The "Mexican Cell Phone Wave," as invented by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin on Sunday night at Hersheypark Stadium, might have been a flop. But as to the British quartet's quest for big-venue rock domination, these guys may be on to something, reports Lancaster Online.
Martin and company made their debut in Chocolate Town an overwhelming success, performing 23 songs in 90 minutes — pausing only for short breaks between two encore sets.
Borrowing a few live-show tricks from their elders, U2, the guys in Coldplay quickly made the thunderstorm that delayed their debut here a passing memory. Martin's early-show gripes about being burned while coming on stage also dissolved among the dazzling light displays and large yellow beach balls that tumbled atop the crowd of 12,000.
Martin, with his too-cute-to-be-cocky mannerisms, sprinted and gyrated through the set like a confused ballet dancer with a top-class falsetto, belting out what he and his bandmates call "very heavy soft rock." Martin's conversations with the crowd and mid-song ad-libs — staples at U2 shows — kept the audience hanging on his every word and move.
The band leaned heavily on its newest material, pulling nine songs from the Grammy-winning 2008 release "Viva la Vida," and two more tracks recorded during those sessions. "I took my love down to Hershey, Pennsylvania," Martin crooned during stomping show-opener "Violet Hill." Whether he'll be telling hordes in Detroit and Vancouver the same thing next month didn't really matter.
After all, it's Martin's ability to make you think it's your personal serenade, despite the thousands at your side, that makes him so appealing. Surely, Bono would be proud — if this band didn't rival his Irish quartet for arena rock supremacy.
The band played singles from its three prior albums, including "Yellow," the ambiguously titled love song that brought them international prominence after its release in 2000. The oversized beach balls seemed to bounce along with the song's poppy beat, as Martin told his sea of fans how the stars "shine for you, and all the things that you do."
Clearly, the days when an illuminated globe was the extent of the onstage "effects" are long gone for this foursome. "Fix You," from 2005's bloated attempt at rock mega-stardom, "X&Y," also was a highlight, with its soaring crescendo and sugar-sweet coda as only Martin can deliver, "lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones."
The band seems to have a firm grasp on what its fans want to hear. The group played only three songs from that 2005 release — the band's closest brush with commercial failure — and only the color-themed anthem from Coldplay's stripped-down debut, "Parachutes."
But Martin and company performed nearly the entire track listing from "Viva" and more than half the cuts from 2002's "A Rush of Blood to the Head," also a commercial success. If the crowd sank a bit during piano ballad "The Hardest Part," it was re-ignited with "Viva la Vida," during which Martin strutted the stage's two sprawling catwalks — a stage design Bono often uses to cozy up to those not paying as much for their seats. No one could resist snapping smudgy cell phone shots as Martin "collapsed" at song's end.
The group played three acoustic tracks on top of a stadium concourse, when Martin patented his "Wave." The crowd didn't have quite as much rhythm as the headliner, though, waving their cell-phone lights in anything but unison. No matter. When the group sprinted backstage for the first encore break, their guests made it clear they wanted more.
They returned with the thrashing piano stomp, "Politick." Next, paper butterflies were spewed over the crowd as couples cuddled up to "Lovers in Japan," a marching pop track from "Viva."
"Lovers" provided the last real peak, as two piano-laced tracks followed before a mash-up of the show opener served as a recessional for the thousands who streamed out the exits.
Pictures: by sanschw