Why, hello there. I thought you might be swinging by and figured I needed something new to tell you. Let’s go with a live music review of Coldplay. I just saw them at MetLife Stadium in north Jersey. It was a spectacle.
Upon arrival, each fan was given a bracelet that we were told would light up in time with the music. I’ll get to that in a minute, but it was an interesting start to the night. We got to our seats, and quickly enough, the lights went down. But after the lights went down, Coldplay didn’t just appear. Instead, we listened to piped-in opera music. I can appreciate the beauty and majesty of the operatic vocal, and this was no exception: the female voice singing in Italian was gorgeous, but I didn’t know the artist, the opera, or the reason why the concert started in such a way. No matter, because the main event came on soon enough.
If you’re Rip Van Winkle, let me quickly introduce you to Coldplay. They are a British rock band who have become huge international stars. Led by Chris Martin, a superb front man, they have crashed the Billboard Top 100 many times and their songs are played all over the globe. Coldplay regularly sells out stadiums. In fact, they are one of the few acts, along with U2, Metallica, Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen, that can do so on a routine basis. In other words, they are HUGE.
Let’s get one thing straight. I like Coldplay. Everyone likes Coldplay. Their music is catchy, poppy, radio ready and heard all over the place. They have sold tens of millions of records, won grammys and MTV music awards by the gross (and I think that those awards are deserved), and headlined all the big festivals. However, I’m not a Coldplay fanatic, like Mike and Laurie here:
Rather, I listened to their early music and thought, oh wow, these guys are going to be great if they push themselves. I mean, like U2 or Clash or Stones great. Pantheons. Mount Olympus types. But…. While they are good, I think they deviated down the path, opted for safe, and ended up as just good. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think that they shouldn’t be selling out stadiums, but it does mean that I was more blasé about attending this show than for others like Springsteen and Metallica, two stadium bands that I have recently seen at MetLife.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but had been told that their past tours had used tremendous light shows as part of the performance. Last night was no exception, but it was way more than lights. Like all bands that fill stadiums, Coldplay has a huge stage complete with big video boards, a runway that extends about 50 yards to a secondary “center” stage, and lights galore. They also brought walls of speakers that were skillfully placed in different parts of the stadium to ensure good sound everywhere. And they had yet another small stage in the other end zone that the band used for a few songs, including a cover of a Linkin Park tune that paid homage to their recently deceased singer, Chester Bennington.
But Coldplay doesn’t stop with lights and a big stage. Oh no, far from it. They used the light-up wristbands throughout the night to thematically fit their songs: yellow lights during the song Yellow, various colors during Paradise, and flashing and changing colors during more lively songs like Viva la Vida. Here are some pictures, but they don’t do it justice because the lights flashed, changed colors, and made for a “wow” factor when you looked across the 60,000 fans packed into the stadium.
So far we have flashing wristbands, a huge and lighted stage, and video boards. What else? How about fireworks? Yes, here they are:
Flames? Yes, but unfortunately, I didn’t time the pictures right to capture them, so you’re just going to have to trust me on that.
Huge balloons? Yup:
Confetti! It’s not a rock show without tons of confetti, right?
Now, none of this is meant to degrade the performance of the band. Martin is one talented front man, with a pitch perfect voice and a work ethic that is amazing. He was running up and down the stage runway half the night, lying on his back singing, engaging the crowd at every turn, and being both humbled and awed by his own giant success. He made a short statement of thanks to the crowd where he acknowledged what a pain in the butt it was to get to a north Jersey stadium on a Tuesday night, fight the traffic and crowds, park far away, and sign a mortgage on your house to pay for a couple of beers, and that the band was truly thankful that everyone had made that effort. That was gracious and I think it was heartfelt. Prior to another song, he asked that everyone put down their cell phones and bounce and dance with the band just for that one song. It was a great “in the moment” plea for our increasingly-phone addicted selves, and it worked.
And the band is talented, well-rehearsed and clearly enjoying themselves. This is one fine-tuned musical ensemble playing sold-out stadiums night after night. It must be hard to get pumped up for these shows, do the same thing nightly, and come across as genuine and righteous, but Coldplay did just that. They are professionals. They gave their adoring fans exactly what they wanted, and those fans will be back for more.
This show was more than just the music. It was a pop-rock spectacle. It worked and was highly entertaining. I would recommend seeing a Coldplay show at least once with the expectation of being dazzled. On a warm and beautiful night in the former swamps of Jersey, I had a very good evening with Coldplay.
What’s next? Well, no more shows for a few weeks, so I’ll keep you entertained with other things. I’ve been working hard on a few fun posts that I hope you will enjoy, and I’ll be popping them up every few days. August is a time for some dog-days enjoyment, and I hope you take the time to grad a cold one, kick off your shoes, and amuse yourself here at BRP. Be safe and enjoy!
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My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.