thinking out loud

…things that are on my mind, heart, and soul

Viva Coldplay!

Last night Patty and I traveled to Cleveland to see one of my favorite bands, Coldplay. The journey actually brought some closure to one of my most embarrassing musical moments. A few years ago for my birthday, my kids gave me the choice of concert tickets to either see Train in Pittsburgh or Coldplay in Cleveland. In a moment or insanity, I choose Train. A colossal mistake that was confirmed in a big way by Coldplay’s performance last evening.

Let me say straight up – Coldplay is not U2. They are in a sense, U2-light or perhaps U2 wannabes (to the extent they even used U2’s producer Brian Eno for their latest collection of songs). And there is nothing really wrong with that. U2 is that good! Coldplay’s staging, lighting, and special effects were stunning and in many ways similar to a U2 production. Four guys in the band – hmmm, have we seen this before? Guitar, bass, drums, and a front guy who actually plays pretty good keys and some decent guitar. I was a bit concerned about how they would pull off the material from their latest CD, “Viva la Vida,” as it contains a complex layer of sound, texture and rhythm. It was pretty obvious that all the sound in the Quicken Arena last night was not coming from the four guys on stage. But U2 does the same thing with sequences and loops and no one rips on them for that.

It is hard to believe but Coldplay only has four albums in their catalog. While the show was heavy on Viva la Vida, they played the classic song Clocks, along with In My Place, and Speed of Sound in the first 15 minutes of the show. There is a certain lightness to Coldplay’s music and even though they tackle life and death issues on Viva la Vida, they do not take themselves too seriously. As well, the members of the band actually seemed to be enjoying themselves and they enjoyed entertaining the crowd. And entertained we were.

That said, perhaps the highlight of the musical set was their first encore, “Politk” from “A Rush of Blood to the Head.” How do these lyrics strike an American audience less than two weeks away from our historic presidential election?

Look at earth from outer space
Everyone must find their place
Give me time and give me space
Give me real don’t give me fake
Give me strength, reserve control
Give me heart and give me soul
Give me time give us a kiss
Tell me your politik
Open up your eyes…

Give me one ’cause one is best
In confusion, confidence
Give me peace of mind and trust
Don’t forget the rest of us
Give me strength, reserve control
Give me heart and give me soul
Wounds that heal and cracks that fix
Tell me your own politik
Open up your eyes….

Here is my only major critique of the concert – Chris Martin has no idea how to leverage a moment. In fact, he seemed uncomfortable when a powerful emotional moment emerged. For example, I believe the song “Fix You” is one of the most powerful songs from this generation of songwriters.

Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face
I promised you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face and I….

And then imagine 17,000 people singing acapella:

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Powerful – emotionally evocative – perhaps even a transcendent moment for some of us. And Martin, instead of letting us experience the moment deeply, moved quickly into the next song on the setlist, the light, airy, “Strawberry Swing.” This is the kind of thing that separates a pop star from a musical legend. Perhaps Martin will someday grow into this role.

Someday soon, we’ll have a real arena in Pittsburgh and bands like Coldplay will return to the ‘burgh. Until then, I would drive to Cleveland in a heartbeat to see these guys. Viva Coldplay

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3 Responses

  1. Dianne says:

    interesting lyrics; can’t say i’ve ever listened to this group but i like that british pop sound so will have to check them out (i probably DO like them, i just never know who i’m listening to).

    oh and i like this site better so i’m boycotting and commenting here! ha.

  2. hey says:

    I was at the concert…met chris and the boys….they are really nice.I met them before the show..fix you is one of my favorite songs. that and viva a vida.i cryed the whole song because of past experiences and when everyone sang i balled..chris writes a blog and he said that he didnt know what to do because that has never happened to him before….
    BELIEVE IT…WHEN THEY COME BACK…IM THERE. that concert was AMAZING!!!!!!!!

  3. terry says:

    hey “hey,”

    how sweet that you got to meet the guys. i loved the 60 minutes interview. chris has such a good sense of humor and doesn’t take himself too seriously – more rocks stars should take note…

    thanks for dropping

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have the peace that passes understanding at the heart of yourself, but do not be at peace with the world. for the world is more malleable than we think and we must wrestle it from fools. (bono)
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