February 8, 2016
Last night Coldplay performed at halftime of Super Bowl 50.
The premise of this month's challenge is that music will take us back to very specific places and times and Coldplay did just that. It took me back four and a half years to the center of Apple's Infinite Loop campus.
I was out in Cupertino working as a contractor for Apple when the woman who organized the job I was on stopped by to tell me that work would be cancelled the next morning for a celebration of Steve Jobs.
The world had been mourning Steve's death but this would be Apple saying goodbye and thank you.
I thanked her for telling me.
She paused on her way out the door and said, "I'll check, but I think you can go too if you'd like."
And so early the next morning I walked around the main campus and entered with thousands of Apple employees and contractors and guests.
Four huge black and white images of Steve at different stages of his life looked down at us. It was breath taking.
Tim Cook came out to start the day. I don't want to overstate this but you couldn't help falling in love with Tim as the next leader of Apple. You knew the company was in the right hands. You knew that this was the man who understood what Apple had been, what Apple could be, and what Apple should be.
For so many years before we even knew that Steve was sick - perhaps before he was sick - analysts had speculated that Apple couldn't survive the loss of Steve Jobs.
At the memorial it was clear that Steve had thought a lot about that. He'd looked at Disney and the paralysis that followed Walt's passing and advised those around them that they couldn't be held back by considering what Steve would have done.
Tim gently passed that on to those gathered. He looked back and helped them see the way forward. He led.
Bill Campbell and Al Gore gave inspirational business-centric talks. Jony Ive gave a very personal and beautiful talk about his work with Steve. He pointed to Steve's brilliance and gifts while still sharing tales of Steve's misses and personality quirks.
You should watch Apple's video of the event A celebration of Steve's life.
Towards the end, Ive introduces the band Coldplay. They take the stage and lead singer Chris Martin says "We played this song for Steve ten years ago and he said it was sh**. He said we'd never make it."
It was perfect.
It was appropriate.
It was the moment I was transported back to as I heard the half time show last night.
Last night's show was spectacle and timed to the moment and rehearsed and blocked and supported by a cast of thousands.
That day in October a little over four years ago was none of that.
This morning a lot of the reviewers talk about how Beyonce blew Coldplay off the stage.
She was great but her performance was as much a part of the greater whole as Coldplay's.
Coldplay's set at Apple didn't change what Tim, Bill, Al, or Jony contributed. It was part of that day's greater whole.
That day in October, I hardly knew who Coldplay was. Earlier in the day one of my favorite performers sat behind a piano and blew me away with two songs for Steve.
Norah Jones playing and indescribable voice transported me.
She sings about "The nearness of you" and we hold on to our thoughts of Steve's legacy.
She follows by musing "If I were a painter, I would paint my memories".
It's a perfect set that closes with Bob Dylan's "Forever Young".
Jones' place in the ceremony helped us reflect and cry when we needed to. Coldplay helped us smile and look to the future.
Neither showed up the other.
Not everything need be a competition.
"May you always do for others and may others do for you".