Coldplay | 07.13 | Mountain View

Words & Images by: Tracy Nunnery

Coldplay :: 07.13.09 :: Shoreline Amphitheatre :: Mountain View, CA

Chris Martin - Coldplay :: 07.13 :: Shoreline Amphitheatre
So, someone mentioned something about a recession the other day. "Things are going to get worse before they get better," they said. "People are going out less, choosing their entertainment options more carefully and have decided to forgo vacations this year." At least that's what the talking heads are saying on TV. Far-removed from the somber media reports of the soft economy, the sell-out crowd in attendance to see Brit rock superstars Coldplay found themselves worlds away from any crisis with their hard-earned dough well spent. The evening was filled with incredibly tight arrangements, elegantly uncomplicated visual effects, an endearing frontman and even a few surprises for their economy-conscious fans. Having never been a huge follower of the band, I now understand why they are one of the biggest bands on the planet.

More than a year into their tour in support of their best-selling, Grammy-winning 2008 Best Rock Album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, vocalist Chris Martin along with guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion appeared fresh and energetic. Aside from their obvious talent as musicians, the band seemed to truly relish the opportunity to play their music and interact with the crowd. How many bands could actually turn the anachronistic "Good evening, San Francisco [roar of the crowd]/ I can't hear you" call-and-response into something a little more creative? And they had fun doing it, too.

Coldplay :: 07.13 :: Shoreline Amphitheatre
Beginning the show from behind a sheer mesh, the familiar sounds of "Life In Technicolor" brought the already frenzied fans to their feet. When the drape was raised, Martin appeared in a multi-colored military cadet-style jacket and began to lead the crowd through nearly two hours of energetic sing-along moments and anthemic choruses. The now-familiar 1830 painting "Liberty Leading the People" by Eugène Delacroix served as the backdrop for the show, while vintage style televisions onstage displayed video feeds and provided a warm glow behind the band.

A sprinkling of tiny-stickered acronyms adorning road cases backstage was the only hint of Coldplay's deeply rooted interests in activism, such as their support of Amnesty International, Paul McCartney's Meat Free Monday and Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign. Other simple but effective visuals were integrated into the atmosphere including giant yellow balloons resurrected from 2005's "Twisted Logic" tour, which were released for the audience to bat around, creating what resembled a human-powered lava-lamp. Other touches included spherical screens displaying imagery or simple color patterns above the stage, pulsating bands of laser lights as well as millions of confetti butterflies set free to flutter throughout the venue.

Chris Martin - Coldplay :: 07.13 :: Shoreline Amphitheatre
Moving fluidly between the main stage and two mini-stages jutting into the crowd on either side, Coldplay showcased early hits from three previous albums including "Clocks," "In My Place," "Yellow," "Speed of Sound," "Trouble" as well as songs from 2008's Viva including the bluesy "Violet Hill," "Lost!" and the underrated "42," infused by Champion's surgically precise percussion. A highlight was an acoustic jam session where the band gathered on a tiny side stage to perform a brilliantly funky version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." The show ended with a particularly expressive performance of "The Scientist" and then back where it began with "Life in Technicolor II" to draw the evening to a close. Most of the orchestral tracks were performed with a stripped-down treatment, which came across as both bright and unrehearsed. Champion, pulling duty on guitar, drums and vocals, was a potent force as the familiar songs became much more dynamic than their more unassuming recorded counterparts.

Throughout the show, Chris Martin's playful interaction with the crowd, raucous piano pounding and uncoordinated flailing about added to the spectacle and sense that the band was enjoying themselves at least as much as their audience. The sheer joy and giddy energy bubbling over from the stage was contagious. It was as if everyone in attendance was sharing in the joy of having just discovered the most perfect radio station. The lively atmosphere never seemed to have a down moment and, as fans headed out into the night holding their recession-friendly live CD LeftRightLeftRighLeft (which you can download for FREE at coldplay.com), it seemed as though fans felt like they had gotten their money's worth. This was a big-time band performing huge songs in a way that few bands can match.

Coldplay :: 07.13.09 :: Shoreline Amphitheatre :: Mountain View, CA
Life In Technicolor, Violet Hill, Clocks, In My Place, Yellow, Glass Of Water, Cemeteries Of London, 42, Fix You, Strawberry Swing, God Put A Smile Upon Your Face, Talk, The Hardest Part, Postcards From Far Away, Viva La Vida, Lost!, Green Eyes, Sitting on the Dock of the Bay / Death Will Never Conquer, Billie Jean, Viva La Vida, Politik, Lovers In Japan, Death And All His Friends
Encore: The Scientist, Life in Technicolor II, The Escapist (outro)

Continue reading for a more pics of Coldplay in California...


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