Concert Review: Coldplay at Music Midtown in Atlanta
Coldplay has kept a relatively low profile since releasing ‘Viva la Vida’ three years ago and the supporting tour that subsequently followed. Maybe Chris has been at home watching Gwyneth strut her stuff on ‘Glee.’ Perhaps the band was playing back the track “Viva la Vida” for the thousandth time trying to figure out how Joe Satriani came up with his rather inexplicable copyright infringement suit. Regardless of how the boys from the UK have been whittling through their time, it seems you can’t keep a good band off the road as they look to fuel their addiction for massive crowds and bombastic beats.
Coldplay released the single “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” back in January as a small taste to show the promise of the upcoming curiously titled album ‘Mylo Xyoto’ that hits shelves October 24. While a full tour to support the album is still materializing for locals outside of the Europe, Coldplay decided to hit the festival circuit this summer to test drive the new material and see if fans embraced the new songs as tightly as their well-worn favorites from the past.
Last night saw them take the headlining spot at Atlanta’s welcomed revival of the Music Midtown festival, and what a sight it was. 55,000 hungry fans packed the lawn at Piedmont Park after a day stuffed with high caliber acts like Young the Giant, the Black Keys, Cage the Elephant and Manchester Orchestra. While the warm-up acts certainly outdid themselves, you could tell Coldplay was the act everyone was here to see.
The band took the stage at 9:15 as the energy bottled up from the screaming fans was like a Mentos in a Diet Coke bottle. It has been far too long since their last visit to the ATL. Chris Martin and company wasted no time launching into their set giving the crowd another glimpse at the forthcoming ‘Mylo Xyoto’ with the song “Hurts Like Heaven.” It was a solid track that helped the band serve up a handful of teasers tracks from the new album during their 80-minute set. I’m going to go out on a limb here to say I think they’ll sell a few copies of this one.
The night’s setlist was a scattershot of tracks from the band’s growing catalog of work. Staples like “Yellow,” “The Scientist” and “Clocks” were unquestionable crowd pleasers while they didn’t neglect to throw in a few deeper cuts like “Everything is Not Lost” and “Politik” for the dyed in the wool fans. They did their best to spread the wealth though it would have been nice to get a fuller look at the new album. If nothing else, it gives us all a chance to visit them at Philips Arena when they surely pass through in 2012.
Coldplay’s stage show certainly didn’t disappoint. Chris Martin alternated between bouncing around the stage, cozying up to the piano and sharing a few laughs with guitarist Jonny Buckland. The light show showered the tightly packed crowd as huge inflatable balls kicked through the wave of hands. They even capped the evening with bursts of fireworks just to make sure the right notes got their proper emphasis.
Chris Martin commented on how much he loved being back in Atlanta and seemed to back it up in earnest with a stirring tribute of “Everybody Hurts” for the recently split Athens-based R.E.M. Martin also used Ray Charles’ beautiful “Georgia on My Mind” as a fitting transition between songs as the night wrapped to a close.
I’ve seen Coldplay more than a half dozen times at this point from the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. to a community college gymnasium in Charlotte, but this is the first time I’ve seen them outdoors in the festival element. They seemed to reveal in it, giving them perhaps a freedom that arena shows don’t necessarily afford. Coldplay played a great set that whetted the appetite for their upcoming album while still reminding us why we all fell in love with the band all those years ago. Chris Martin and the boys still got ‘it,’ and it was nice to see them bring their deep passion for music back to Atlanta
Look for our continued coverage of Music Midtown tomorrow as we feature takes on Young the Giant and the Black Keys performances.