Ricoh Arena, Coventry - May 29th 2012
The decision of Chris Martin and co to perform in the Ricoh Arena, home to Coventry City FC, resulted in an excellent combination of a massive production with adoring fans, alike to the atmosphere expected on any match day.
Upcoming star Rita Ora began the evening with tunes such as ‘Hot Right Now’, her collaboration with DJ Fresh, intoxicating the crowd with her success within the mainstream party scene already this year. Following Ora was old favourite Robyn, delivering an interesting performance, her energy absolutely unbelievable, sometimes verging on frightening. Bringing both old and new tracks to the table, ending predictably on ‘Every Heartbeat’ and shockingly evading catchy ‘Be Mine’ from her set list, Robyn nonetheless succeeded in projecting her incredible energy into the entire stadium.
Mexican waves were rife throughout the raised seated area, warranting cheers and boos from the standing area depending on both their efforts and the distance the wave managed to cover on each attempt. As the Back to the Future theme music signified the opening of a spectacular show, the audience was unified in its support for a band with original and moving talent.
The beginning of the set mirrored the beginning of Coldplay’s latest album, controversially named Mylo Xyloto. The performance of the first two tracks, including the album’s namesake track itself, emphasized the relevance of the band’s new material, despite its criticism. After his promise of an excellent show due to it being the first UK performance of this stadium tour, Martin launched into the show with ‘In My Place’, followed by ‘Lovers in Japan’, both tracks literally seasoned with all manner of magical production treats, confetti, powder paint, and even giant atlas globes the size of beach balls bouncing around the crowd during the latter track. These delightful additions were far from a substitute for a tight performance, but a more an excellent testament to one. After a beautiful rendition of ‘The Scientist’, Martin scored a hat trick with ‘Yellow’, beginning on the piano before bringing the full version to the audience.
A brief darker section of the set saw ‘Violet Hill’ and ‘God Put A Smile Upon Your Face’, strobes and black and white effects on screen causing a complimentary contrast to the rest of the show, and ending in Martin carrying out a typical rock star act, throwing his beautiful black guitar up in the air and letting it crash to the stage floor, adding to the crowds euphoric adoration.
The darkness was then dramatically lit up by the 40,000 wristbands worn by every individual in the audience, received at entry, creating a spectacular sight as the night had began to fall around ‘Charlie Brown’ and ‘Paradise’. The atmosphere really did ‘glow in the dark’, flooding into the brief B stage performance which included a spine-tingling acoustic version of older track ‘Warning Sign’.
Movement into an unexpected C stage performance amongst the back of the standing area allowed Coldplay with closer engagement with more of their fans, and also an opportunity to play ‘Us Against The World’ with all four members contributing to the vocal, after Martin flatly denying any suggestion made by this song of rifts in the band.
The encore was delivered in spectacular fashion, beginning with ‘Clocks’, followed by show-stealing ‘Fix You’, which somehow managed to present the raw heartbreak from tragic loss while simultaneously managing to be tear-jerkingly beautiful. More recent anthem ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall’ rounded off the night, with fireworks and sing-alongs galore.
Proving versatile in their performance around different locations in the Ricoh Stadium and also more generally with their sound, Coldplay proved lovable by all – especially their biggest and craziest fans who had the honour of participating in such an outstanding show - fully making good on Martin’s promise.