and lets me sit in the front seat. I have some doubts because he is very tall, but I cannot refuse: as a result, his knees are basically hammered into my back, while mine are blocked next to my throat!

But OK, that’s life 🙂 So here I am, looking at the Oakland skyline while travelling on the Intestate-880, and wondering about… how many shootings are taking place in this very moment among those buldings 🙂 No, OK, just kidding. Indeed I think of the amazing concert that I have just seen and, more in general, I think of this American experience that, despite all the hitches (that indeed sometimes make even laugh… of course once solved!), is giving me a lot of things that obviously I could have never gotten staying at home.

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