hmv.com reviews... Coldplay @ Royal Albert Hall
Coldplay might have only released their sixth album a few weeks ago, but they’ve been surprisingly low-key about its promotion, playing only a handful of shows across the globe. Their last scheduled dates are in London this week and we were there to review the first of them…
Coldplay. Multi-million selling indie types, playing one of only two UK dates in support of their new album Ghost Stories (which you can hear by clicking on the icon on the right-hand side of the page).
Royal Albert Hall, the stunning venue in West London, it mainly houses classical shows, but if bands feel like doing something special in London, this is where they go.
Any good supports?
AlunaGeorge. The London offbeat dance duo weren’t the most obvious choice for support, but they actually went down surprisingly well.
Was it full? And how were the crowd?
It was absolutely sold out, with countless people outside who’d turned up on the off chance of bagging a ticket. Those who did make it inside were on great form, singing along at the top of their lungs throughout the show and jumping up and down (seriously you could feel the ground shaking beneath you).
So what was the set like? What did they play?
It was a proper career-spanning job, with cuts from each of the band’s six records on show, as well a couple of extras from Ghost Stories. Kicking off with ‘Always In My Head’, the band then went straight into the bombastic pair of ‘Charlie Brown’ and ‘Paradise’, which had the whole place jumping.
Recent single ‘Magic’ followed, a track which is pretty low-key on record, but felt a lot livelier and more direct in the live setting, that was followed by a thundering ‘Clocks’ and a crushing (Yes crushing, it sounded amazingly heavy) ‘God Put A Smile Upon Your Face’.
The next few saw them dip into Ghost Stories for the likes of ‘Ink’ and ‘True Love’, but they also brought out old favourites ‘Don’t Panic’ and ‘Everything’s Not Lost’ from their beloved first album Parachutes.
The first part of the set ended with an immense trio of ‘Viva La Vida’ (which saw Chris Martin actually dancing with the front row), ‘Midnight’ and the vibrant day-glo ‘Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall’.
The encore began with ‘Oceans’, before moving on to the euphoric ‘Sky Full Of Stars’ with its Calvin Harris esque hook, and the final bow ‘Fix You’, which turned the Royal Albert Hall into one huge choir.
Any good between song banter?
Singer Chris Martin looked very happy to be there and was in quite a playful mood, even stopping 'Don't Panic' to demand guitarist Jonny Buckland (who he dubbed "The shyest man in the world") sing a verse on his own, which he did, suitably bashfully. As well as doing the usual ‘thank you for comings’, he also made it clear that this was the last time the band were going to be playing live for a while, even saying 'We've not done many concerts recently and we won't be doing any more for a while after this'.
Did they put on much of a show?
The band stationed themselves in the centre of the cavernous room, with a rig above from which they hung loads of stars (‘A Sky Full Of Stars’ you see…), these lit up beautifully when the time was right. There were also some dazzling lazers and lots of confetti at the end of things, it was quite a show.
What was the highlight of the set?
There wasn’t a single bum note in the set, but they whack out an almighty version of ‘God Put A Smile Upon Your Face’, that was probably the high point.
Where can I catch them next?
They’re back at the venue tonight (July 2nd) and then that’s it. You’d like to think they’re planning something for later in the year, but there’s no word beyond tonight.