By: Andrew Martin
On September 6th, 2012, I attended Coldplay’s concert in The Hague, Netherlands with Brandon Ly, Crystal Lee, Olivia Jew, Lauren Edelson, and 70,000 other screaming Dutch fans. Coldplay has been my favorite band for many years now, and I have always dreamed about being able to go to a Coldplay concert, as they are known to be one of the best live bands in the world. Fortunately, I was able to see them live in San Jose, California in April, and I had an unforgettable time. When I found out they were going to be playing in the Netherlands on their Mylo Xyloto (the name of their fifth album) tour while I was in Amsterdam, I knew I had to show up. Coldplay is one of the best live bands in the world because they always accomplish their goal of creating an amazing experience that its patrons will remember forever. They do this through a combination of the music they play and the way they play it, which I’ll call their showmanship.
Of course the primary reason people show up to a concert is for the music, which Coldplay has based its fame on. Coldplay now has five best selling albums, the most recent of which is Mylo Xyloto, released in 2011. However, many Coldplay fans prefer the music from earlier albums like Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head. Coldplay accommodates these fans by playing a 50-50 mix of songs from their newest album, and fan favorite songs from their older albums. I have seen Chris Martin, the lead singer, mention in past interviews that during the early concerts on new tours, the band will try to pay attention to which songs people are enjoying the least, and cut those songs out from later set lists. This helps them optimize the music they play for their fans.
However, Coldplay does not only play the songs people want to hear, but they also have an amazing sound quality when they play at live concerts. Many fans become disappointed when they go to see a band and the sound quality is so bad that the songs are barely identifiable. Coldplay has hired one of the best sound crews in the business, and only employs the highest quality sound systems. They bring these with them to every concert around the world, allowing them to achieve a live sound that is almost identical to their record album. I heard countless people, including Crystal, mention how pleasantly surprising it was that their live music was almost identical to their album. This high quality sound also makes it even easier for its fans to sing along to the music. Throughout the entire concert, I observed the vast majority of fans singing along to every song played during the two-hour concert. Coldplay is also smart in choosing to play songs that are easiest for its fans to sing along to.
While Coldplay has some of the best live music in the business, what really sets Coldplay concerts apart is the band’s showmanship: the way they play the music. It all starts with their front man Chris Martin, widely known as one of the best in the business. Not only for his voice, but also for the energy and enthusiasm he brings to every concert he sings in. Throughout the concert he dances around the stage while singing, jumping up and down, swaying and contorting his body at the piano, running around the stage, and even falling down and singing from flat on his back. While Chris Martin is a brilliant front man, the entire band also joins in on the fun. The crowd of 70,000 was the largest concert I had ever attended by far (they had filled a stadium of 35,000 in San Jose), yet Chris would always call out to the fans in the back and keep them engaged. Not only that, but an hour into the concert, the band went silent for a minute, and ran over to a small stage built about three-fourths of the way into the crowd, and played two acoustic ballads in front of the fans in the back of the venue.
Coldplay’s showmanship appears not only in their energy and enthusiasm, but also in the special effects they bring to every concert. Coldplay’s past concerts have been known for all of the odd special things they throw in the crowd: massive bouncy balls, confetti, lasers, and smoke. While all of that was present and in its full glory at this concert, Coldplay also brought in a new element to this tour: light-up, color wristbands that they gave out for free to every fan upon entering the venue. Before the concert began, most people had no clue what they were for, and were only told to put them on your wrist. When Coldplay first jumped on the stage and played their first song, everyone’s colored wristbands lit up the concert and everyone went crazy. The sight of 70,000 neon, white, red, yellow, and blue wristbands was truly something special. Not only that, but each wristband also had a built in sensor, and the Coldplay crew was able to control each wristband: causing them to blink on cue to go with the beat of songs, or to only turn certain colors on.
Coldplay is known as one of the best live rock bands in the world, and for good reason. Every aspect of a rock concert, from the music itself, to the enthusiasm and special effects is truly well designed by Coldplay. They have really spent a large amount of time thinking and executing how to provide the most enjoyable experience possible for its fans, and its fans love them for it. The concert was so special that two of the people I went with, Brandon and Crystal, who were not even really enthusiastic fans at first, came out of the concert truly amazed, and fans for life.