My dad bought me my first Coldplay album. We had a long car ride together and needed some music. It gave my dad and I something to talk about, something we could experience together. I left the album at home when I left for college, but I got to live the experience again last night.
The theme of bringing people together was strongly felt when Coldplay played Nationwide Arena Thursday night. The group performed a show that was very aware of the audience. Chris Martin, the group’s frontman, took a moment to stop the show and thank everyone who had to “miss your homework or get a babysitter.” The audience was riveted, from the man who reminded me of my father to the kids wearing ear plugs, Coldplay kept the audience’s attention.
The band engaged the crowd by making them a part of the show. People were given large LED wristbands as they walked in. These wristbands were controlled by the band, flashing and changing color in sync with the music. For instance, when the group played “Yellow,” the bands pulsed yellow across the crowd. Martin repeatedly requested that the audience sing, clap and dance with him, stating the importance the crowd played in the show. The singer went as far as stopping the show to quiet a security guard who was interrupting an emotional performance of “Everglow” dedicated to victims of violence and “places that need your love.” The band went on to play a song that was requested via a fan on Instagram, making the show a personal experience that was shaped by the crowd.
The age gap was not the only thing the group bridged. During the two hour concert the group performed their music in it’s traditional pop rock style as well as mixing it up, performing an EDM version of “Paradise” and a folk inspired version of “Til Kingdom Come.” The band covered “Heroes” as a tribute to Prince and David Bowie, as well as Van Morrison’s “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” on behalf of one of the band members for his daughter. Before the group came on stage, “O Mio babbino caro,” an Italian aria was played. The show included sound bites from speeches, including a clip of a young Muhammad Ali emphasizing using one’s influence for good.
Fusing all of these differences together was an energy-filled set that included the group performing on the main stage and in the crowd. Color was emphasized through lights, confetti and large balloons that were thrown into the crowd. What could have easily turned into an out-of-control set that exhausted the audience was paced masterfully.
The group cleverly paired high- and low-energy songs, transitioning from “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall” into the more relaxed “The Scientist.” This rise and fall was shown to the crowd through imagery on stage. Birds, butterflies and turtles were shown flying and wings were projected onto the performers. The band used a screen beneath them to depict falling into spirals and holes, with one instance of Martin spinning with the video until he seems to spin out of control and fall over.
After nearly two decades of working together Coldplay has managed to find a balance that keeps people happy by building a show that includes it all. Fans young and old are welcome, music from the latest album is played along with old hits and the show is beautifully choreographed to keep fans engaged and energetic.
Through a light-filled concert that emphasized love and “good vibes,” Coldplay has created a show that is not only fun to watch, but fun to be a part of.