Coldplay heat up the Garden

A review of Coldplay at the TD Banknorth Garden on October 29, 2008

, Editor-in-Chief

Hitting the TD Banknorth Garden for their second show in just three months, mega stars Coldplay delivered a show that matched the hype. Could it have been better? If we’re talking about aspirations for the best concert on earth, well yes. However, the band arrived in Boston with a wealth of hits, an abundance of talent, and loads of energy as they unleashed one helluva concert.

Standing on stage behind a mesh drapery, Coldplay eased the show open with the all-instrumental “Life In Technicolor”, which also opens the band’s new album Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends. The show began to take off with “Violet Hill”, the lead single of the new album, which was then followed by an stunning run through crowd favorite “Clocks”, complete with stellar laser show.

As always, Martin was the main attraction for most of the crowd. Filled with a contagious energy, the goofy star danced all over the stage (even when restrained to his piano). He held the crowd in the palm of his hand for the entire show and with a simple wind-up of his hand commanded the crowd to sing along to hits like “In My Place”. As much as the ladies swoon for Martin (he is married to an actress after all), it’s his band – lead guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, and drummer Will Champion – that goes far too unnoticed. They were on the top of their game at the Garden, delivering the sonic backbone to Martin’s luscious vocals.

At their show in August, it seemed the band was still working on the kinks with their live show. For the most part, round two was a substantial improvement that was buoyed by a better set. The new album finds the band experimenting much more. Some songs are obviously built for the live setting (“Viva La Vida” is a prime example with its anthemic chorus) while others seem like they could fall short due to their more complex sonic power. It was in those songs – like “Cemeteries Of London” – that Coldplay actually impressed the most.

The sense of experimentation flowed back into the live show when the band decided to rework “God Put A Smile Upon Your Face” and “Talk” into techno remixes from a side stage in the middle of the floor. It was a bold move that did not pay off, with Martin even admitting that the band screwed up both. He rescued the fall by raising the set back up with a stirring rendition of “The Hardest Part”.

Following a thunderous rendition of “Lost!” the band made their way into the crowd, literally. Setting up shop at top one of the back loge sections for acoustic runs through “The Scientist” and “Death Will Never Conquer”, the latter featuring Champion on lead vocals. It was a unique and fun move that the band also pulled at their August show. The downfall was an extended encore break that forced the crowd into listening to a remix of “Viva La Vida” while Coldplay made their way backstage.

The band returned for the first of two encores, quickly launching into the fast “Politik”. From there they took on two more new tunes, “Lovers In Japan” and “Death And All His Friends”. The show came to a close after a second encore that featured their breakthrough hit “Yellow”.

It wasn’t the best show of the year, nor was it even the best we have seen from Coldplay, even though they had all the ingredients to deliver. While it will certainly rate high in our rankings, the band fell short of the #1 spot by 30 minutes. You see, when you are fighting to be the biggest and best band in the world, you have to play two hours. It’s simple fact. Ask their contenders (U2, Radiohead, Metallica) and they will say the same. And it’s not like they could not fill that time with quality hits. “Shiver”, “Trouble”, “Everything’s Not Lost”, “Green Eyes” and “What If” are a handful that quickly come to mind. That aside, Coldplay delivered another show that oozed with greatness, and their future will be something very special to watch.

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