‘What on earth are you doing here?’
That is how I was greeted as I squeezed myself through the tight knitted crowd to reach some of my well spotted friends.
I am known to be intensely alternative and my very commercial loving friend was quite shocked that I had missioned to Zurich for a Coldplay concert.
The truth is I like Coldplay. I really do. I started listening to them when A Rush of Blood to the Head came out and since then I always had respecct for them, and especially Chris Martin’s voice.
This was especially true after he did a take of In The Sun (one of my favourite songs of all time) with Michael Stipe.
The other big factor is that Coldplay is often featured on the bands to see live before you die lists. So I wanted to see what the fuss was about. And if you want to save yourself a detailed read the short and sweet is they clearly deserve their title.
So lets get to it:
The opening acts were Rita Ora – which I will waste no time on – and Marina and the Diamonds.
Marina, I have a whole lot of respect for. Both for her style and her voice. Beautiful but never sexual, commercial sound but yet so different and developed.
Sometimes cliche lyric sometimes completely against them. You’re never sure when she is serious and when she is playing.
And most importantly I love the deepness and power of her voice. You really feel it comes from all the way inside her.
I must say the poor princess (clad in her princess gown) did not get quite the pull from the crowd that I guess that she had hoped.
She did her best at being dramatic and putting on her show. But the Swiss crowd acted famously Swiss and as 90% of the people didnt know who she was they were less than enthusiastic about her performance.
She never quite got the crowd moving as hard as she tried. And when she asked how many of the crowd had heard of her before she got the answer to confirm that she really was an opening act and people wanted her to get on with it. However there is still no doubt that she is hugely talented and her voice highly impressive live. I did enjoy her, but I think the huge unfriendly stadium did not suit her or her style at all. I would have rather seen her in a more intimate environment.
And then as she left the stage and the crowd awaited the big moment to arrive we started to grow impatient as we stared at the repeating poster about the correct way of putting on the wristbands (only in Switzerland) we had been given at the entrance and how they would be used as lights in 5 different languages.
And then they started with a BANG. Quite literally. the band came on introduced by the Back to the future theme song and then Mylo Xyloto the first single and title of their latest album which smoothly turns into Hurts like Heaven. and then BANG BOOM BOOM fireworks here and there above the huge stadium full of thousands of people. And the dramatics started and it continued till the end.
And the crowd jump and go mad and cheer along to the songs. And from that moment on they hardly lost us. The first thing that hit me was of course Chris Martin’s voice. To be fair for an alternative lover there is nothing too impressive about Coldplay’s music composition. Basic chords, effective beats but nothing mind-boggling. The lyrics are effective, easy to sing to and cliche but again nothing beyond surface level. And sometimes that just what you feel like – and if I am going to go for that I am going for the best in that class. And with a voice like Chris, the best of commercial is what you get.
The strange thing is I have seen hate blogs about his voice – calling it annoying, terrible. And I cant get over the tone – I think its beautiful and unique. It’s like something was placed in his throat so he sounds slightly different from everyone else. He sings between two tones in a very charming way. Anyways each to their own.
So moving on, the next thing I notice is just how amazingly produced the tour/event is. Not only is it their attention to everything about the show being in theme – which in this case is a spray paint/neon colours on black/butterfly type feel – but the visiual production of the 5 circular zoom in screens is just on another level. How every shot would be filmed, edited and sequenced was obviously carefully preplanned. They zoomed at the right minute, flipped through them on the screen at high speed, did some slow motion shots, got some perfect angles, filmed the right person at the right time. This was a heavily rehearsed and planned performance. The screens made you feel that it was a film as it was too good to be true.
Then there was all the extras: the fireworks, the butterfly paper showers, the huge retro balls and lets not forget the different light bracelets we were all given that blinked on command by the producer at different timings and frequency. These bracelets were really the cherry on the stadium. They waited for it to get dark to really take advantage of them and as the sun set and the air started getting misty the multi colour lights lit up the entire stage and there was a rows and rows of neon everywhere you looked. For Paradise – my favourite song (see last post) – I was lifted on shoulders and at this point I saw over the whole wave of lights and I must say I was rather taken aback from the beauty of this moment.
There is no doubts here this is a SHOW and a memory that you will keep with you. You cant do anything else but to smile stupidly at yourself and shout at the top of your voice.
The third thing to be noticed is what great entertainers they are themselves. Especially Chris. Look the guy is FIT. He ran around the huge stage constantly, fell to the floor, hit madly at his piano, attacked the strings of his guitar, jumped around, all and more he did it – for a good, what was it, 2 hours? He really gave it his all. Improvised in his songs and made specific refrences to Zurich and the night (which obviously the crowd lapped up). They also made use of as much of the space they could – the stage came out right through the Golden Circle all the way out to the main standing section. Also they came back on for their encore really far out towards the back of their stage to make sure to give a performance to all their fans – ‘ even the ones out right at the back’. These guys go the extra mile.
Its clear that they have been doing this for a while, they have an amazing team behind them and loads of money to fund their tour.
Overall it was a wonderful experience. Between reminscent over old favourites like Fix you and Yellow and pumping to new songs like Viva La Vida and Paradise all while being entertained by their energy, tricks, lights, and fluffy stuff. And as they greeted us off with a second round of loud fireworks I knew it had been a great night.
Do I think they are the best artist live in terms of music and musical performance. No way. Musically they are great but they are simple and nothing that will blow you away. But the experience and the performance brought it to the next level – and I will very much recommend a concert to anyone as it really is something to see, enjoy and remember.
So put them on your to see list – with my approval.