Whilst you were all off enjoying the summer party, I was lucky enough to watch a band called Coldplay set a stadium alight in Manchester. With the Jubilee weekend and the lovely weather passing before the end of exams, it seemed that most of the entertainment for the summer had died away until the Olympics begin next month. Instead a post-exams trip to Manchester provided one of the events of the summer, and the perfect post-exams celebration.
The day didn’t begin in the most positive of manners, the moment we stepped off the bus we were greeted by a freezing blast of rain. After sheltering from this, there was a lengthy queue to get into the stadium. Once this obstacle was passed though, we were on the pitch and were suddenly able to set up camp barely ten feet away from the end of the catwalk that went out into the audience. Satisfied with our work we waited for support act Rita Ora, however she didn’t emerge; amidst confusion young pop singer Charli XCX came out and impressed everyone with music that sounded like Rihanna with backing music from the Pet Shop Boys. Once people realised this wasn’t Rita Ora, they seemed to enjoy it even if we hadn’t appreciated the two and a half hour wait to simply get a singer onstage. I did remark how difficult would it have been for Netherlands Vs Denmark to be put on the screen, because it’s fair to say that for this time the crowd was very bored and chilly.
However, musically up until this point all had been OK, if not spectacular. This pattern continued as Robyn came on and played a reasonable enough rendition of her songs. However Robyn appeared to be a little intoxicated, as she almost fell over three times. Thankfully, this didn’t affect her too much and she even made the brave move of covering Coldplay’s ‘Every Teardrop is a Waterfall’ in a set; it was an audacious move for a support act which she just about successfully pulled off.
Then after a torturous half an hour of waiting, when the excitement had reached fever pitch Jay-z’s ’99 Problems’ blazed out and the audience were told to put on the wristbands they were given upon entry. Coldplay emerged to the theme from Back to the Future, before a spectacular fireworks display accompanied ‘Hurts like Heaven’. From this moment on you knew that no expense had been spared for this show. This prediction proved to be correct as the money from everyone’s ticket seemed to have been spent on the exceptional amount of confetti that poured onto the crowd during crowd favourite ‘In my Place’.
Coldplay had played two songs and they already seemed to have done everything that can be done for a stadium performance. There was more to come though, as they ran through ‘The Scientist’ and ‘Yellow’, Chris Martin had basically been made redundant because, through both of these songs, there is no way that anyone could have sung over the crowd. There was more to Coldplay than just turning up with spectacular effects and well rehearsed songs though; they enlightened the crowd with a rearranged, slightly heavier version of ‘God put a smile upon your Face’. After this, Coldplay came to the end of the catwalk, barely feet away, and were joined by five giant Rihannas (on the screens) for ‘Princess of China’. For the next two songs, the band were so close that I could see the stubble on drummer Will Champion’s face; this was not something I expected from a stadium show.
I have neglected to mention until now the most spectacular part of the show, something of unprecedented beauty, which had been impressive if not remarkable until now, due to it being daylight. As the “woah-oh”s of ‘Viva la Vida’ died down, Chris Martin commanded the crowd to put their arms in the air and “watch this”. Suddenly, the whole stadium was alight with the glowing wristbands that every audience member had been given; 50,000 individual lights of white, pink, green, red orange and blue gazed down upon the band. I have been to a lot of gigs, but this individual moment was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The wristbands then flashed in time to the music before ‘Charlie Brown’ ended with the lines “We’ll run wild / we’ll be glowing in the dark”. The wristbands were an audacious and no doubt expensive stage prop, but it was an idea that worked; it really worked.
Coldplay then ran to the back of the stadium to a tiny stage where, though I could see nothing, those who had seen barely anything until now got a fantastic view for a couple of songs. The band then come back onto the main stage to play an encore which included super-ballad “Fix You”; a song which has an uncanny knack of reducing me to tears whenever it is played live. This night was no different; thankfully I got over myself ahead of the fireworks towards the end of the song before they closed with “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall”, where the wristbands continued to dazzle.
The show ended here and I was stunned; Coldplay did more than enough to tick all the boxes for a spectacular stadium show. Yet they had also provided rousing tunes and played them to perfection. However, I also felt that Coldplay were still a band having fun; they didn’t have the U2 mentality of “We’re massive, let’s just turn up and play the tunes to a great show”. Coldplay still seem to be a band based on great friendships, they just happen to also be very successful with it. Therefore, Coldplay demonstrate through their friendship exactly what a band should be about at every level; something which really should be commended. All in all Coldplay provided everything. I’m sure you all had a great time at the Summer Party, but I wouldn’t have wanted to miss a show like Coldplay’s for the world.
…Liam has been listening to: New Order – World in Motion…