Music Review: Coldplay “Viva La Vida Tour”

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Wembley Stadium; 19th September 2009

A homecoming is often associated with celebration. It is usually special, fulfilling and oozes with optimism. A homecoming finale however, is the icing on the cake and needs something grandiose to completely transform it into a Christmas-esque event. For Coldplay punters, this is their first ‘Christmas’ of the year and who can argue with that when you got the buzzing White Lies, the -well, fun I suppose, Girls Aloud and the simply storming Jay Z to warm up and open before Coldplay.

9PM and clad in their Adam Ant-esque costumes (lets face it, they raided his wardrobe), Chris Martin and co. take to the stage, accompanied by sparkles and cheers as they open with their instrumental Life In Technicolor from their globally successful Viva La Vida…album. The crunch and march of Violet Hill; guitarist Johnny Buckland’s twinkling notes on In My Place; and the hypnotic Clocks are all rattled off in quick succession, demonstrating that both the band and audience are in sync.

Surely, Chris Martin is one of the last people you would name as a rock star. Instead of demanding attention from the masses, he pleads for attention as he emotionally runs through X&Y’s The Hardest Part. His now ever present catchphrase “everybody doing OK?” sends shock-waves of smiles across Wembley, to a point where he comically stumbles on a piano note.

And from there, the show really begins.

Speaking of intimacy, they somehow managed to dodge the crowd and run into a small platform located 3/4 of the way of the pitch for their encore. Compared with the Wembley’s past performers such as Muse’s futuristic Black Holes and Revelations Tour, Take That’s The Circus Tour and U2 360 Tour, Coldplay’s stage set-up lacks that extravaganza. Yet, their charisma and playfulness with their masses regularly made up for it. The showering of beautiful confetti butterflies during indie sparkler Lovers In Japan is one of many examples of the relationship with their audience (unfortunately, my nosebleed seats prevented me from catching some. I could have jumped).

As always, some things never work according to plan. Tear-jerker Fix You was bumped too early in the set – in fact, it’s over-exposure on those Kleenix moments on the X Factor means it shouldn’t be on the set at all along with the techno version of God Put A Smile On My Face. Cemeteries of London has never struck a chord with me anyway, as I felt it never connected with the other songs on the record. Stick with what you know boys: “limestone” music, as Martin put it in the 2009 Grammy Awards.

So what next for Coldplay? 4 albums in and they are already one of the biggest acts on the planet. Final show of the tour and their spirits are up. Too bad I didn’t catch their final applause due to me scurrying out of the stadium like a frightened rabbit to avoid being shackled to Wembley along with 70,000+ people trying to get home at the same time.

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