Add to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin’s talent that of tightrope walker. Monday, before what appeared to be a full house, the Coldplay singer deftly managed to be both arena-rock ringmaster and earnest songsmith. If you think that’s an easy wire to walk, well, then you’ve never tried to do it yourself, reports The Buffalo News.
Coldplay has been touring its Gram-my- winning, multi-platinum “Viva la Vida” album for more than a year, which means that the band should by now be both bushed and sick to death of the material they wrote and recorded with alternative music icon Brian Eno some three years-plus ago. Most bands just go out there and do their business, faking it qualifying as one of the many things the fans won’t notice at a big gig with bright lights and the rest.
Monday, Coldplay did something else. It proved itself to be a band worthy of the hype it has generated. And at the same time, it made a dazzling display of that fact that popular music might be at once accessible to those who only casually care and an object of extreme import to those who take such things quite seriously.
I’m not sure any back-story is needed here, but in case it is, we’ll keep it short. Coldplay is a British band formed in 1998, one that owes an incredible debt to the anthemic, incredibly melodic work done by U2, but one that is clearly seeking to do something with its own art that will last long after the past five and future 10 American Idol posers have wrapped up their careers and assumed their rightful positions as talk show hosts. (No offense.)
Monday’s show started with the band running onto the stage holding lit sparklers aloft as a prerecorded version of “Life in Technicolor” blasted through the PA. Then the band broke into “Violet Hill,” the first of many songs from “Viva la Vida” it would play throughout the evening. By the time the band tore into its second song, Martin already owned the crowd. It didn’t let up from there.
Most of the set revolved around the “Viva” material, which was fine with the crowd. In fact, that crowd greeted every Jonny Buckland guitar figure, every understated but beautiful pulse offered by the rhythm section of bassist Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion, like the golden chord signifying the return of the gods to their proper place in the sky. Though the band itself, even while moving between satellite stages set up near the rear of the amphitheatre and out on the lawn, maintained a humble stance throughout, it was difficult to receive them as much less than conquering heroes.
Even after closing with what felt like the emotional peak of the evening in “Death and All His Friends,” the band returned for a torrid run through “The Scientist,” another song that rather vividly displays Coldplay’s ability to be both a pop band and a band that actually matters, musically speaking.
And, on the way out, every attendee was handed a copy of the band’s “LeftRightLeftRight,” a live album, gratis. That’s about as good as it gets.
Pictures: Dalboz 17 @ Flickr