Coldplay soar with captivating show

A review of Coldplay at the Comcast Center on August 3, 2009

, Managing Editor

Making their third go-around to the Boston area on their “Viva La Vida” tour, Coldplay proved that the third time is a charm as their show was bigger, which resulted it in being better than their previous two shows here over the past year.

The knock on Coldplay was the length of their set (a mere 90-minutes) but after a near two hour extravaganza at the Comcast Center on Monday night, the band are finally were they should be. Okay, so maybe changing up the set list would be nice too.

Shadows appeared due to the bright lights shining on a large translucent curtain in front of the stage as the Brit rockers opened their show with “Life in Technicolor”, like they’ve been doing for over a year now. Just as their prior shows had progressed, crowd favorites “Violet Hill” and “Clocks” soon followed. However, a fun surprise arrived next with the surprising early run through their breakthrough hit “Yellow”. Big yellow balloons the size of an exercise ball were spread all over the sold-out audience as fans played around and sang at the same time. Frontman Chris Martin gave the fans the lead vocals at one point saying it was their “official American Idol audition”. The crowd passed their audition and were praised again during “Fix You” as the “People’s Choir of Massachusetts”, according to Martin, complimented the singer beautifully enough to be rewarded with the ad-libbed line “so far that’s the best singing of any show” during the “high up above or down below” verse.

The tender, powerful moment of “Fix You”, which could easily be a show closer, was followed by the cheesiness of “Strawberry String” which the band is currently pimping out with a new video and an iPhone application. Martin and company shifted gears again, taking off to a side stage where they played techno remixes and Martin did a few tunes solo. Johnny Buckland’s squeaky guitar playing was the force behind the techno “God Put A Smile On Your Face” while Will Champion’s hyper drumming gave “Talk” a new sound. The side stage set was a bit of a debacle as Martin’s “Hardest Part” lost the audience’s attention as well, although he was funny afterwords referring the the “3 inches of curls” the tour has added to his hair and his plan to stop touring once people start mistaking him for Michael Bolton.

The energy was immediately soaring again as the band returned to the main stage for “Viva La Vida”, the monster hit off last year’s Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. Martin ran around the stage, giving his all to the point where he ended the song on the floor as he acted like the “Oh’s” were reviving him like clapping does for Tinkerbell. The set was certainly revived as well, and kept at full speed ahead for “Lost!”.

The nomadic group relocated once again, this time huddling on a tiny stage in the lawn which caused a mass shift as the largely youthful crowd swarmed them band as if they were a free case of beer. Champion took over vocals on the classic-sounding ditty “Death Will Never Conquer” before the group got funky with a cell phone wave preceding “Billy Jean”, their tribute to the King of Pop, with Martin doing well to live up to Michael Jackson’s iconic vocals.

Back on the main stage “Lovers In Japan”, complete with butterfly-shaped confetti, and “Death and All His Friends” closed out the main set as the crowd successfully tried to lure the band back for an encore as they once again sang the “Viva La Vida” “Oh’s”. The cheers actually turned to boo’s after Martin said “after these two songs we won’t bother you for a couple years”. The band quickly won the fans back over with “The Scientist” before they closed the show much like they opened with “Life In Technicolor II”.

Coldplay’s success is currently at it’s peak even if Martin said their show the night before was their “shittiest of all time”, promising the Comcast crowd their best. It’s likely Martin was probably being dramatic on the former, but he certainly was sincere about the latter. The band brings an unbridled energy to the stage and for two-hours on Monday night, they met the expectations that come with being one of the biggest bands in the world.

The megastars received solid support from fellow Brits Elbow, who continuously introduced themselves to the still arriving crowd. The band, who won last year’s Mercury Prize (Best Album in the UK & Ireland), left a good impression with the fuzzy riffing “Grounds For Divorce” and the mellifluous ballad “One Day Like This”.

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