Perhaps the most lovely thing about Coldplay’s gloriously cordial “Viva La Vida” tour opener at West Palm Beach’s Cruzan Amphitheatre — and there were many — is that the band knows exactly what they are, and aren’t.
Chris Martin and company seem to have accepted that they are not edgy or dangerous, but pretty much nicely square guys from London who love straight-ahead, pretty pop songs like “Yellow” and ”Viva La Vida” with a dash of unabashedly big, anthemic songs with sweeping choruses. Their cute lead singer is married to a movie star, who happened to be sitting calmly right in the middle of the arena, and rather than make Martin seem cooler than you, the result is to make him seem like the luckiest of the nice guys.
Coldplay don’t want to confuse or anger their fans, but hug them. And if they can’t do that personally, they’ll drop swirling currents of bright paper butterflies on them and set up a stage near the lawn so the hoi polloi in the cheap seats can have a nice time.
The result is a fully-realized, feel-good show where the band’s confidence in their sound and comfort in their goofily ordinary skin allows them to take that straight-ahead, sentimental pop and send it somewhere soaring.
“At this point in the show, I feel it’s only fair to ask — Is everyone doing OK? Is everyone having a good time?” Martin asked, well into the show, as Coldplay had taken the first of two trips to side stages located in the audience. And unlike a lot of singers whose “Is everyone having a good time?” patter seems scripted in along with song introductions and what city they’re in, Martin and his Synchronicity-meets-Sgt. Pepper outfit seems to really mean it.
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