Last night (6 December) it wasn't uncool to be a Coldplay fan-boy as I sat immersed with 50,000+ loyal, somewhat heat-befuddled, fans at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
It was an amazing vista to peer at; so many people gathering for a rock band from the UK. Coldplay is my generation's U2. Who else can sell 50,000 tickets in a stadium halfway around the world? And this was concert #70 on their world tour. Or as Chris so graciously said: "Brisbane, we've sound-checked 69 times for this moment."Click here for more photos.
Each audience member was given a LED wristband upon entry (I had my apprehensions; hate being a sheep), but once Coldplay took to the stage, each person had their very own rave torch! The rainbow of colours didn't cease for the entire concert; it was like being bathed in digital LED bath. Brilliant.Image © Ophelia Symons
I'm not sure why a band who straddle so well the dazzling creative output associated with the greats (yeah, I know they've produced a couple of dud songs) and mainstream music fans generates so much hate. I reckon Coldplay generate more hate than Nickleback and Creed combined (a staggering thought bubble!).
But bugger the haters; this was time to soak in the glory of Coldplay's immerse back catalogue; they have a broad church to select from, which is why they appeal to so many. Yes, there were moments last night when I didn't know the lyrics to some of the newer songs, but those around me made-up for my bad miming. At other junctions I was leading the head-banging charge (yeah, we were still seated); you didn't know you can head-bang at a Coldplay concert? You can. I suggest 'Clocks'.Image © Ophelia Symons
From the opening moments of first track, 'A Head Full Of Dreams', to the closing moments of second track 'Yellow', as the crowd sang the chorus in full voice back to the band, when Chris said: "This is going to be a good night", something special was in the air. Even if the moon was enveloped in a cloudy mist (it wasn't the smoke from the pyrotechnics either).
Chris Martin's piano playing remains the best ivory tinkling my ears have heard in 15 years in the industry. To command 50,000 fans quiet attention is a skill not many can employ. Yet his technique often leaves him lurching on the edge of his chair, contorting his face in a manner that leaves you wondering if this will be his last performance.
The band had multiple stages to work from; the primary stage at the Caxton St end of the stadium was where they were housed for most of the evening… when the band broke into the Tiesto remix of 'Paradise' at the tracks conclusion I was ready to break out the glowsticks (Coldplay; please consider an electronica album some day).Image © Ophelia Symons
But as the stadium was enveloped in darkness, the LED wristbands dimming for the first time in 20-plus minutes, the band moved to the centre of the pitch for an electric-acoustic interlude atop a stage (which was linked to the main stage by a gangway that Chris managed to sprint back and forth several times) perch among the standing crowd. 'Always In My Head', 'Magic' and 'Everglow' were added to the setlist, showcasing the band's diversity.
It was then back to the main stage where the band reeled off the likes of 'Clocks', 'Charlie Brown' and 'Hymn For The Weekend'. I'd tell you about the brilliant cover of 'Heroes' but I had headed for men's room when 'Fix You' started and that was blended into the Bowie classic and I only caught the end of the song… but the fact everyone was standing (in the seated areas) at this point (first time of the night) you knew it'd had been a special moment.Image © Ophelia Symons
For those in the cheap seats (still relatively pricey all things considered) the band had a surprise waiting, with a third, boutique stage set-up amid the revellers (you know, within hand grasping distance of the band). Despite a out-of-tune guitar that prompted Chris to take the band off stage and start again, this was a real highlight of the show particularly the rendition of 'Til Kingdom Come'.
Other cool moments included a video of a young Muhammad Ali detailing his quest to use his name as a platform to foster world peace as well as Chris telling us drummer Will Champion (during band introductions) only became a Coldplay member after he failed to become a Wiggle way back when. Jokes of course Chris would tell us. We believed him both times.
Massive props to the production staff as well; they nailed all the details even the star-shaped confetti that rained down during 'A Sky Full Of Stars'.Click here for more photos.
The only real disappointment of the entire show was Chris Martin draping the Australian flag over his head near the end of opening track, 'A Head Full Of Dreams'. It was a Dick Smith move considering he wasn't waving the First Peoples flag as well.
It was bookended at the end of the concert by Chris draping the same Australian flag next to a sign with the letters LOVE on the stage as the band walked off. The message was wonderful, the execution lacking. I know my skin crawled in the moment despite my love for Coldplay, but many others lapped up the 'parochial' move. The times… they are not a-changing.Image © Ophelia Symons
When it was time for Chris Martin to thank the crowd before departing (sans encore) two hours had flown by; it felt like fifteen minutes. But all great nights do come to an end, and as I trudged across The Go Between Bridge, humming the chorus to 'Paradise' over and over I knew I'd witnessed something special. A different kind of special to the time I saw the same band at a little festival called Splendour waaay back in 2002.
But I know Coldplay will be giving millions of folks special nights for years to come. Thanks for the amazing memories guys.Click here for more photos.
Coldplay still have shows
in Melbourne (Etihad Stadium) 9-10 December and in Sydney (Allianz Stadium) 13-14 December.