Idol Chatter

coldplaybuzz.jpgThe Internet sensation Stuff White People Like has just been released in book form. The items listed on the satirical website receive more detailed treatment, but surely, amidst the affection for organic food (#6), yoga (#15), and public radio (#44), there should be an entry for Coldplay. Their earnest, arena rock turns most people (except cold-hearted critics) into swooning romantics. Thanks to a sharp, techno savvy friend, I scored tickets to the opening night of Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” tour. Even amidst multi-cultural Los Angeles, there was ample proof that Coldplay remains stuff that 16,000 (mostly) white people love.
How interesting that Coldplay drove their devoted fans to the Forum in Inglewood rather than the swankier Staples Center. How utterly democratic to attend a concert sans luxury boxes. It was in keeping with “Viva la Vida”‘s French Revolution themes of liberty, justice, and equality (for those willing to shell out more than $100 for a ticket including service charges). Since the L.A. Lakers left the Forum, it has become home to Faithful Central Bible Church. Bishop Kenneth Ulmer and his congregation see their new home as an opportunity to extend hospitality to rock stars and their fans. They were gracious hosts, directing traffic with a smile.

We were greeted at the door by the hunger relief organization, OxFam, gathering eddresses. At the merchandise table, alongside the $40 Coldplay t-shirts was a bag of bracelets made from recycled rubber by women in Djenne, Mali. The Made with Love Project benefits a center for homeless women in Dakar, Senegal. With this dash of social entrepreneurship, Coldplay affirmed stuff white people like (#12–non-profit organizations) while teetering close to #62–“Knowing what’s best for poor people.”
Like their new album, Coldplay’s concert aspired to U2’s epic heights. It had expert lighting, innovative effects, and a wall of sound. Dreamy, languid versions of “Trouble” and “The Scientist” swept the audience into sing-alongs. The anthemic power of “In My Place” was matched by “Viva la Vida.” Yet, the most memorable moment was the most unplugged. At the 75 minute mark, singer Chris Martin suggested he was tired of being onstage. The band darted to the far corner of the Forum, galloping up the stairs for a low-fi version of their monster hit, “Yellow.” Their generous gesture was also their most modest. In an era of self-promoting grandiosity, that’s the kind of rock star that all people like.
By Craig Detweiler
Craig Detweiler’s comedic documentary Purple State of Mind is loaded with stuff white people like including #55, “Apologies,” and #2, “Religions their parents don’t belong to.” His newest book is Into the Dark: Seeing the Sacred in the Top Films of the 21st Century..

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