An overused analogy to describe Coldplay is that they are akin to marmite: you either love or you hate them. I think this analogy has merit, but doesn’t go far enough. People either adore Chris Martin’s showmanship and Coldplay’s music, or are utterly revolted by his wannabe-Bonoisms and the music that Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion produce. So if you’re one of those people who at the uttering of the word ‘Yellow’ come out into feverish sweats and are overcome with that uncontrollable Hulk smash-kind of rage, now is the time to click the little x in the top right corner of the page. [Editor’s note: and that kind of person would be me, which is why I kindly asked John to take this album.]
Nearly a fortnight ago, Coldplay released their ‘Coldplay Live 2012’ album, which was recorded live at Paris’s Stade de France, Montreal’s Bell Centre and the band’s triumphant Pyramid Stage headline performance at Glastonbury last year. Now, I’ve had the pleasure of watching this band perform in the live arena just once before. At Glasto 2011, where Chris Martin et al. did what they do best and blew U2 out of the water on the Saturday night. Ok, so Beyoncé stole the headlines, but any fan of guitar-based rock ‘n’ roll and stadium rock knew there was only one victor in the battle of the headliners.
From the opening bars of the unpronounceable set opener ‘Mylo Xyloto’, it’s apparent that what the audience and listener on this album are in for is something of spectacle focusing on the true grandeur of the band. Such was the brilliance of their newest record that playing 50% of the set from the record was not a problem. Songs like ‘Paradise’ and ‘Hurts Like Heaven’ are played with the musical panache of a track that the band could have been running-out for the past decade. It’s almost apparent that this album has been more of a success to the band than ‘Viva La Vida’ was.
The quality of every air-grabbing number is as high as one after the other is fired at you. Even the intervention of the thoroughly warbly Rihanna [who seems to be on a bit of a decline at the moment) can’t ruin an almost flawless set. Chris Martin marshals the crowd with his over-set nervous persona, while the three other members prove their multi-instrumental skills throughout.
This isn’t Martin’s roadshow and co., it’s a slick, well-oiled unit. This is a band at the peaks of their career and who are already on their way to writing their way into musical folklore. The set goes on with singalong hit followed by another singalong.
But you have to wait until the 14th song for the pinnacle moment. The song which never fails to send a shiver up my spine. ‘Fix You’ sends the audience, and me included into a singalong rapture. (And remember, I’m listening in my small flatshare in Lincoln). Coldplay have triumphed again and while the haters, will of course continue to hate Martin and co. I for one am just happy that their live music can once again accompany my journeys to work in my car.
A triumphant live album, from a terrific live outfit.
Coldplay’s new live album with DVD, the all too obviously titled ‘Coldplay Live 2012′, is out now on EMI. Experience a taster in the form of ‘Paradise’, performed in Paris and featured on the CD, in this previous Live Gig Video post.