Concert review: Coldplay
United we stand
1. Starting the show with Charlie Chaplin
A staple from every show of the A Head Full of Dreams tour, the four-piece band didn't come on stage until a recording of Maria Callas singing the opera classic, Puccini's O Mio Babbino Caro, was played. Granted, unseasoned Coldplay fans who didn't know this drill were still queuing for food and drinks, unsure as to whether the concert's actually starting. The piece led to Charlie Chaplin's speech from his 1940 political satire film The Great Dictator, setting the tone of the night: A chance to embrace love, kindness and tolerance. "To those who can hear me, I say: Do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitternes of men who fear the way of human progress," — no truer words could be spoken in the current political climate of Donald Trump and Brexit.
2. Letting us believe that Singapore was the best crowd, ever
After more than 50 performances as part of the tour, Coldplay came to us on their first show of the year after spending New Year's Eve at Abu Dhabi. "This will be the best show we ever played," exclaimed lead Chris Martin during a breather after performing their early hit, Yellow (2000). After finishing The Scientist (2002), he praised the crowd, prompting the band to do a repeat of the the song's chorus with a sing-along — something the band pretty much does in other venues, with the same song. Not that we're complaining. "Worth every second of the flight," he chimed again after singing Magic (2014). He then joked that the band were "either rusty or fresh depending on perspective".
3. Showing off a spectacular light and laser show
Look how they shine for you, indeed. The two-hour show boasted extensive laser light and pyrotechnic visuals, with concert goers given xylobands — though not all 50,000 of us received one — where lights in the wristband were controlled according to the songs, lighting up and blinking, uniting the crowd as one. Again, the message of togetherness was evident, and if you've ever thought of assigning colours to a Coldplay hit, Everglow (2015) would be purple and blue, Paradise (2011) would be blue and Fix You (2005) would be yellow.
4. Dancing on the piano
Martin's quite the charmer, but did you know that he had the right moves as well? Playing the piano during Paradise, the lead bobbed his head, bottom, and other parts of the body that weren't attached to the keys — showing that the rhythm is definitely going to get you no matter what.
5. Allowing the music to speak for itself
Before launching into Always In My Head (2014), Martin allowed for fellow bandmates Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Guy Berryman to make themselves heard proper, with an entire two minutes dedicated to a fulfilling, sonic experience: Martin even indulged in a guitar sparring with Buckland in the runway portion of the stage. "It's Friday night Singapore, I don't wanna stop," he shouted.
6. Sending Everglow off with good vibes
Turning almost all the lights on, Martin reminisced on the first time they performed in Singapore, and celebrated their fourth show here by lamenting, "Goodness knows how we got to where we got to now." Calling on the crowd to send some Singapore love to the world, Martin acknowledged the "great energy" within the stadium and found it to be an opportune time to launch into the emotive Everglow (2015), a song that features former partner Gwyneth Paltrow on back-up vocals.
7. Paying respects to David Bowie
A ritual mid-concert, Coldplay paid respects to David Bowie by playing Heroes (1977), much to the delight of the older members of the audience. Introducing the dearly departed's classic to a bevy of new fans, it was a welcome break among pulsating beats and allowed the crowd to pace themselves, should they pass out from too much adrenaline.
8. Getting the crowd to get down
When Martin tells you to go low, you do as you're told. While not everyone listened and participated, those who trusted in the musician either kneeled, squatted or crouched in anticipation to the high octane chorus of Adventure of a Lifetime (2015) where punters rose in unison, punching the air as balloons leapt around.
9. Taking a song request and owning up to mistakes on stage
Surprising fans with a third stage closer to the viewers in the back, Coldplay took a song request for Till Kingdom Come (2005) from Singapore fan Priscilla Loh (who also baked Coldplay-themed macarons) as "it's in keeping with A Head Full of Dreams...about acceptance and believing in love." While Martin didn't quite register her words — played in a video on the screen — for the first time, the band proceeded with the song. When the foursome made a mistake on stage, Martin told the crowd not to put the clip on YouTube, adding, "lets maintain the illusion of professionalism."
10. Letting Jonny Buckland shine with Don't Panic
In a pretty rare occasion, co-founder and guitarist Buckland took the vocal lead in Don't Panic, one of Coldplay's earliest hits. In an intimate acoustic take, it was one of the highlights of the evening as loyal fans from the band's infancy recognised the tune.
Coldplay will be performing on 1 April at the National Stadium, brought to you by Live Nation Lushington. To see more of Coldplay's performances around the world, click here.