Coldplay will perform its first arena show in Iowa Friday at Wells Fargo Arena, in support of its latest studio album, 'Viva la Vida or Death and All Its Friends.' The album marks a different sound for the band, said guitarist Jonny Buckland, writes Metromix Des Moines.
"The process of it sounds like a new start," Buckland said during a phone interview from his London home last month. "Obviously, there's going to be lots of links to previous music, but working with Brian (Eno), it was a fresh start for us." Coldplay's collaboration with Eno, a famed music producer (U2, David Bowie, the Talking Heads), has led to a more experimental, creative sound for the band. "We've tried things we've never tried on our own," Buckland said, such as "taking ideas from hip-hop."
Even with all its superstar status, a major alternative act like Coldplay (one of the top-grossing acts in the world in 2008) might not have booked an arena show a few years ago in Des Moines. In fact, Buckland seemed a little surprised about the venue. "Iowa? We actually haven't been to Iowa," he said.
Des Moines now consistently draws big-name music headliners - mostly country and rock bands. Several years ago, before Wells Fargo Arena opened and when 80/35 Music Festival was little more than a pipe dream, bands as big and relevant as Coldplay skipped Des Moines for Minneapolis, Omaha and Kansas City.
Times have changed. As of last week, nearly 8,000 of the 10,000 available tickets to Coldplay had sold. Keith Urban and Taylor Swift's country show scheduled for June 27 was the first to sell out at Wells Fargo Arena so far this year. Lazerfest, with headliner Korn, drew a throng of 15,000 metalheads to a field in Indianola on the last day of May. And last year's inaugural 80/35 Music Festival, organized by the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC), attracted nearly 30,000 fans over two days, with about half that number paying to see headliners like The Flaming Lips and The Roots.
"Part of us booking 80/35 was to show agents and promoters that Des Moines could handle bigger shows - and bigger alternative shows," said Amedeo Rossi, project manager for the DMMC. Shows like Coldplay.
Coldplay fan Nicole Tortenson, 30, of West Des Moines, already snatched up her tickets. She normally travels beyond Iowa to attend big shows and has considered traveling to Kansas City with her husband to hear Jason Mraz on May 6. "I was really impressed we got Coldplay here," Tortenson said. "Usually we'd have to go to Chicago to see a show like this."
Coldplay at the AT& T Center, San Antonio, TX (10th June 2009):
Pictures by sa_spurs_tx