Coldplay in Concert

They’ve had four albums, a few British accents, and the most “fans” of any musician on facebook.com. With their smash hit Viva La Vida that is still played on radio stations despite the fact that it has been released for over a year, Coldplay has breathed new life into the rock music of this generation. Even mom and dad admit that they like to listen to them. And if it’s possible, they are even better live than on record.

I saw Coldplay in Mansfield, Massachusetts on August 3rd. Chris Martin, lead singer of the world-famous alternative rock band, as well as husband and baby-daddy to actress Gwyneth Paltrow, opened the show with “Life in Technicolor”. The crowd was immediately on its feet – it was a wonder that the people had ever sat down. A group of young men had taken their shirts off and were clearly not completely sober, but it didn’t matter because the audience was high off the amount of presence that the band commanded.

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Although Coldplay has been in the business for far longer than some other musical superpowers like Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift, it is only recently that they have exploded on the scene. Their past albums, A Rush of Blood to the Head, X&Y, and Parachutes, had a different sound than their most recent, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. In an interview with Entertainment weekly, Martin said, “We’re slightly terrified about this record, because we’ve thrown away all our tricks. The truth is, we tried to find new ones.”

Indeed, Chris Martin has been more about using his actual voice recently, rather than the falsetto that made songs like “Yellow”, “Clocks”, and “The Scientist” famous. The new tactic seems to be working for him: August 3rd concert included a full house at the Comcast Center, and audience members everywhere from toddlers to geriatrics. They are now well-known enough that blue t-shirts with “Viva La Vida” scrawled on them by a machine are sold for upwards of 40 dollars.

Coldplay performed about twenty songs in two hours, with an array of changing lights, audience participations, and band running around on three different stages. Martin preceded the second song by saying that his concert last night had been awful, and this one had to be the “best one ever!” (In a distinctively British accent). Although I have nothing to compare it to, it’s hard to imagine a concert more electrifying than that one. The only thing that anyone could possibly complain about was the exorbitant prices that the Comcast Center charged for food – $8 for a plate of fried dough? Really? Nevertheless, the entire night felt kind of surreal, what with huge Yellow balloons falling from the sky, butterflies being shot from air cannons during “Lovers in Japan”, and even “Billie Jean” to commemorate the life and demise of Michael Jackson.

If anything, Coldplay is a classy group. Even if they may swear a bit, even if their opening act drank beer on stage, there is no one who could have come out of that arena without saying that that performance was amazing, and that everyone in that band gave it their all. It was a warm summer night. Martin and others were wearing black long sleeve shirt. Their face and body were soaked with sweat. Somehow, they manage to do it again and again, every night.

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