July 9, 2012
by J.D. Cook
In 2005 my Uncle Austin and my Aunt Anu introduced me to the band Coldplay with the album X&Y. This album lead me into the band’s past work on Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head. I found it all very compelling and after a period of devouring everything the band had done I continued to listen to them with frequency. In 2008, I was completely blown away by Viva La Vida or Death and All His friends. I loved the change from piano rock to a far more balanced and pure form of alternative rock. After this, “Christmas Lights” became one of my holiday must plays and it even ranked number 5 in Big Blue Bullfrog’s Christmas song countdown! Since I was introduced to Coldplay in 2005 I have longed to see them in concert as I had heard that they were outstanding live. Thanks to that very same Aunt and Uncle duo my dreams were made reality and I found myself sitting in the Wells Fargo Arena on July 6th watching Coldplay on their Mylo Xyloto tour. But did the experience live up to my expectations?
YES! I cannot say how ridiculously blown away I was by them. Before I get into that, I should touch upon the opening acts. Wolf Gang, an alternative British band, opened up the show well. They have a fairly eighties sound, but not in a bad way. I enjoyed their enthusiasm and excitement as they pounded away on the drums and got things started right. They were followed by Robyn…I don’t get her. She’s a Swedish techno chick, not my cup of tea.
Finally the lights dimmed and…the Back To the Future theme played? I love that Coldplay chose to walk on stage to this particular tune. The stage began to light up and the graffiti on the stage began to glow. When the song “Mylo Xyloto” started, something I had never experienced at a concert happened. I was completely awed! Coldplay gave every member of the audience a “Xyloband” when they entered the arena. They were bracelets in a variety of colors and each one helped to light up the Wells Fargo arena like a Christmas tree! After giving the crowd some time to marvel at the spectacle the show really kicked off with; “Hurts like Heaven”.
I never thought I would ever see a performer anything like Jim Morrison or Freddie Mercury in person, but this past weekend I did. Chris Martin has a rare talent as a front man. At no point was I standing anywhere near him in the audience, but I always felt like he was right next to me. He raced around the stage like a man possessed and involved the audience in Coldplay’s songs at every turn. I walked out of the concert thinking that Chris Martin must be a damn delightful man in person. There were two points where he expertly ingratiated the audience. The first was when he said;
I don’t know if some of you had a shit day at work, maybe some of you had a great day, what ever brought you here or whatever crap you had to go through to come to our concert we appreciate it. Last night we did a fantastic dress rehearsal for what’s gonna be tonight the best concert we’ve ever played in our lives. And they were incredible yesterday as an audience but I have a feeling you’re going to be slightly better than anyone else we’ve ever seen before…”
The second was after a technical malfunction. He quickly saved the day and did a great rendition of ‘Trouble’ which used to be viewable online before the you tube video was taken down. This was ironic since he asked for the song not to be uploaded to the web.
The extravaganza didn’t end there through! Beach balls fell from the sky and confetti exploded from the stage. All the while, I was most impressed with how much better Coldplay sounded in concert. I have often dealt with people calling Coldplay soft, but after seeing “In My Place” live, I am prepared to debate that accusation to the bitter end! Songs I found only mildly entertaining on Mylo Xyloto were given new depth and life live, such as “Major Minus” (Check out my full review of Mylo Xyloto here). The band did a great mix of older and newer material to give the audience a concert that truly fulfilled them. “Lovers in Japan” was another major highlight of the concert because it’s a great gem that doesn’t get enough recognition from Viva La Vida. Of course, Coldplay did an awesome encore too…IN THE AUDIENCE! The highlight of the entire encore was when the band returned to the stage for an emotional and beautiful performance of “Fix You”. My only complaint would be that the concert felt short at around an hour and half, but this didn’t leave me feeling unfulfilled, just desiring more.
There wasn’t a dull moment in the concert. I got to sing along with the one of my all time favorite songs, “The Scientist”, I got to pantomime “Viva La Vida” along with Chris Martin and I got to enjoy “Speed of Sound” with the people who introduced me to it back in 2005.