COLDPLAY have come a long way since they played Birmingham’s Ronnie Scott’s in 2000, as their album Parachutes was hitting the headlines. Now they are commanding three nights at the NIA and on the crest of a wave after their most recent album Viva la Vida.
When the concert opened with Strauss, it was as if we were in for a classical spectacular – and in some ways, we were. The show was nothing if not a spectacle with Coldplay pulling out all the stops for special effects. We had laser beams, globes lowering from the ceiling and projecting images, confetti, painted backdrops, moving images and flashing lights – it was one crowd-pleaser after another.
The music was just as likely to keep the crowds happy. New material such as Violet Hill, Life in Technicolour and Lost! easily blended with old favourites such as The Scientist, Clocks, In My Place and Politik. Happily, the band avoided the temptation of keeping the anthemic Yellow until the encore, although it was played under yellow light with the microphone turned towards the audience to sing along.
Lead singer Chris Martin, dressed in a military jacket, was bursting with enthusiasm. With two stages, there was plenty of opportunity for audience interaction but the band went one better by appearing on their own mini-stage at the back of the auditorium for a couple of tracks.
Martin was in jocular mood, cracking jokes and urging the audience to sing loudly. Aware that the band have long been absent from Birmingham, he admitted to being nervous of the reaction they would receive, but there was little doubt of the crowd’s appreciation.