Hurrah! Coldplay has developed into a powerful live band! It’s amazing what a difference 2 years can make. No longer present is the awkward, shuffling Chris Martin of old. No more straining to hit the high notes. No more losing his pitch.
Last night’s show at the El Rey Theatre was fantastic! This was the best Coldplay show I’ve seen.
To a sold out crowd, the band took the stage with confidence. Those fans who had stood in line since 5pm, or earlier, were well rewarded for their dedication, as were we all.
The show kicked off with a rollicking “Politik”. Once I heard how powerfully the band was playing, and saw how Chris was throwing his entire body into playing the piano, I knew that this was going to be a show to remember. Chris shook his body from side to side, fingers pounding the keys, sweat pouring off his face.
Once they finished playing “Politik”, the band paused only long enough for Chris to stand up and strap on his guitar. They then launched into “Shiver”. Whew! I had shivers running up and down my body listening to how beautifully this was played and sung. And, to my surprise, the audience was so moved as to start singing along. Chris looked happily surprised as well, and turned the mike towards the crowd so that we could sing one of the choruses by ourselves. One girl’s voice stood out enough that Chris told her that she should be on American Idol.
Throughout the show, Chris chatted with the audience, told jokes, and was very self-effacing. Overall, he seemed so much more comfortable and confident on stage. I could now see why Coldplay received such glowing reviews for their headlining set at Glastonbury this year.
Particular highlights of the main set included “Shiver”, “Trouble”, “Everything’s Not Lost”, “God Put A Smile on Your Face”, and “See You Soon”. The latter song is an old song written by Chris and Johnny and was performed by just the two of them with acoustic guitars. Lovely!
The new songs were so full-bodied and powerful. They also allowed Chris to really cut loose while performing them. He jumped around. He would stand at the lip of the stage and lean towards the crowd. He would extend the mike out towards the audience so we could sing along. And, yes, people knew the lyrics to the new songs already.
Everyone would be in such a sweat by the end of each number that Chris would throw water bottles out to the audience. In fact, during the encores, he sprayed everyone up front with water from his water bottle. By that time, the entire club felt like a sauna and the water was very welcome.
And, when the band finally played their hit single, “Yellow”, I held my breath. Would Chris succeed in hitting the high notes? Would he stay in pitch?
The answer was a resounding yes! This was the first time I’ve heard him nail this song live.
70 minutes after taking the stage, the band concluded their main set with the “Scientist”.
When the band returned to the stage for their encores, they chose to play new songs. “Clocks” was played first and sounded great. “In My Place” made its appearance next. I love this song! And, live, it was even better. After the song ended, Chris said, “I want to introduce the band now, because I heard that there’s a famous actor feller in the crowd. (pointing to each band member) Will, Guy, Chris, and that’s Johnny!”. Chris then laughed at himself and said, “I know. Cheesy”.
Prior to introducing “Life is for Living”, Chris said, “This is the last song of the last show of the tour. We aren’t doing anything tomorrow, so if you want us to play some more, let us know after this song. We’ll leave the stage for a little while and then come back and play more, if you want”. Of course, the crowd went crazy.
True to his word, the band returned to the stage after a short break.
And…. launched right into “Lips Like Sugar”. Yep, the great Echo and The Bunnymen song!
All of the Bunnymen fans went completely mental, and there was massive pogoing, arm waving, and singing!
After that, Chris sat down at the piano again, and said that he would slow things down a bit. He also said it would be the last song, and thanked everyone for coming out to hear them play and for remembering them. They then played “Amsterdam”, a lovely, brooding song off of “A Rush of Blood to the Head”.
All too quickly, the band was waving their final goodbyes.
The time only seemed to pass quickly because the show was so massively good.
In reality, the band played for 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Yes, that’s right. One hour and 40 minutes.
Say goodbye to the 40 minute set.
Celebrity sightings: Elijiah Wood and Julia Roberts (who looked like she was having a really good time)
I suspect members of REM were in the house as well, since Chris dedicated “One I Love” “to the people who originally named this song. I hear they’re in the club tonight”. I craned my neck around, trying to spot Michael Stipe, but to no avail.
There was no opening band. A 30 minute DVD by 1 Giant Leap was shown instead. Fair trade was discussed, but due to poor audio over the PA system, it was hard to hear the dialogue, which was unfortunate. I was very interested to hear what was being discussed. The musical parts of the DVD, which were interspersed between the interviews, were good and included performances by Massive Attack, Robbie Williams, East Indian musicians, Michael Stipe, and Tim Booth (of James).
Whew! I’m so glad I was able to get a ticket to this show (the guy behind me paid $200 to a scalper to get in last night!). And, I’m glad I chose to also see them when they tour with Ash.
I found out this afternoon, that Chris and Johnny were last minute additions to tonight’s Amnesty International Benefit concert with Aimee Mann and Beth Orton. If I wasn’t so tired after last night’s show and a full day of work, I would’ve looked into getting a ticket, but decided sleep sounded waaay too attractive.