Fog and freezing temperatures proved no deterrent to the Coldplay legions, who were equally indifferent to the fact that Sheffield Arena is a feat of grim anti-design that makes your local Ikea look like York Minster. The band's three-year absence from British stages had made hearts grow fonder, and the crowd's enthusiastic singalongs were often stirring. "Holy s---, that was good," boggled Chris Martin, after the audience had displayed noteworthy zeal in Fix You.
Martin doesn't look quite right as the frontman of one of the world's biggest bands, scampering eagerly around the stage and apologising for making everybody miss The X-Factor on TV as though he's leading a giant school outing, but Coldplay's secret may be the way the quartet project a sense of quiet confidence and inner strength. All flashiness has been expunged, with Jonny Buckland fitting his guitar parts carefully into the overall plan without ever straying into ego-massaging excess, while bassist Guy Berryman stays locked tight to drummer Will Champion's powerful, unswerving beat. The songs, with their messages of doubt, struggle and quest, seem like personal confessions, but are vague enough to apply to almost anybody, like horoscopes.
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