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    East Troy review: Coldplay energizes Alpine Valley crowd (plus new pictures)

    magicball2.jpgBefore the encore to Coldplay's two-hour show at Alpine Valley on Saturday night, lead singer Chris Martin came out onstage with a clipboard and announced officiously that he was holding the results from the band's audience ranking. Of the 138 shows so far in Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" tour, the Alpine crowd ranked "in the top one," writes 77 Square.


    Even if he tells that to all the other girls, Saturday night's show did buzz with an electricity that probably only comes a few times on a good tour. It spanned more than 20 songs, including an acoustic tribute to Michael Jackson with "Billie Jean." The band's presence onstage was loose and energetic. Martin skipped, rolled and bolted across the stage like a dancer, ending "In My Place" flat on the floor in a backbend (those yoga classes with Gwyneth are paying off).

    He nailed Coldplay's trademark soaring melodies, but played with the lyrics as if he was goofing off in rehearsal and ad-libbed references to Alpine. He self-effacingly excused any mistakes he made during the show: "If you had a 50-ft. screen of your head behind you, you'd be distracted, too. You'd feel like a bad Justin Timberlake impersonator."


    Martin's colorful, futuristic Civil War hobo/soldier suit fit well with Coldplay's overall stage theme, which included spinning orbs above the stage, shots of confetti and several screens of gorgeous live footage edited with all the quick-fingers flashiness and creativity of a DJ mixing beats. During "Yellow," dozens of large yellow balloons appeared like magic above the audience and bounced lanquidly -- less like beach balls and more like bubbles in a lava lamp. Just as quickly as they appeared, the crew made them disappear. (Somewhere in Coldplay's rider, there must be a stagehand position entitled "balloon wrangler.")


    As the last chorus of "Yellow" lifted up over the crowd, Martin asked "the 34,000 of you" to join the four-member band for the song's last line, joking that only together would they equal the Dave Matthew's Band in number. The sky had been moody all evening and finally burst into showers during the tour's namesake song, "Viva La Vida." A rustle spread across the hill of hoodies flipping up and blankets getting wrapped around shoulders. Far from being an annoyance, the rain brought the crowd together and matched the song's expansive melody and jagged, pumping beat. As well as Coldplay's music is suited to big arenas like Alpine Valley, some of the best parts of the show came when the band ditched the electric instruments and played two sets in the lawn seats, one on each side of the hill. It was here that they performed "Billie Jean" in the style of a pub jug band, and led the entire crowd in a cell phone wave.


    Read the full review online at 77 Square now.


    New photos of Coldplay at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI (25th July 2009)


























    Pictures by joannahanner @ Flickr




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