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    Hollywood Bowl review 2: Coldplay thrills fans with technicolor spectacle (1, 2 & tonight - 4 May)

    7138125613_b11e2295ae_s.jpgWhat an air-tight Technicolor delight Coldplay presented Tuesday night at the Hollywood Bowl, the British quartet’s first of three sold-out shows at the landmark amphitheater, followed by a headlining turn Saturday in Irvine at KROQ’s 20th annual Weenie Roast, writes the OC Register in another review of Coldplay's concerts at the Hollywood Bowl on Tuesday night (1st, 2nd & 4th May). Catch up on the latest tweets, pictures, videos from the shows at the Coldplay Live forum here (1st), here (2nd) and here (4th - TONIGHT!) now. Read on for the OC Register review article...


    We knew something fairly spectacular was in store just walking into the venue, at which point scores of assistants clutching thick, DayGlo-colored wristbands approached every patron insisting each pick a color. I snatched a green one, scoffed a bit at its Twitter sponsorship scrawl, then secured it snugly, forgetting all about the memento while enjoying English electro-pop outfit Metronomy’s satisfying warm-up set. Where a watch face might go, these wristbands instead have a small plastic box with a smaller slit along one side. “Cool,” I thought as the lights went out and Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” yielded to John Williams’ theme from Back to the Future. “Maybe I’ll be able to shoot a laser beam from my wrist and feel like a real superhero.”

    Why Coldplay would want to equip nearly 18,000 people with tchotchkes of such blinding potential, well, that I couldn’t figure out. Perhaps it would enable the crowd to virtually graffiti the Bowl’s shell in the same manner as the inside sleeve of the band’s fifth album, last October’s Mylo Xyloto. Not exactly – their gimmick was more smartly employed than that. Within moments of taking the stage, as the group’s current title-track instrumental gave way to its lead-off salvo, “Hurts Like Heaven,” most of these wristbands (some were duds) began to glow a rainbow of colors as far as the eye could see, illuminating the night and flashing in time to the music, electronically triggered by who-knows-what.


    Atop the Bowl’s shell came huge blasts of fireworks, like you only get on the Fourth of July. As “Heaven” wrapped and the familiar strains of “In My Place” started to chime, so too did giant confetti blasters throughout the venue begin to coat the crowd in wide slips of tissue paper – some shaped as birds, others as flames. Two songs later, when frontman Chris Martin led his mates into first a rousing “Japanese Lovers” and then a Police-worthy call-and-response for “The Scientist,” enormous balloons (also stuffed with confetti) were launched into the amphitheater. Not just close to the stage, either: At every level of the Bowl, from the orchestra pit to cheaper seats high on the hill, these huge spheres could be seen bouncing above people’s heads. It was practically carnival-like after a while, the ticker-tape celebration of Coldplay’s Viva la Vida shows of four years ago taken to the nth degree. You’d think it would have been too much too soon, an overwhelmingly joyful launch establishing a level of exuberance that surely couldn’t be sustained for the rest of a 90-minute set.


    Re-examining the show removed from its sudden impact, you realize there actually weren’t other tricks up Coldplay’s collective sleeves. The subtle shifts in mood (video screens switched to black-and-white) as well as position (the encore started with “Us Against the World” from a small makeshift stage in the middle of the venue) are stunts the group has handily pulled off before. Likewise, the fireworks finale for “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall,” though a sight to behold, merely piled on more of the same pyrotechnics.


    Martin & Co. – Edge-y guitarist Jonny Buckland, anchoring bassist Guy Berryman, crucial linchpin Will Champion providing dynamic drumming (forceful like Dave Grohl one minute, nuanced like Stewart Copeland the next) – certainly recapture the thrillingly inspirational spirit that surges through the best of U2. For years now they’ve stamped it with their own similar-yet-distinct trademarks, particularly chant-worthy choruses with global appeal. But technological marvels they so far aren’t. Whenever a gleaming new zillion-dollar production from Bono’s gang hits town, I’m left gawking, wondering “how’d they do that?” during at least a half-dozen tunes. I know exactly how Coldplay pulled off its frenzied party at the Bowl, and that’s the genius of it: They’ve taken the same materials countless superstars have used over the years and fashioned something entirely fresh out of them, creating an interactive experience that engages seemingly every member of the audience to a fuller extent than any arena-level show has before.


