It had always made sense to think of Coldplay’s Chris Martin as a new-age Bono – both are skilled in crafting big, sweeping modern-rock anthems. As lyricists they differ. Martin goes for the sensitive-guy routine more than the U2 front man, writes cincinnati.com (for The Enquirer).
There’s a comparison that might work even better, and Martin himself, perhaps unaware of the connection, gave the clue during the British band’s Thursday-night show at Riverbend. When he and his band did a version of “I’m a Believer,” it was clear. No, not that Coldplay are the Monkees to Radiohead’s Beatles. Somebody crueler can say that. It’s that Martin is a modern-day version of the guy who wrote “I’m a Believer,” Neil Diamond. Each has his look (a jumpsuit for Neil, fake military jackets for Chris), each errs on the side of schmaltz as a songwriter, each has about 50 million female fans who swear by him.
And – most important as it pertains to a live performance – Martin, like Diamond, is all about being an entertainer. A big crowd, short of a sellout, was able to see Martin go all out. He was prancing on the stage. He collapsed at the end of a song in feigned exhaustion. He sat at his piano, getting all sensitive with it, hitting a final note in full throat, with a video shot right on cue zooming in on a bulging neck vein. Oh, the intensity. That sort of melodrama was balanced out with a few actual quality rock songs; lots of high-end production in terms of lights, lasers and sundries; and personalized “unplugged” moments.
The band – Martin and guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion – left the main stage to play a pair of mini-sets, one on a stage that was roughly 12 feet by 8 feet on the “house-right” side of the pavilion, the other on an even smaller stage at the front-and-center position on the lawn. On the lawn stage Martin sang “I’m a Believer” and an impromptu blues song with the line “I don’t know but someone said, the Cardinals got beat by the Reds.” The crowd cheered, and St. Louis beat the Reds 3-1 Thursday night.