“…Concert of the century. So. Excited!!!!! Not sure who I’m more excited to see… my friends or the epic men… but this one might have to go to Jay Z and Coldplay. I’m Brooklyn born and bred” C.K.
“It’s like Christmas!” C.Y.
“This concert was legend…wait for it….DARY!” K.S.
“…like we were in some bubble out there in Brooklyn surrounded by a group of people who got it; like we were inside a giant ball of ecstasy, receiving a great big hug from Chris Martin in the form of music and lights and confetti.” B.C.
“Oh my God. This concert is f*cking awesome” ~ H.Y.
“When did you guys get all these beers?” ~ T.S.
In the days leading up to the concert, concert goers were buzzing at the prospect of seeing Jay-Z in his hometown of Brooklyn for New Year’s Eve. As the crowd started to swell outside of the Barclays Center, the crowd knew it was in for something great. There was a sense of camaraderie in the air. No pushing…no fighting…no cussing.
The group I was with looked up to the sign on our left. As we walk in, I smile at the guy that’s supposed to check my handbag. He looks me up and down. “Nice shoes.” He says as he waves me in.
As we walk into the arena, we were handed bracelets. “What are these for?” we ask.
“Put them on. You’ll see”, we were told.
As we walk in, we’re directed to our seats by the friendliest, most professional ushers ever. I look to my right and I see some of my friends that I haven’t seen in months. Turns out they had actually traded their tickets in for new ones so that they could sit closer to us. The air is electric. The crowd can’t wait for the show to begin. There are signs everywhere instructing the crowd on how to wear their bracelets and informed them that they would be part of the show.
The DJ plays a myriad of classic cuts to entertain the crowd before the show starts. We enjoy the music and dance along with the excited patrons, but the crowd was all too ready for the show at hand.
Suddenly, the lights go down, and the theme to Back to the Future started playing. Soon thereafter, Coldplay breaks into “Hurts Like Heaven” and every audience members’ bracelet lights up in sync with the music. The bracelets glow in the dark and the LED lights in them pulsate to the beat of the music. As one concert-goer remarked, “It was like I was inside a giant ball of ecstasy!”
During “Lovers in Japan” they not only had the bracelets glowing, but confetti was swirling all around us, creating an amazing audio-visual memory for all in attendance.
After pretending the set was over, in true Coldplay fashion, Chris and the guys perform an encore on a tiny stage further back in the audience. You could tell the band really appreciated the fans and wanted to give a good show and show everyone a good time, no matter how much they paid for their tickets.
After Coldplay’s set, the DJ played some more classic songs to keep the crowd stimulated, but then the lights went back down and it was show time once again.
Jay came out and launched into hit after hit. He went through his entire catalog of music from Reasonable Doubt to Watch The Throne. “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It To Me)”, “Hard Knock Life”, “Where I’m From” “Big Pimpin’” He performed his verse from “Clique”. When the synth came in for “Young Forever” Chris Martin from Coldplay came out onto the stage to perform with Jay. Even though the people in my section didn’t even know each other, they were singing along, hi-fiving, and dancing with each other like they had been friends for years. As an added bonus, we even caught a glimpse of Gwyneth Paltrow standing at what looked like a tiny bar by the stage. And Jay must have been in a generous mood, because he gave a bottle of Ace of Spades to a lucky couple in the front row.
As we began the countdown for the New Year, Jay told the crowd that there was no place he’d rather be to perform on New Year’s than in his hometown of Brooklyn. Jay’s band was outstanding and when the ball dropped at midnight, his guitarist performed a guitar solo of “Auld Lang Syne” Jimi Hendrix’s style, while Chris Martin sang along.
After the ball dropped, Jay went right into “Run This Town” with the help of Chris; much to the delight of the crowd. He told the crowd that he wasn’t sure how he would top 2012 since it was the year of Blue (paying homage to his baby daughter Blue Ivy Carter). As we looked off to the side, we could see Gwyneth urging Apple and Moses to dance with Jay and their father, Chris.
As a final tune, Jay performed the iconic “Empire State of Mind”. You could tell from the crowd’s reaction, that no matter where anyone was from, EVERYONE was from New York that night.
As all of the patrons filed out of the Barclays Center, we knew we had experienced something magical. One patron ever remarked that he wasn’t sure that there would ever be any New Year’s Eve concert that would top this one, but other artists were welcome to try.
I was lucky enough to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event, and if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t have spent my New Year’s Eve any other way.