Live In Technicolour.
COLDPLAY IN CONCERT [05.03.2009]
LIVE @ ROD LAVER ARENA, MELBOURNE
The last time Coldplay toured Australia (three years ago), I was only just beginning to develop an interest in them. Interested in them I was, but the interest was not strong enough for me to catch them live. The time before that (six years ago), I, admittedly, held the opinion that the band were a bit rubbish and I actually thought Chris Martin was a bit of a wanker. It’s amazing what a few years can do; from rubbish, to solid gold, Coldplay are now one of my favourite rock groups of the last 20 years.
So there I was, seated in my nosebleed-but-that’s-okay seat for the show, waiting to not only be wowed, but blown away. There have not been many acts over the last 10 or so years that I’ve gone in to see with high expectations. Coldplay however, Coldplay were one of them. I expected to walk away feeling breathless from an exhilarating show and, to say my expectations were met would seriously not give the show the amount of justice it deserves.
Kicking off proceedings with the epic album opener “Life In Technicolour”, the charismatic Martin appeared to a deafening roar through the crowd – one unlike I’d ever heard before at the Arena. Running about over an entire stage and two catwalks, Chris lunged straight into pitch-perfect takes of “Violet Hill” and the stunning “Clocks”, with the band taking things to dizzying heights incredibly early on. A move which, perhaps, might be a little too bold, but in Coldplay’s case though, when you’ve got as many powerful melodies to select from through your discography as they do, it’s more a difficult task to maybe cull back those powerful moments rather than save them for the end of the show.
Four tracks in and the crowd were showered with streamer-filled yellow balloons for their performance of, er, “Yellow” (which Martin quite cheekily declared was their only hit), and whilst the classics were welcomed by all within the stadium (when “Fix You” was dropped, oh, it hurt my heart, but in a truly amazing, special way), it really was the new album, Viva La Vida or Death and all his friends, that really shone throughout the show. “42”, “Strawberry Swing” and “Lost!” all left powerful dents in the ears of the audience, with the biggest moment of the entire show perhaps belonging to the arrival of “Viva La Vida”.
The actual construction of the stage was incredible; one large stage with two giant catwalks on either side. The band themselves sounded incredible; the sound system was amazing and all the guys were on their absolute game through the whole show. No stuff ups, no slips; even Martin’s voice was flawless through everything. Excitingly, there was also the three-track acoustic-ish set the band performed up in the nosebleeds section of the audience, hands a-grabbing as they walked past hundreds of their fans. Cute performances of “Speed Of Sound” (which prompted a monologue from Martin apologising for not being a band as good looking as Kings Of Leon. Not surprisingly, not many people around me liked the self-deprecating humour Martin had on offer, but by golly I got it and I loved it) and – hilariously – a cover of the truly terrible “I’m A Believer” followed, which, for the absolute crock of shit that song is, was okay all considering. This was all before an arms-aloft, poppers o’clock remix of “Viva La Vida” began to boom through the speakers as the four-piece disappeared through the labyrinth of Rod Laver’s backstage dungeons.
Returning for two encores, “Politik”, “Lovers In Japan” (which came complete with stunning visuals on the backdrop screens), and the powerhouse “Death and all his friends” made up the first lot, with the final bearing “The Scientist”, “Life In Technicolour” and “The Escapist” as their triumphant outro. During the encore, I looked around me and observed the faces of those around me; smiles everywhere. I can’t help but gush over the fact that it was a truly remarkable moment to be apart of.
I did walk out of that gig exhilarated. I walked out of that gig even more in love with a band I was almost on worshipping-terms with, wishing it hadn’t had been my first time at a Coldplay gig. Chris Martin is one of the most talented people in the music business right now. His music; incredible, his lyrics; magnificently delicate. And, perhaps as expected, I’ve walked away from the gig completely in love with him and crushing on his stunning looks a little too much. “Oh well.”
By far and away, the most explosive, life-affirming stadium rock gig I’ve ever been to.
Viva La Coldplay.
An edited version of this was originally printed in Forte Magazine.