coldplay 2233860bWhen Coldplay first graduated to stadiums in 2005, I thought they were too drab to command the space. They had big songs but little charisma, four earnest men dressed in black in front of a black back drop. No one could accuse them of being colourless anymore. Quite the opposite, in fact, they may be the most colourful band on the planet, with a palette that could make a children's TV set designer queasy.

They storm onto a graffiti splashed set in hand crafted outfits wielding paint spattered instruments and turn the stadium into a sea of day glo light with flashing wristbands, giant red, green and blue balloons, fireworks, glitter, ticker tape, and every laser this side of Star Wars.

You can't even accuse the old bedwetters of trying too hard to make up for a lack of charisma, They throw everything at their audience, including themselves. This is the kind of stirring, sweaty, heartfelt, energetic, emotional and uplifting show that could give stadium entertainment a good name.

Coldplay have been around for over ten years now, and they have a catalogue of hit songs to match any of their stadium rocking predecessors. The crowd is singing lustily along by the second song, In My Place. Five songs in, they threaten to drown out Chris Martin on The Scientist. "We haven't even got to the good songs yet," he jokes. "We're just getting started."

Yellow opens surprisingly as a tender piano ballad then explodes into a screaming, stomping guitar anthem. The "Oh-way-ohs" that bounce around the stands at the end of Viva La Vida are fantastic, reminding you of the communal essence of great musical spectacle. When it comes to a big singalong, Coldplay are hard to beat.


The appearance of Rihanna on big screens singing her chorus from Princess Of China is a reminder of how easily Coldplay fit into the modern urban pop landscape. Although they have the drama, intensity and epic dimensions of rock music, their melodic instincts are pitched squarely at the pop mainstream. No shame in that. They may be the most poppy rock group since The Beatles.

They have earned their status as biggest band on the planet with massive singalong tunes. But they have grown into the role too, really using every inch of the stadium space, filling it with their personality as well as their songs, overloading the senses with every technological and showbiz trick in the book. The explosion of light and music on Charlie Brown is just amazing, maybe the most spectacular musical momemt I have ever witnessed. Coldplay have become one of those rare groups for whom bigger really does mean better.


Review by Neil McCormick