Taking the stage as the last billed performance after Justin Beiber and Ariana Grande's rousing "Love Me Harder", Coldplay delivered one surprise after another. The band strolled out to a crowd riled into a frenzy chanting "Manchester", following an unexpected video montage of musicians declaring their solidarity with the city. Grande came out with the band some 2:35:00 minutes into the 3-hour show.
All predictions as to the setlist were only partially right. Then again, no one could have seen some of it coming. The opener, for one. Chris and Jonny both hugged Grande, and Martin thanked her for being "brave and wonderful" and told her that Britain wanted to sing for her. Oasis's "Don't Look Back in Anger", the anthem for the event, made the perfect opener with Grande and the crowd singing along as the words rolled by on the screen. The crowd erupted in cheers during Jonny's rousing guitar solo. Grande embraced Chris, before shouting, "Ladies and gentlemen, Coldplay!" before she and Jonny left the stage to Chris.
Chris's thoughtful rendition of a small snippet of James' "Sit Down" invited the audience to do that as he took to his knees for a reverent delivery of Fix You. With hands clasped in prayer pose around the microphone and glances skyward, it was clear he was deeply moved by the occasion. In what will likely be remembered as one of the band's most powerful deliveries of this iconic song, the mood lightened considerably as Martin took to the piano and the confetti cannons burst with colour. Notably missing, speaking of colour, were the Xylobands. However, the bright flowers of the current tour were on display.
Viva La Vida got huge smiles from Katy Perry in the wings, as Black Eyed Pea will.i.am captured the excitement on his phone. In typical rousing fashion, Viva whipped the crowd into joyful dancing, nice to see in an evening largely inspiring tears. With a "Will let's go" from Chris, Champion seemed to send up a prayer with his drumsticks bef0re singing his heart out.
Something Just Like This predictably rounded out the published setlist, with hopes of its performance foreshadowing what we'll hear of it on Kaleidoscope. If so, we'll be rewarded with a true Coldplay version, stripped of much of the Chainsmokers' synth influence, cleanly replaced by Will's steady beat. Unanimously, Forum members watching the live feed gave high praise for this more poignant reworked sound. With the band members outlined in white on the screen as the words played, star confetti rained down on the stage. Chris fittingly had one land on his forehead, and stay there for much of the song. What stole the show was the end, with Jonny's awesome guitar and Guy's funky bit of bass.
Chris thanked the crowd, announcing, "now for something very special". That was the understatement of the night! There were Twitter rumblings of a Liam Gallagher/ Chris Martin rendering of Live Forever, crediting Chris with convincing Liam. Hopes of Noel playing on Up and Up. The latter didn't happen, but, wait - there it was, right at 3:46:00, barely 15 minutes left in the show....was that...Chris and Jonny back on stage?? Jaw-droppingly, the trio dove into Live Forever, as speculated. Proving love trumps all, Gallagher shook Jonny's hand at the end, gave him a quick hug and did the same with Chris. Yes, it really happened.
If you missed the live stream or broadcasts, the complete One Love Manchester is playing on YouTube below and available to download on our forums. What a show!