    Even more impressive is that all this artifice never obscures the music, only enhances it. I wasn’t wild about Mylo Xyloto when it dropped in fall – it seemed as much a confused comedown after another peak studio performance (2008’s Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends) as 2005’s sleek, sometimes soulless X&Y was to the band’s masterful monster A Rush of Blood to the Head from 2002. We Californian fans have had a long time to stew in the new material, while Coldplay has indulged only brief benefit sets locally (at Pauley Pavilion, at Club Nokia), always without the full-blown array they’ve been bringing to basketball halls from coast to coast.


    The disc isn’t exactly improving as it sinks in; for every high-impact moment, whether over-the-top (“Paradise”) or minimalistic (“Us Against the World”), there’s another cut whose energy can turn sludgy from so much Eno-assisted glitter. Yet so much of that has been stripped away on stage. Right off the bat, “Hurts Like Heaven” sounded less like an iffy attempt at mainstream electro-rock and more like a storming anthem, powered by Champion pounding. “Major Minus,” instantly among the most U2-like creations in the Coldplay catalog, was doubly so in its charging rendition at the Bowl, while “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart,” which led an invigorating string of selections to finish off the main set, came devoid of synthetic wash and soared ever higher because of its reliance on good old-fashioned guitar-rock. In moments like that, you could detect what their new album might have become had they opted to fulfill a desire to get back to basics rather than chasing their next envelope-pushing whim.


    On tour they’ve developed a convincing fusion of the two: What’s merely interesting on Mylo Xyloto (a concept album with a larval narrative about love among the futuristic ruins) has became positively commanding live, each new piece building from strength to strength. Even lesser or quieter passages, like a mid-set pairing of “Princess of China” (Rihanna joined via video) and the soulful ache of “Up in Flames,” came across grippingly. The finesse the group brings equally to new and older material speaks to both road-seasoning and perfectly blended chemistry: Martin’s tender falsetto has never sounded so spot-on and heartwarming; Buckland’s guitar lines have rarely been so seamlessly integrated. Many songs have been treated to blood transfusions, yet any twists – the lower-register lead-in for “Yellow,” the Springsteenian start to “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face,” an almost impossibly peppy pace for their greatest piece, the ballad “The Scientist” – never spoiled the overall feeling those well-established tracks need to convey. As with Martin’s once-spastic stage antics, now as controlled as his awestruck humility, all of these favorites have nestled into a power zone, surpassing their studio counterparts without sacrificing essential elements.


    And oh those mighty singalongs! There are few bands on the planet so capable of ripping past people’s too-cool inhibitions to elicit immense cheer. Only for the Boss do L.A. crowds sing so ecstatically, and rarely will they do it at the Bowl. What a testament to the increasing magnetism of Coldplay, and what a rebuke to snoots who can’t see past their thesauruses long enough to hear a lastingly rousing hook when it grabs their soul. The entire thing was so effortlessly buoyant, it seemed to fly past like a lost helium balloon about to get sucked into the ether – yet it also reasserted what a tremendous force this band has become. Easily one of the best shows of the year. No matter how much the Black Keys killed at Coachella, it’s still a shame this wasn’t the fest’s super-happy opening-night explosion, like Arcade Fire on steroids.


    New photos of Coldplay performing at the Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles (2nd May 2012):


















    Photos courtesy of Stereogum (click for more!)


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    Don't forget to check out your tour discussion thread if you are getting Coldplay tickets or just getting excited for the European & North American 2012 shows and other forthcoming appearances:


    FEBRUARY 2012

    8 Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia (iHeartRadio) [discussion]

    9 Los Angeles, CA @ Jimmy Kimmel Live [discussion]

    10 Los Angeles, CA @ GRAMMY Week MusiCares Person of the Year tribute [discussion]

    12 Los Angeles, CA @ 54th Grammy Awards, Staples Center [discussion]

    16 Sydney, Australia @ 2DayFM, Mobile Live Set (intimate show) [discussion] [CANCELLED]

    17 Sydney, Australia @ Sunrise (intimate show) [discussion] [CANCELLED]

    21 London @ Brit Awards 2012, O2 Arena [discussion]


    MARCH 2012

    2 New York, NY @ Good Morning America [discussion]

    4 New York, NY @ The Secret Policeman's Ball, Radio City Music Hall (Amnesty International) [discussion]


    APRIL 2012

    17 Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place [discussion]

    18 Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome [discussion]

    20 Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena [discussion]

    21 Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena [discussion]

