06 March 2009
The last time I saw Coldplay was on the band's 'X&Y' tour a couple of years ago, when the 4 British men turned Rod Laver Arena into a spectacle of lights, video and effects that left me dazzled. The one disadvantage of putting on such an amazing light show, however, is that often the actual band playing the music can take somewhat of a back seat.
This time Coldplay went the other way. This time the music was the main attraction. The venue was the same, but the show was very different - an intimate gig in an arena... Seem unlikely? Chris Martin and co. pulled it off.
PHOTOS: See photos of Coldplay in action!
The band walked on stage to the most modest of entrances; the houselights were barely off when they opened with their first song 'Violet Hill'. There was no giant clock, no massive video screen, no pyro - just a simple curtain backdrop with Guy, Will, Johnny and Chris standing in silhouette. They were dressed in their home-made costumes (tying in with the 19th century 'military' theme of the latest album 'Viva La Vida) and they looked stunning.
They weren't afraid to play the biggest songs early in the set. 'Clocks' (complete with it's now famous, green laser lights) was beautiful, while 'Yellow' was lit up by large yellow balloons falling from the sky.
"We're Coldplay and we're one of the world's premier soft rock bands" Martin joked, in reference to their constant pigeonholing. They were far from soft tonight, though.
The new songs sounded brilliant tonight, with my personal favourite song from the latest album; 'Viva La Vida' drawing the crowd into a huge mass-sing-along.
Everyone was taken by surprise when all four members left the stage and walked through the crowd, right to the back of the arena. They then had a tiny improvised stage set up amongst actual seats in the crowd, and went on to play a mini-acoustic set...in the crowd! The usually epic sounding 'Speed Of Sound' was stripped right back to its core, and put a completely different spin on the song.
The lights went out once again as the group returned to stage, with Martin playing an enthralling version of 'The Scientist', before being joined by his bandmates for an exciting climax.
Ending the set with the latest single 'Life In Technicolor II', I left with a feeling of great fulfillment. I've now seen the world's biggest rock band twice, both times different, but both times memorable.