I am a Coldplay virgin. Not in the sense that I don’t know their music, but I have never been to a live show of theirs. I have been very curious about their live shows since seeing the videos for “Fix You” and “Lost.” To say that lead singer, Chris Martin, has some energy is an understatement. When the two shows playing at the American Airlines Center (AAC) in Dallas, Texas were first announced, I thought it would be a good time to go and see Coldplay put on a show. I have not seen a large audience arena concert in a long time. I believe the last one I saw was No Doubt and Paramore at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, and that place is much smaller than the AAC.
I held off on getting tickets to the June 22, 2012 Coldplay Mylo Xyloto tour until a couple weeks beforehand. I was only interested in getting the cheap seats. Prompted by Ticketmaster, I was warned that the tickets were behind the stage and may have an obstructed view. Doing some research, I found out that the stage setup did not have a back to it, so seeing the band should not be a problem. I ended up going with a friend and we got tickets behind the stage, but slightly to the right side of the stage. At about $45 a ticket, they were not bad seats. We just got to see the back of them, instead of the front. I think we got better tickets (and cheaper ones) than those who sat at the top of the arena and got to see the front of the band.
Upon entering the AAC, you are asked to pick up a wristband. You are told that these will be used as part of the show. Who knew then what an amazing vision these wristbands would create?
As the instruments and stage were in their final preparations for Coldplay to begin, a song came on. It was none other than “99 Problems” by Jay-Z. Mind you, Coldplay I like to think of as an all ages band, something that those who are higher up in digits and those still in elementary school could probably enjoy. The Jay-Z song was not an edited version, so sorry kids and grandma! The large screens in the AAC, four up high and one above the stage, told us to put our wristbands on if we had not already done so.
The stage was comprised of a runway leading out from the main stage area and ending in a large “X.” Behind the stage was a semi-circle ramp. On both sides of the stage was a square platform. The theme for tour is obviously graffiti. It is everywhere, on the instruments, on the stage, and the colors are bright and fluorescent like you are having an 80s flashback.
The arena went black and some Star Wars theme music started to play. Once the band was on the stage and ready to play the full effect of those wristbands became amazingly apparent as they all lit up and blinked in unison. The opening songs were, appropriately, “Mylo Xyloto” and “Hurts Like Heaven.” Not having read about the current tour or what theatrics Coldplay was employing, I did not know that those wristbands were only the start.
The second song was “My Place,” and during the chorus, Chris Martin ran out onto the runway and while doing so, huge cannons of confetti shot out over the crowd in the lower section. The confetti also covered the end section of the runway. The confetti cannons went off at least twice during the song.
During another song, large, fluorescent, paint splattered balls were dropped from the ceiling onto the crowd to bounce about, reminiscent of those outdoor concert and the travelling beach balls above the crowd. There was another song where some inflatable objects were placed at the entrances of some of the 200 and 300 sections of the arena. I did not really get why these were used, since they seemed small for such a large arena. They did not register much of an effect on me, and I was wondering if some of the audience even noticed they were there.
The band performed a couple of songs on the large “X” at the end of the runway. This was the only drawback to the behind the stage seats. A large stack of hanging speakers blocked half of the view of their performance. One of the songs sung out there was “Princess of China.” Rihanna did not make a surprise appearance, but Rihanna singing her part of the song was on the screens. Chris Martin messed up part of another song out on the runway and was quick to stop and say “I f***ed up. I f***ed up.” with a smile and start over.
While they do sell seats behind the stage, those fans back there are not neglected. The band members used the ramp at the back of the stage to give us a little piece of their “front-facing” performance. Chris Martin used the ramp several times and the side platforms. Those in the very back of the arena got a little treat. At the beginning of the encore, Coldplay played two songs in the back corner of the arena.
The one song I was desperate to see live was “Fix You” and it was the second to last song played. While I wanted the fireworks and the single, floating light bulb that is in the video, Chris Martin made up for this with his energy at the point in the song where it picks up in pace.
If you read any part of my narrative on last night, it should be that Coldplay has earned every single fan they have based on what an amazing performance they gave the crowd in Dallas. The energy of the band, and especially Chris Martin, was astounding. Even if there were no wristbands, confetti, or balls to bounce around, it still would have been a top notch concert. Chris Martin said early on in the evening that the band was going to have an amazing time, even if we did not. Energy does transmit to an audience, and that was widely apparent on Friday night in Dallas.
So go get some of those cheap seats and be prepared to be blown away by a little band called Coldplay.
Photos by: Coldplay, Alex Vasquez, Sarah Ksiazek
by Sarah Ksiazek