    24 Portland, OR @ Rose Garden Arena [discussion]

    25 Seattle, WA @ KeyArena [discussion]

    27 San Jose, CA @ HP Pavilion At San Jose [discussion]

    28 San Jose, CA @ HP Pavilion At San Jose [discussion]


    MAY 2012

    1 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl [discussion]

    2 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl [discussion]

    3 Los Angeles, CA @ American Idol show [discussion] [NEW!]

    4 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl [discussion]

    5 Los Angeles, CA @ KROQ's Weenie Roast y Fiesta [discussion] [NEW!]

    18 Porto, Portugal @ Dragao Stadium [discussion]

    20 Madrid, Spain @ Estadio Vicente Calderón [discussion]

    22 Nice, France @ Stade Charles Herman / Nikaia [discussion]

    24 Turin, Italy @ Olympic Stadium [discussion]

    26 Zurich, Switzerland @ Letzigrund [discussion]

    29 Coventry, UK @ Ricoh Stadium [discussion]


    JUNE 2012

    1 London, UK @ the Emirates Stadium [discussion]

    2 London, UK @ the Emirates Stadium [discussion]

    4 London, UK @ the Emirates Stadium [discussion]

    7 Sunderland, UK @ the Stadium of Light [discussion]

    9 London, UK @ Wembley Stadium (Capital FM's Summertime Ball 2012) [discussion] [NEW!]

    9 Manchester, UK @ the Etihad Stadium [discussion]

    10 Manchester, UK @ the Etihad Stadium [discussion]

    22 Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center [discussion]

    23 Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center [discussion]

    25 Houston, TX @ Toyota Center [discussion]

    26 Houston, TX @ Toyota Center [discussion]

    28 Tampa, FL @ St. Pete Times Forum [discussion]

    29 Miami, FL @ American Airlines Arena [discussion]


    JULY 2012

    2 Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena [discussion]

    3 Charlotte, NC @ Time Warner Cable Arena [discussion]

    5 Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center [discussion]

    6 Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center [discussion]

    8 Washington, DC @ Verizon Center [discussion]

    9 Washington, DC @ Verizon Center [discussion]

    23 Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre [discussion]

    24 Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre [discussion]

    26 Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre [discussion]

    27 Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre [discussion]

    29 Boston, MA @ TD Garden [discussion]

    30 Boston, MA @ TD Garden [discussion]


    AUGUST 2012

    1 Auburn Hills, MI @ Palace of Auburn Hills [discussion]

    3 East Rutherford, NJ @ Izod Center [discussion]

    4 East Rutherford, NJ @ Izod Center [discussion]

    7 Chicago, IL @ United Center [discussion]

    8 Chicago, IL @ United Center [discussion]

    11 St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center [discussion]

    28 Copenhagen, Denmark @ Parken Stadium [discussion]

    30 Stockholm, Sweden @ Olympic Stadium [discussion]


    SEPTEMBER 2012

    2 Paris, France @ Stade de France [discussion]

    4 Cologne, Germany @ Rheinenergie Stadium [discussion]

    6 The Hague, Netherlands @ Malieveld [discussion]

    12 Munich, Germany @ Olympiastadion [discussion]

    14 Leipzig, Germany @ Red Bull Stadium [discussion]

    16 Prague, Czech Republic @ Slavia Eden Stadium [discussion]

    19 Warsaw, Poland @ National Stadium [discussion]

    22 Hannover, Germany @ AWD Arena [discussion]


    Read also: European Stadium Tour announced! (general discussion thread for the Europe tour)

    Read also: North America Tour announced! (general discussion thread for the US/Canada tour)

    Read also: 2012: Live Appearances - Easy Thread Finder (last updated - 12th January 2012)

    Read also: 2012 tour date rumours (please post dates for ALL countries in here)


    Kit yourself up for the forthcoming MX tour and get spotted with Coldplaying's new range of merchandise! [click on the items for the full shop]


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    The new range of Coldplaying merchanise (unofficial of course to the official shop) has hit our stores, with our biggest range of goods so far. Prices are as low as they can be for a Cafepress shop so more people will be able to afford them. We don't take any profits for the sale of the merchandise as a result. Take a browse in one of the online stores nearest to you: UK | US | Canada | Australia | European (shipping is worldwide, but you can choose what currency to pay in) - simply alter the country dropdown menu at the top of the shop page. [thanks to TracieMorgan and zzz]


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