When Coldplay debuts its arena show on Friday in Iowa, the occasion will rate more than just a gig for one of the band members.
Jonny Buckland, 31, will be on something of a family vacation. Buckland tours not only with Chris Martin, Guy Berryman and Will Champion - but also with his 19-month-old daughter, Violet, and his fiance, Chloe Lee-Evans. "We travel a lot together," Buckland said over the phone last month from his home in London. "We're just a normal family, kind of. A normal traveling family."
Violet is already showing some "early signs" of rock-star tendencies, he added. "She definitely likes dancing," Buckland said. She especially likes "Viva la Vida," the title track of Coldplay's fourth studio album that has garnered major awards, including Best Rock Album at this year's Grammy Awards.
Buckland has previously referred to Coldplay's first three albums as a trilogy. "Viva la Vida or Death and All Its Friends," he said, treads on new sonic territory.
"Obviously, there's going to be lots of links to (our) previous music, but working with Brian (Eno), it was a fresh start for us," Buckland said of recording with famed producer Eno, who's credited with also helping to reinvigorate the careers of David Bowie, the Talking Heads and U2 (a band that Coldplay deeply admires). "He's so enthusiastic about trying new ideas."
Although Buckland is removed from many of the band's business concerns - he was unaware of the band's 987,000 (and counting) Twitter followers or the recent plagiarism allegations from Cat Stevens - Buckland is intensely focused on his music. He can also sense on stage when a certain tune fails to resonate with live audiences, based on the light that filters into the darkened arena from the surrounding hallways.
"When you play a big show like in an arena, all you can really see is the exit doors," Buckland said. "When you play a song that you know is done well ... those doors are clear and you hear everyone singing along ... Sometimes you play a song, there's queues all the way down the stairs and you see people taking their toilet breaks!"
So to the 8,000 or more fans expected to flock to Wells Fargo Arena on Friday, choose wisely when you take a beer (or loo) break. Jonny Buckland will be watching to see if you like that particular song.
Coldplay at the AT& T Center, San Antonio, TX (10th June 2009):
Pictures by by sa_spurs_tx