After a soggy Friday and sunny Saturday, the thunderstorms returned for the third and last day of All Points West, this time resulting in major delays and canceled sets for the festival held at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ. But after the rain cleared and mercifully stayed away, organizers hustled to get the schedule back on track, culminating in a dazzler of a headlining set by British rockers Coldplay.
Sunday’s line-up, scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m. in the comedy tent and 2 p.m. on the music stages, was pushed back several hours due to severe storms that hit the area midday. Fans who arrived early were turned away at the gates, and it wasn’t until just before 4 p.m. that ticket holders were invited to line up at the festival entrance for an even longer wait for admission. Comedians Todd Barry, Christian Finnegan and Janeane Garofalo, originally slated for 45-minute sets at the Queen of the Valley tent, were rushed through with 10 minutes each to make way for the musical acts that followed them. “I might do a tour of entirely rained-out festivals,” said Barry, “it’s big money for not a lot of work at all.”
Some sets were canceled altogether–indie rockers Steel Train and New Jersey punk band the Gaslight Anthem, scheduled to take the main Blue Comet stage in the afternoon, were scrapped to allow later bands to perform at their scheduled times.
Silversun Pickups opened the main stage just as the sun started to burn off the cloud cover, and its performance of the 2006 single “Lazy Eye” prompted a mudpit dance party that gathered more dirty feet as the set went on. Acclaimed Manchester outfit Elbow turned up spirits even higher with frontman Guy Garvey’s charming stage command and audience participation numbers like “Grounds For Divorce”. British post-punk band Echo & the Bunnymen had a slow start as singer Ian McCulloch wrestled with some technical complaints but worked up to a stirring close with its 1982 hit “The Cutter.”
Coldplay brought the festival home in spectacular fashion — literally, if you include the band’s “Viva La Vida” French Revolutionary-themed costumery — with show pieces ranging from pyrotechnics to enormous yellow balloons released into the audience during the song “Yellow.”
“As four people from Britain who grew up in the mud and rain, we take off our proverbial hats to you New Yorkers and New Jerseyans who came out to what can only be described as a mud jacuzzi,” said singer Chris Martin. He later said the show was “one of the strangest smelling but best concerts we’ve ever done,” referring to the strong odor of manure that had been churned by the storms and lingered over the festival grounds. Coldplay also paid tribute to “absent friends” with an acoustic “Billie Jean” cover and, in one of the more unexpected interpretations of the weekend, Chris Martin’s solo piano crooner version of the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right to Party.”