At the risk of echoing past reviews of Coldplay, it's really easy to forget what a good band it is. The songs all over the radio and on the group's four albums are so neatly tailored that it's always a refreshing surprise to see Coldplay live and be rocked, be it the early years at the Fillmore Auditorium or Friday night's show at the Pepsi Center, reports Rocky Mountain News.
Granted, Coldplay salted the set early with hits, including the classic Clocks, which has become more muscular with age - largely because of drummer Will Champion, who happily doubled on guitar and vocals during acoustic songs.
But the crowd was down with everything from the first note, be it album cuts or the single When I Ruled the World. In a moment of time when the news seems to be unrelentingly bleak, there's a lot to be said for a packed auditorium of music fans singing lustily and joyously along with a strong set.
It's also refreshing to see a band using common sense in the staging of a concert. Every high-tech bell and whistle was there - the gigantic big screen, floating picture orbs and enough lasers to make The Who very happy. But it was just used in a smarter way, with ramps extending into the audience near the front, and additional big-screens hung halfway back so the rear of the house felt intimate as well. They headed to the rear of the arena for another mini-set, starting with The Scientist.
"This gives everybody at the front the chance to Blackberry their friends and say 'Gee, man, we overpaid,' " singer Chris Martin joked.
Martin has steadily grown as a frontman, intense but jerky in his early days, relaxed and fun these days. He effortlessly commands the stage, where nothing feels forced or planned. He manages to convey a combination of goofiness and warmth, a far cry from the aloof image that the media has painted of him for his ambitious writing or the person he chose to marry.
The band took the stage a bit later than planned, and at press time, encores still were ahead. If recent shows are any indication, the band's first hit, Yellow, was likely to have made up a big part of that.
Jon Hopkins opened with a hypnotic electronic set, accompanied by animation on a big screen that was at the same time up-to-the-minute but also echoed the days of the old San Francisco psychedelic ballroom scene. He could have used a bigger screen, but fans were still surprisingly receptive to the edgy set.