Coldplay concert's stunning visuals at KeyArena overshadow music
Rock band Coldplay performed a visually stunning concert at KeyArena Wednesday, but the special effects somewhat overshadowed the authenticity of the music.
There was a moment during Coldplay's KeyArena concert when singer Chris Martin did the seemingly impossible: He ended "Paradise" on the main stage, and moments later began singing "Us Against the World" standing near the back of the hall in the cheap seats. He managed it by being in good enough shape to sprint 100 yards, but also because the clean-cut Martin can easily fit into the landscape of his audience.
Everyman populism has always been at the core of Coldplay's success, and that was abundant at the band's sold-out show Wednesday at KeyArena. The band delivered 90 minutes of hits, complete with state of the art production that rivaled a Broadway show. Those effects started during "Hurts Like Heaven" when wristbands given to the audience began to blink, making the crowd appear like a Lite-Brite toy whenever the band cued up certain songs. Soon, confetti machines filled the sky. During "Major Minus," a cascade of beach balls followed.
The night's high points, however, came when Martin and his three bandmates dispensed with the chicanery, as on "Violet Hill," and let their anthemic rock soar unadorned. And though this was the "Mylo Xyloto" tour, it was the title track from their previous album, "Viva La Vida," that most engaged the audience, albeit with canned strings, particularly with drummer Will Champion's skilled playing.
A show with so many special effects and lighting cues had to lack some spontaneity, so it was telling that Martin's most authentic sentiment came not during a song, but during an introduction, in which he said he was singing about his "self loathing." As if he'd revealed too much, he quickly added, "no, it's about a girl." Both sentiments could apply to every song in Coldplay's catalog, but this one, done at the piano, felt like Martin unguarded.
A show that started with confetti, flashing wristbands and laser lights was bound to end that way, and Martin was soon back to running all over KeyArena. By the time he threw up his arms during the finale of "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall," he seemed both filled with the exuberance of an athlete sprinting across the finish line, and an actor hitting the final curtain call of the night.
I wanted to do a review while the whole show was still fresh in my memory that should make up for the lack of pics/videos! It will be a long one, so apologies. BTW, if anyone there saw a girl with large elephant ears, that was me.
I got there an hour before gates opened, which turned out to be useless because the area staff kept us waiting outside in the rain till 6pm (Seattle, shoulda known). I got to meet some other fans and get to the merch lines first, so I guess that was good. Also got to see the Roadies and Dan Green at work! I was hoping to see Phil but no dice
As someone else noted, the audience mix was really weird. No offence, but there were way too many older (50+) folks at the show who were all seated - and remained seated - in the front rows and clearly knew nothing about Coldplay. They weren't even chaperoning! There were no die-hard fans around me so I felt pretty silly when I got up and got really excited when 99 problems came on
The feeling when the xylobands light up the first time is just incredible. No matter how many videos of it you watch (and I have watched MANY over the last few weeks) there's nothing quite like the rush of watching everyone's collective gasp when they see the bands flashing! My bracelet for some reason stayed on till Charlie Brown played which led to everyone around me asking how I was doing that...I attributed it to my super-fandom-ness
I stayed away from watching any of the videos from the tour so far, so I could really experience the whole thing. I was a bit of a spoiler for my friends who didn't know the setlist and I felt like I knew too much. Anyway. I have a renewed love for HLH, it was such a perfect opener for MX. IMP felt really right, though I was never a huge fan of the song before. When Jonny came on the X Stage with Chris it was just… Gahhh! And Jonny ended it, of course. The next standout for me was Yellow - I did not expect the piano intro which just added a whole new dimension to the song. Violet Hill and GPASUYF were so loud and Jonny was on fire. Absolutely fabulous playing. Didn't care too much for POC, Will did sound good though. Before Warning Sign came the little speech about Guy - and the spotlight on Guy nodding along as the crowd cheered his good looks DLIBYH, oh DLIBYH - may have been my favorite of the night. I'm going to get nit-picky for a moment and say Charlie Brown sounded… odd to me...Will wasn't drumming at the start and the pace slackened a bit, but picked up quickly later. Did everyone see the flying/somersaulting Running Man during CB? The C-stage - was not a surprise to me, but was for a lot of others! I was sad that I was in section 103, directly opposite 111...if only, sigh. Chris' piano during Clocks seemed a bit off from where I was standing, but when I look at the youtube videos it sounds perfect from other spots. Fix You gave me the warm and fuzzies like always, but it sounded so perfect last night with the crowd singing very well at the end. ETIAW - I thought last night's performance of it was one of the best I've seen.
Chris' singing really stood out for me last night, in addition to everything else he does <3 There were a lot of Yoga and dance moves on display last night and also some marching to Violet Hill. He worked in enough Seattle references (Seahawks, Nirvana, Mariners) to keep everyone engaged, and really got the crowd singing and jumping. As he does, I know, I know. I'll save the rest for the Chrissy thread
I really want to go to another show now! Their strategy to keep me wanting more with the 90 minute show is really working.
My camera was crap, as expected, so I'll just post the two- one pic of my solitary flashing xyloband and one of the stage:
The view from the crowd as Coldplay performs Wednesday night in Seattle.
I don’t care what anybody says, Coldplay is awesome. Chris Martin is a star and that show last night was incredible. I should probably start at the beginning before I get too deep into my crush on the whole band.
When I entered KeyArena last night, I was greeted by a very nice ticket taking lady who handed me blue and pink a bracelet that looked like an Easter egg I found once and announced, “You have to wear this. It’s part of the show.” I don’t like being told what to do but I put it on anyway because it said “Coldplay” on it and everybody else was wearing one. More on these bracelets in a bit.
Music played throughout the arena as the stage was being set for Coldplay, much like it does at any venue between sets. Then that music suddenly got louder and unedited version Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” began to play. The energy level in the crowd picked up and I sat laughing as the mothers of the very underage concert goers panicked and covered the ears of their children.
As soon Jay-Z finished, the place went pitch black and the crowd began to scream. Then, for just a second, the place went silent as every bracelet in the arena lit up creating a brilliant sea of colorful light. It actually took my breath away and the whole crowd seemed to skip a beat to realize what just happened. The screams resumed at a decibel level that would rival that of a Seattle SuperSonics playoff game.
Coldplay opened with “Hurts Like Heaven” (video below) and “In My Place” and by the end of the second song the stage and crowd were covered in confetti. These guys opened their show the way most huge bands close a show. They set the bar high at the start and didn’t let up for the rest of the show.
At one point in the show, the lights went out again and in what seemed like a matter of seconds Chris Martin was standing under a spotlight in the middle of the crowd at the other end of the arena to perform the “Us Against the World.” The guy has got to be in amazing shape because he covered some serious ground in a hurry and it didn't seem to faze him. Martin was later joined by the rest of the band and when they finished the song they all sprinted back to the main stage.
A few people gave me a hard time when I told them I was going to see Coldplay. At one point my excitement was interrupted by the thought that this might be one of those guilty pleasures I should keep to myself.
Nope. Not even close.
That show was unreal and the next time Coldplay comes to town, you all need to attend just like I needed to wear that bracelet.