Coldplay Deliver An "Intensely Touching" Show In Melbourne
We help direct an international student (from Indonesia), who's currently studying in Adelaide but has flown over east to see Coldplay, toward Etihad Stadium.
There's a rival couple of bagpipers competing for busking coins (one dressed as Cookie Monster - unfair advantage) as we cross the bridge then we're bag searched, metal detectored and handed our unilluminated wristbands at Gate One.
Our first musical act for this evening, Jess Kent calls us "Brisbane" before correcting herself, somewhat embarrassed. Her outfit is just plain odd: baggy black one-piece swimsuit, super-sheer black bra underneath, tracky dacks with the waistband pulled down to show off the leg line (and a weird portion of flesh) and white baseball cap with red peak plus "Call Me" embroidered on the front - not a stage outfit however much you squint.
"So I used to be a busker... my manager found me on Instagram and now I'm playing a stadium," she shares. After 1993 (No Chill) - the Paces track she features on - there's a snippet of Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name, which is peculiar.
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
In vast contrast, Lianne La Havas is superstar-ready with her shiny black guitar, elegant black dress and red quilted jacket. Opening with Au Cinema, La Havas has a delightful, likeable energy surrounding her as well as effortless showbiz nous. She inserts "Melbourne" and "Etihad" within lyrics to make us feel spesh and encourages us to clap out a catchy rhythm. Her ode to a nasty ex, Forget, perfectly showcases those flawless pipes, which also slay during her Say A Little Prayer cover. It comes as no surprise to learn this chanteuse was favoured by (and worked with) Prince. She's unstoppable.
Strangely, rather than gee-up tracks leading into Coldplay's set, we score what sounds like health spa/meditation music. As the lights dim, Nessun Dorma makes a 'what the?' intro tape. Then a cute trio from Hobart welcome us to the show via a clip on the big screens. The first time wristbands light up (red) is awesome (except if you've copped a faulty one - DAMN!).
"Martin is completely drenched in sweat after song two."
Frontman Chris Martin demonstrates impressive elevation to open, there's fireworks detonating behind the band and confetti rains down on us. All this during Coldplay's opener! And then, "It was all yellow," which our wristbands change colour to reflect. Martin is completely drenched in sweat after song two in his long-sleeved tee under short-sleeved tee ensemble (who even wears that anymore?). Colour coordination is next-level for Martin: his multicoloured neon-bright trainers match his belt, which matches his collection of friendship bracelets (he's obviously very popular). Leaf-shaped ticker tape floats down over us and Martin somehow winds up with an Australian flag over his head during song three.
Solo at the piano, Martin presents The Scientist. The punter dressed in an elephant suit who gets a lot of screen time during Paradise truly deserves it for the effort put in (although we pity audience members trying to see over the top of this giant head with even more giant ear protrusions). This song lures us into a rave cave, Martin dancing like a loon all over the catwalk. The band then utilise a smaller second stage about halfway back in GA for Magic.
Martin singles out various sections "about seven miles away" and thanks these cheapskates for coming. He then points out an individual sitting up in one very far away corner surrounded by empty seats and thanks him/her for coming on their own, "even if you bought 56 seats".
If it wasn't for Coldplay fans, Martin muses, "We'd be stuck on some cruise ship singing Bon Jovi songs. [pauses] We'd be singing Yellow all day every day." There's a BBC camera crew set up to film an acceptance speech for something Martin jokes is an award for, "Seventh sexiest band in London". His voice has such a beautifully vulnerable, husky quality during Everglow, which Martin performs solo at the piano on the second stage before his band joins in. A segment from one of Muhammad Ali's speeches about peace features at the tail end of this song.
The band return to the main stage and we relish Clocks. Martin then instructs us to put our phones away for just one song, raise our (glowing wristbanded) hands in the air, clap and jump up and down during Charlie Brown. There's lasers all the iridescent colours of the rainbow, kaleidoscopic visuals and flame throwers during Hymn For The Weekend and then more confetti.
"Suddenly there are giant beach balls of every available bright hue bouncing throughout the stadium."
Martin spins around on the catwalk like a little kid trying to make himself dizzy. He commences Fix You lying on his back on an onstage ramp. At the start of their Heroes cover Martin coughs and says "excuse me". The crowd just loves singing that, "Oh-oh-OH-Oh-oh," bit during Viva La Vida, although bizarrely we see no strings. Drummer Will Champion bashes a gong in lieu of cymbal here to great effect. The visuals on the floor of the second stage make it appear as if Martin is falling into a psychedelic black hole. Suddenly there are giant beach balls of every available bright hue bouncing throughout the stadium. As a tribute to Moira Kelly (who Martin tells us worked with Mother Teresa in the '80s), one of her sons Emmanuel Kelly (from The X-Factor 2011) is invited to the stage to perform Imagine with the band, which is intensely touching.
As our wristies flash assorted colours, Amazing Grace plays while we wait for an encore. Then Coldplay pop up on a third stage in the very back stalls section on the other side of the barrier where they perform In My Place. This evening's Instagram video request is Us Against The World, but before this Martin (hilariously) introduces the band. On bassist Guy Berryman: "Goodness knows how many calendars we wouldn't have sold" without him. Martin then hastily apologises, "I'm so bad at talking, please don't put it in YouTube - it's terrible!"
It's now time for A Sky Full Of Stars. That is until Martin stops the music and tells us he initially said no, but has changed his mind and invites a punter to the stage to propose to his girlfriend. An impostor jumps up first to hug Chris, but as soon as he realises she's not the intended spouse he sends her packing and jokes, "Any takers?" with regards to marrying her. The proposal is a success then we cop A Sky Full Of Stars - another one - together with star-shaped confetti. Up & Up closes with its accompanying amazing video gracing the screens. Fireworks explode then resemble glitter. "You have no idea what you do for us and we're so grateful," Martin sincerely commends.
Even the dude we spy in the distance watching from his top-floor balcony in the flats at the rear of Etihad Stadium is treated to a spectacle tonight.