They played the Super Bowl 50 halftime show in Santa Clara, California at the start of the month alongside Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson to a televised audience of some 200 million. They won the NME Godlike Genius Award at last week’s NME awards and played a short set that night at London’s Brixton Academy venue for the ceremony. And tonight, Coldplay won Best British Band at the 2016 Brit Awards, their fourth such award, following an explosive performance of latest single Hymn For The Weekend at London’s O2 Arena in front of a room of their peers as well as a massive television audience, making them the most successful British Band in the awards’ 39-year history.
And then they played the 2,500-capacity IndigO2 as part of charity War Child’s run of events around the awards ceremony which have included intimate London shows from Bloc Party, Jamie XX, Lianne La Havas, Professor Green and Florence + the Machine.
Expectations were high as this is, after all, one of the biggest bands in the world with huge stadium shows as well as a fourth go at headlining Glastonbury Festival’s Pyramid Stage lined up for the summer.
With no support, the night began at around 11:15pm with Radio X DJ Chris Moyles introducing representatives of charity War Child, explaining how the charity helps youngsters re-engage with society and get back on their feet in war-torn countries. He then yelled “Britain’s Best Band – Coldplay!” as the London-based four-piece, comprised of Jonny Buckland on guitars, Guy Berryman on bass, Will Champion behind the drums and frontman Chris Martin alternating between guitar, piano and prancing, took to the relatively small stage, adorned with their latest colour splash featuring strings of flower garlands and Hindi writing, an Indian theme set for their forthcoming tour.
Title track of seventh studio album A Head Full Of Dreams was aired first, Martin breaking during the song to say to his audience: “Thank you for staying up past your bedtime”, jesting at the late stage time. The crowd were immediately alive, singing along and looking on in awe as he bounded about the stage in his renowned, flamboyant style.
The bright lights switched to a matching hue as the 38-year-old frontman strapped on an acoustic guitar and began to strum the familiar chords of their earliest hit single Yellow.
Mylo Xyloto single Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall was up next swiftly followed by sophomore album single Clocks for which Martin took up position behind an upright piano at the far left of the stage.
The band continued to storm through a hit-packed set, touching on each of their seven studio albums. During Charlie Brown, Martin had the audience all crouch down before jumping up as the instrumental break ended in a crescendo.
Fix You began with evidence that Oxford-native frontman may have enjoyed a drink or three at the Brits earlier in the evening, apologising for his completely off vocals and subsequent laughing before continuing with the fan favourite hit single.
Viva La Vida had drummer Will Champion stepping out from behind his kit, moving in front of a small drum set-up and bell at the front of the stage, the crowd singing along to every word of the 2008 number one single. At one point in the proceedings, Martin had some issues with his shoes, so removed them and continued bounding about in his socks.
The main set was closed out with Ghost Stories’ single A Sky Full Of Stars, which had the crowd towards the front moshing and saw cannons explode a serious shower of confetti stars across the venue, blanketing the stage in a sea of white as the quartet departed. “Thank you for watching us, thank you for giving us this life” the frontman said, humble sentiments from a global superstar.
“Can we do one more?” Martin said, grinning at the screaming response he received. Thanking War Child and the band’s team for supporting all their recent high-profile events he said “It’s so fun for us just to be able to do a concert, we haven’t done a concert in a while and it just feels wonderful.”
Introducing set-closer ‘Til Kingdom Come, Martin said “This song was written for Johnny Cash, so we’re going to send this out to all the great people who have moved on from this world but we’re still loving their music, Johnny and David Bowie. This is about love lasting forever.”
And that was it, they were off, the 11-song set over in under an hour and many in the audience seriously wondering where exactly the band had disappeared off to and when they’d be returning to complete their set. But alas, confirmation that there was no more came by way of the house lights coming up and roadies appearing on stage to clear up.
While the band exuded the energy they’re famous for during the time they were on stage, the set was over far too quickly for many. And missing the potential plethora of opportunities to bring on any number of special guests who were all over at the larger O2 venue just next door that evening, as they had done with their 2009 post-Brits War Child concert, perplexed the departing crowd even further.
This was not a full-on Coldplay show, but merely the band having fun and warming up for the bigger and grander shows they have coming up on their schedule.
Kalpesh has more music photography up on his Flickr stream here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/somethingforkate