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Are you (the person reading this review) colourblind? If so, you really should have been at Coldplay‘s epic opening show of their Australian tour in Melbourne last night.
Why? Because the group, who have previously described themselves as ‘one of Britain’s premium soft rock bands’ and reluctant stadium fillers, put on a display that was bursting with so much colour, fireworks and bells and whistles that it probably would have cured you. In fact, anyone who wanted to see one of the world’s biggest bands cement themselves as bona-fide live superstars should have been there.
I walked into Etihad Stadium to the sounds of country-twanged New York sisters The Pierces. Their band was nice for about five minutes…then, it got a bit dreary. The girls were nice and interactive with the crowd; however, their tunes aren’t obviously built for stadiums yet. One of them mentioned that they were playing at the North-Coat (Northcote) Social Club on Thursday – any fans would probably be wise to see them there instead.
Constantly mentioning how good it was to be home, local boys The Temper Trap then flexed their muscles with a solid 50-minute set, which showed that they are slowly building a nice catalogue of arena-fillers. Cuts from their new self-titled album such as Rabbit Hole and Never Again slotted in nicely with early hits Fader and Love Lost, which were piled out early on. And naturally, leaving their biggest hit for last (Sweet Disposition) got everyone in a mighty good mood.
Making the move up to stadiums on this tour, I was worried Coldplay wouldn’t be able to put together a show that would be ideal and inclusive for a stadium-sized crowd. How wrong I was.
Aside from the awesome flashing wristbands that turned the place into a giant galaxy of colours – Coldplay bombarded us with an immersive experience full of fireworks, lasers, bright coloured graphics and paper butterflies. And that was only in the first three songs (Mylo Xyloto, Hurts Like Heaven and In My Place). Check out the video below for a small snippet of that.
Giant balloons and more confetti then made their way through the crowd for Lovers in Japan, and later in the night, stacks of giant glow-in-the-dark objects made their presence felt in the Etihad stands at the sides of the stage.
Yellow and a rowdy new version of God Put a Smile Upon Your Face (complete with guitar duelling and a guitar throw at the end of the song from Chris Martin) were as stadium-rock sounding as you could get. Later in the night, the flashing wristbands were fully utilised as the words “glowing in the dark” rang true during Charlie Brown, which was followed up by neon graphics en-masse in Paradise.
And, to show the love to the punters a bit further back, there was not just one, but two visits to other parts of the venue for some stripped-down segments. The first – at the end of the catwalk – featured Princess of China (with Rhianna singing on the big screen), Up in Flames, and the choice inclusion of ballad Warning Sign from 2002's A Rush of Blood to the Head.
The second visit saw them venture to the back GA section for Us Against the World and an acoustic version of Speed of Sound (with a false start 20 seconds in!). The band then returned to the main stage to pile out the anthems – Clocks, Fix You and finishing with Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall, which soundtracked another multicoloured apocalypse.
Chris Martin declared at the start of the night: “You’ve all made such a huge effort to come here, so we’re gonna repay you by trying to give you the best f**king concert you’ve ever seen”. I have no doubt quite a few thousand people walked out of Etihad Stadium last night feeling as though that promise was fulfilled.
Bono and U2, be scared. Be very scared. Because every time I see Coldplay (the band who idolise you) live, they take another step towards snatching your crown as the biggest band in the world. Based on the magic they created last night, consider this a giant one.