Etihad Stadium, November 13
WITH U2 in absentia and most other contenders either on hiatus or in retreat, Coldplay have comfortably established themselves as one of the biggest stadium acts on the planet.
While outside of their vast constituency their credentials as a rock band have long been in dispute, last night at Etihad Stadium the British quartet demonstrated their huge popularity is merited with an excellent stadium pop show.
More than 60,000 gathered last night as the hits came in quick succession: Yellow, Violet Hill, The Scientist, Viva La Vida and Speed of Sound were all accounted for.
Diehards were gifted one curio, the excellent album track Warning Sign.
Onstage, Chris Martin retains a playful, aw-shucks persona that allows for no cynicism. His ebullience, though, is utterly infectious.
The band leaned heavily - perhaps a little too heavily - on their latest album, last year's awkwardly named Mylo Xyloto. That album's first full-length track, the peppy Hurts Like Heaven served as their opening salvo last night. The song was augmented by a blazing, shameless and, well, exciting fireworks display. Confetti cannon accompanied the next track, In My Place. Coldplay don't do subtle. Nor should they.
Upon entering last night, fans were offered a wristband that became a sparkling light effect that was activated during the show's opening. Cheesy sure, but also a stunning sight as the house lights dimmed.
At their worst, Coldplay are plodding and mawkish, but last night there was little of that. Mostly they were theatrical, exuberant and rocking. Aside from confetti and fireworks, there were lasers and giant balloons, too. Mostly though, there was just good pop songs.
Almost implausibly, their terrific Rihanna collaboration Princess of China was a giant stadium singalong even though the track's guest vocalist was absent.
The night ended, as most Coldplay shows do these days, with their mushy but irresistible ballad Fix You and their optimistic Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall. Most of this band's better material, was genuinely thrilling. Coldplay have always aimed to please. ''We've got the best fans in the world, I don't care what anyone says,'' Martin said, mid show.
Coldplay were once accused of trying too hard. Now they operate at a sweet spot where it appears they aren't trying at all. Which, of course, is very far from the truth.