I WAS THERE . . . All Points West @ Liberty State Park, 8/2/09

MGMT at the Bullet Stage. Photo credit: Mark Iantosca

To be perfectly honest, Sunday was somewhat marred by the rain that had dumped on Liberty State Park even after a perfect Saturday. Doors to the festival did not open until 4PM thus multiple performances were canned without question. Seething musicians? Of course, but perhaps it’s that kind of anger that makes for better songwriting. After all, there’s always APW 2010, right?

Walking the muddied sidewalk from the PATH train to the festival entrance gave little promise to what lay ahead. Not only was the two mile walk longer than I could recall from the other days, but the feeble vocals of La Roux squished like the muddy mess between my toes (flip flops proved futile footwear).

Once inside, I hedged my bets and plowed through the swampland to the main stage where I endured Echo & the Bunnymen for Coldplay…except Coldplay decided to have a full hour between Echo and their Viva set. Slowly but determined, I made it to the Bullet stage and caught the bushy-faced, flannel-clad, mountain-loving music of The Black Keys. From the stages of Akron, Ohio, The Black Keys brought back soulful rock to a festival largely populated by skinny headbands, ironic tees, and wayfarers (maybe those folks were just there waiting for MGMT’s set that followed?).

With one last resounding riff, The Black Keys wrapped up and the exodus moved towards the main stage. Maybe it was Chris Martin’s blue eyes or the band’s pseudo-Sergeant Pepper outfits? Whatever it was, Coldplay was a treat to watch, even during those moments when Chris Martin would fall to the ground and feign extreme exhaustion. Really? I was there when they kicked me out of the backstage area to make way for the luxe rockers.

Crowd favorites such as “Yellow,” “Clocks,” “Viva La Vida,” and “Politik” roused the sea of fans into one giant sway. Intelligent lighting and props made Coldplay’s show seem almost as dynamic as Jay-Z’s killer sesh on Friday. To their credit, Coldplay threw out a Billie Jean tribute to MJ and a “You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party” trib to The Beastie Boys.

Although every song was as wonderful as the last, I held out until the encore so that I could hear the purest form of my favorite Coldplay song: “The Scientist.” With simple piano chords and lyrics that ring true, the live rendition of “The Scientist” will forever be my favorite. With legs plastered in crackling mud, I rode back across the river happy and mellow yellow.

Nicole Velasco

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