Coldplay may have been delayed by an errant, drenching thunderstorm in their first Hershey appearance Sunday at the Stadium. And singer Chris Martin said he was burned coming onstage and was thus in a less-than-charitable mood.
But no one showed their irritation on either end, and the band delivered a sparkling performance in support of their hugely-successful and Grammy-winning album "Viva La Vida." Starting with the instrumental "Life in Technicolor," the quartet marching onstage with sparklers held aloft, they punched directly into "Violet Hill." Their sound was crisp and tight, Martin's voice strong even on the falsetto portions.
But it was on their smash hit "Clocks" that they really got cracking, the crowd going bonkers, Martin singing slightly ahead of the beat and emphasizing the downbeat with his powerful piano-playing.
Two sweet tracks followed, the sweeping "In My Place" and the song that got them on the radio, the ballad "Yellow." Light of the same shade bathed the stage and massive matching balloons were batted aloft.
The cheery "Glass of Water" featured an excellent mix on its bass line - oftentimes bass can be unbearable (you know that annoying booming you get in your sternum?) but this was perfectly done. Drummer Will Champion shone on the dark "Cemeteries of London," with its rollicking groove, and the very Beatle-esque "42," which Martin kicked off on piano.
"Fix You," a fave with the ladies, was tender and heartfelt, while "Strawberry Swing" was set off by its weird, slightly Asian, slightly country (but altogether endearing) guitar melody. The four hit the catwalk for a truncated "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face" merged into "Talk," then left Martin to his own devices on an elegant and lovely "The Hardest Part." Their tale of a failed leader "Viva La Vida" got the crowd up and singing again, Champion starring on tympani this time. And "Lost!" was punched up by a jaunty hip-hop tempo that belied its rather downbeat message.
Opener Pete Yorn was almost apologetic, knowing the crowd had been waiting for the headliner, but presented a strong set nonetheless, impressing with his dark, David Bowie-sounding voice and songs like 'For Us" and Don't Wanna Cry."
Hopefully a little rain and pre-show injuries won't keep Coldplay from making a return trip - the excitement they generated won't soon be forgotten.