About the Author
Lucy Webster is 17 and has cerebral palsy. In 2010 she started a blog, Topical Creativity, to explore her interest in politics and creative writing. She is also founder of the World on Wheels campaign promoting equality for wheelchair users. She went to The Emirates to see Coldplay in concert – I couldn’t go as it’s against my religion – ManUism. Here is her review:-
A Coldplay concert was always going to be good, so the only question was how good. Unspeakably good, as it turned out. So now I am going to have to attempt to put the experience into words.
I’ve been a Coldplay fan since I heard Speed of Sound on my mum’s stereo when I was about seven. Even when I barely understood the words, I loved singing along to those fantastic melodies. My love for the band grew with me, with their second and third albums being among the first things on my iPod aged eleven. Now I’m seventeen and nothing’s changed – going to see them live was a dream come true.
We arrived way too early and had to wait it out while Robyn and Rita Ora attempted to warm up the crowd. Even if some in the audience were fans – most weren’t – there was a distinct feeling that we wanted Coldplay and no one else. At quarter to nine we were finally given what we wanted. Four ant-sized people appeared on stage. The crowd was so awestruck that it went quite silent – this was it. And suddenly it didn’t matter that we were so far away.
The first chords of Hurts Like Heaven broke our trance and everyone (apart from me) was up and dancing. The famed wrist bands lit up, dazzling everyone with a multicoloured glow. You could almost hear the collective ‘ooh’ over the music. I forgot my inability to dance and flung my arms around – as Chris Martin soon told us, we were there to ‘forget everything about ourselves’. This would be a lot easier if his lyrics weren’t so emotional. Everyone in that crowd had a connection to those songs that went beyond knowing all the words so, needless to say, the atmosphere was incredible.
I could say something about every song, but I would be here for pages and pages, so I’ll give you the highlights. The first stunner was Yellow, one of the most beautiful songs ever written – in my opinion anyway. Martin almost spoiled it for us ladies by dedicating it to his wife Gwyneth Paltrow when really we wanted him to sing it to us, but we forgave him because – well – how could you not? The audience knew all the words, making it even more spine-tingling.
The old songs were definitely the best – classics from X&Y and Parachutes stirred the crowd into a mild state of euphoria. The Scientist was absolutely fantastic live, as was In My Place. Mylo Xyloto is a good album, but it doesn’t match the lyricism of the previous ones. That said, Charlie Brown got us all dancing again, increasingly wildly in my case.
The crowd swelled with excitement at the first chords of Viva la Vida, snatches of which echoed around the stadium long after the band had retired for the night. It was when everyone was on their feet for this one that I realised how good the wheelchair seating was – I could see clearly over everyone’s heads. In fact, the access arrangements were all perfect. The disabled loos were locked, but unlike other venues, the staff knew how to open them without asking fifteen different people. My only complaint is that a wheelchair space can only be booked with one companion. On this occasion that was ok, as I was going with my mum, but in future if I went with a friend I would not be able to use the loo – which is slightly problematic really.
But the music was more important. Paradise was wonderful. When they finished, they disappeared off stage. Was that it? Surely not. We waited. Suddenly, there was Chris Martin alone on a small stage at the back of the pitch. He was now human sized, which was somehow a bit odd. My musical hero looked very real – and by this time very wet; it was pouring.
The other band members joined him one by one and sung Everything’s Not Lost, which suited the intimate small stage perfectly. They were soon back on the main stage, however, for the one I’d been waiting all night for. Fix You is possibly my favourite song ever, despite – or maybe because of – the fact it normally makes me cry. I couldn’t wait to hear it live. My god, it was good. It is a credit to the show that I was so happy no tears actually formed. But I would hazard a guess that very few of the 58,000 people in the stadium had dry eyes, I certainly didn’t. It is an amazingly powerful show, which I took glee in belting out knowing no one could possibly hear me. The concert was an utterly mind-blowing experience, with no exaggeration.
They played us out with Every Teardrop is a Waterfall, which contrasted greatly with Fix You and meant no one left sobbing. The whole night was magical, the band every bit as good live as on radio, and the Emirates is a great place to go on wheels.