With Viva la Vida, Coldplay has shown a willingness to progress. It would have been easy to cruise along with a couple more albums as successful as A Rush of Blood to the Head or X&Y. Instead, Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman and Will Champion took a chance. Not a big chance. Viva la Vida isn’t a challenge or a dramatic change, but it does broaden the band’s scope and shows its ambition, writes The Province.
Coldplay isn’t Radiohead — yet. But it does sell more records and has used its popularity to reposition itself. Until Viva la Vida revealed a band that wanted to leave a significant mark, it was acceptable. That’s all. The acceptable face of current rock, an acceptable sound, an acceptable look. Viva la Vida sustains moods, creates a cinematic sweep in which ambitious song arrangements flourish.
So it was that the band had to reconcile its former self with the current personality. It wasted no time. After a fanfare that mocked Andre Rieu, Coldplay got down to business Saturday night, linking “Life in Technicolor II” and “Lost!,” then launching into the big hit “Clocks.” This took confidence, to go big so early, but that’s what Coldplay has become — confident.
The English band made GM Place more intimate and Martin was an appealing frontman. Stripped of layers of ambience, the Viva la Vida songs live are more direct and hit harder, while the older songs are equally aggressive, seeming like they have been given a second life in a different setting. Although Coldplay kept the show simple, there were lasers, and a shower of yellow balloons during a song appropriately called “Yellow” added a modest extra to the production.
A song such as “42” still retains its dynamism in its simpler form and the band has enough faith in one another to pull it off while making a positive statement. Coldplay is back at GM Place Sunday night.
Opener Snow Patrol came out blazing and finished its 45-minute set that way. The group also made the cavernous GM Place seem intimate. In between, Snow Patrol’s songs had a pattern of tension and release, gathering momentum as they went along. Live, the Irish-Scottish band is more aggressive than its records indicate. Frontman Gary Lightbody is agreeably personable, even humble, in his role.
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Coldplay at General Motors Place, Vancouver (20th June 2009):
Pictures & article: The Province