Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Live Review - Coldplay @ Ed Sullivan Theater

If you wanted to see Coldplay at all in 2011 you would have needed to travel to a major festival somewhere in the Earth to catch a glimpse of one of the world's biggest bands. From Glastonbury to Lollapalooza to Austin City Limits to Fuji Rock to Oxygen to Splendour in the Grass, the idea of seeing Coldplay in an intimate venue or proper tour seemed to be tossed out the window before they release their much anticipated fifth album, Mylo Xyloto next month. However, as the band arrived in New York this week for a string of press appearances, they stopped by the famous Ed Sullivan Theater to perform on The Late Show with David Letterman and then take over his intimate and famous theater for the night as they treated lucky contest winners, industry personnel and friends to their smallest gig this year, and for those who could not make it to the show, the band and CBS streamed it all online for everyone to enjoy for a taping of the acclaimed web series, Live on Letterman.

Walking from the audience entrance of the theater and into the crowd right before taking the stage, the crowd were roaring before a note was even played. With the band's instruments painted in black-light paint and reflecting on the special psychedelic lights used to enhance the colors of the paint, it was immediate they were taking over and making the stage their home for the hour they played. Opening with "Hurts like Heaven," then going into "Yellow" and "In my Place," it looked as if Coldplay had something to prove, and they certainly did not. They were just treating an audience to a free show and the beauty of it all was that they were still playing their hearts out. Behind the bands set were two massive neon pinwheels and in direct center were the bands signature lasers they use to beam out into the crowd and give a light show for the ages. As the bands charismatic front man, Chris Martin spoke to the crowd and danced around on stage, he seemed the most comfortable and at ease after all these years leading this band. No more awkward movements or gestures, until he ended up falling over some gear dancing during "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall," but nonetheless he seems to have adjusted to his position. Meanwhile, it was drummer Will Champion, who like at Lollapalooza stole the show, banging away at his kit like Keith Moon and having it shake every time his sticks hit the skins of his drums, to playing guitar, various percussion instruments, piano and singing, it is Martin that gets all the credit but it is Champion is the real star of the show. With a display of news songs like "Paradise," "Charlie Brown," "Every Teardrop," and the encore, a special acoustic version of "Us Against the World," Coldplay are showing that their inspiration for album number five comes from Achtung Baby-era U2 and if you were to model yourself after any band or record, that would be the one to do it.

With a handful of greatest hits like "The Scientist," "Fix You," and "Viva La Vida" all in the setlist, it was an hour of pure bliss and one that everyone, including those at home will remember for years to come. On a small stage such as Ed Sullivan, they took the magic of what was special about the venue and showed off why they are one of the most in demand and superb live acts around.

Watch the full performance below: