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21-Nov-08: Denver - Tickets, Preview, Meetups, Review/Photos

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yeah it was an older crowd (we were the only ones that could afford it!!) so not as many teens and young adults as you'd maybe expect. I remember being one of the few 30+ aged people at DCFC so it is interesting that Coldplay fans seem to be mostly maturing (even as a lot of them are still newer fans).


I'll admit to not rocking out too much, just a little yelling, some head nodding.


It's hard to rock out when its all dedicated seating. When they played at the Filmore you could move around due to the general admission seating and the flat floor. If you rock out in the stands you can fall forward on your face and on a lot of people. Besides the jumbotron was closer then the band itself. It's hard to get super enthusiastic when you're paying $100 to watch live tv.


Seriously though I saw an enthusiastic crowd, maybe not the younger type you'd see waiting for hours by the back exit after the show for an autographb (like in the good old days) but the kind who were happy of the show they were getting, yelling, and hands up any time the lightd came up. I'm sure the people who could afford the main floor did it less from enthusiasm and more from being able to afford it.


When it was a matter of waiting 3 hours in line for the good seats rather then shelling out a $150 a ticket you got a more hardcore fan in front and center. Now you generally get the yuppies there instead these days. But I digress.....

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At Coldplay’s not-quite-sold-out concert at the Pepsi Center on Friday night, Chris Martin was manic and playful and athletic and weird and animated and, yes, a little bit over-the-top.


It was refreshing to see that the once-stiff Martin has evolved as a performer – a performer who plays and dances and jumps on stage when he’s not sitting at his piano stool, rocking back and forth like a possessed idiot savant. Yes, this is the same Martin that has been pegged as a pretentious, sometimes-ridiculous artist who is trying a little too hard to be important. The funny thing: This silliness is exactly what Martin needed to balance things out. He made his name on a sappy song called “Yellow,” and while his piano-fronted music was tailor-made for middle-of-the-road FM radio, he always spoke in terms that were much bigger than any of his work.


Some of his aspirations are commendable, including the work he and his band have done for Oxfam. But some of his other aspirations – say, to be the next U2 – have been absurd. Coldplay is Coldplay. They can fill arenas, and they’ll continue to do so as long as they stay prominently on the radio. But it seems like the band got lost in its middle years, obsessed with trying to be something it wasn’t. (You’ve heard bands trying to sound important. Listen to the last Killers record and most parts of Coldplay’s “X&Y.”)


And yet now the band is finally approaching its initial aspirations. Coldplay is a tremendous live band, and while their catalog of music isn’t as strong as their emotional connection in a live arena, it’s steadily getting better. An example of Coldplay transcending its recordings in concert: In a late-set “Politik” on Friday, Martin and his bandmates masterminded a maniacal build that started around 150 degrees, jumped to 350 degrees with the quick flip of the dial, dove back to the 150 degree range and then leaped instantly into hazardous self-cleaning territory.


It was a powerful and loud moment, and it was also risky. That song wasn’t the same track that kicks off the 2002 disc “A Rush of Blood to the Head.” It was a brawnier hulk that demanded an arena singalong, dramatic backlighting and earplugs (depending on where you were sitting). The song was a jagged rush, and it invigorated the adoring audience to sing right along with their heroes.


The show didn’t lack big moments. A straightforward “Clocks” came early in the night and jump-started the audience into singalong mode. Martin loves working that piano stool, and while his gyrations aren’t as sensual as, say, Tori Amos, he looks like an excited little boy as he quickly rocks back and forth on the stool.


“Speed of Sound” is one of the band’s biggest hits, but it’s also one of the most uninventive songs in their catalog. It’s big enough to fill an arena, sure, but it lacks the vitality of “Talk,” which was later performed (as an upbeat remix of the original) on one of the stage’s two jutting runways.


“Viva La Vida” was a big moment, but of the new songs played on Friday, the instrumental “Life in Technicolor” and the moody “Lost!” left the most lasting impressions. “Life in Technicolor” was pure whimsy, and the band was obviously having fun with that one. And “Lost!” is a big song that bursts with life, and it hints at potential greatness from this band.


The supposed greatness of “Fix You” is still lost on me. But I will note that I was in the minority who weren’t feverishly singing along with Martin on that track, which came about halfway through the set. The band’s single-song encore of “Yellow” was welcomed by the crowd.


The band’s production this time out was smart and chic. Two runways stretched from each of the stage’s sides into the audience, and the band wasn’t afraid to use them. The lights were decent, but the video screens – and the six, giant video bulbs that went up and down at various points of the night – enhanced the show massively. A glorious late-show shower of butterfly-shaped confetti didn’t hurt.


“The Scientist” got special play as the band walked off the stage and through the crowd and up some stairs, where a second stage was set up in front of one of the VIP boxes. Chris Martin – dressed in a purple shirt, his signature jacket with multicolored armbands, patchwork pants and some ratty black tennis shoes – joked a lot throughout the night. From this sidestage perch, he made a joke about the people in the front row feeling ripped off (given the band’s temporary relocation) and then settled, talking quickly about having to get into the right mood to play the sad song. The performance of “The Scientist” was simple, unremarkable, but the band was rewarded for always sharing the love and occasionally hamming it up for cell phone pictures.



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