Review: Coldplay at Estadio Vicente Calderon Stadium, Madrid
'A band resurrected in a multicoloured guise'
Chris Swindells - 24 May 2012
"Tomas uno y ponerte sombre tu muneca por favor", a gentleman says, offering over a multicoloured wristband,
with no further explanation.
Under thunderous skies Madrid's Estadio Vicente Calderon Stadium looks a picture of impending apocalypse. Bolts of lightning reach down from the sky and bring the thunder roaring around the upper tier of the La Liga stadium, only a week out of 2012 football retirement. Rita Ora (7/10) opens to heavy rain and has opted for a series of gazebo's on stage as she tries to escape the weather. The crowds disperse and run for the stadium's protected fortress of concrete tunnels and soon her own brand of Rihanna pop cool is running flustered and flat.
Guess what, Marina is not a robot. Two years on and we still look on at Marina & the Diamonds (5/10) in an incredulous stare, questioning every wire and mechanical working of this pop-noir princess. Those self-aggrandising treats like 'Hollywood' are out of place and time, playing to a city and country worn with financial and social uncertainty.
Closer 'Primadonna' is fitting for someone who, in a stage persona at least, appears to think so highly of herself and so lowly of those following her. "Would you get down on your knees for me?" it seems Madrid won't be drawn to the ground for anyone.
Mexican waves and 'Ola's wrap around the stadium when the sky has cleared and a warm Mediterranean evening unfolds, and as the final piercing notes of Jay-Z's '99 Problems' ring out, the lights drop for the headline show.
'Hurts Like Heaven' bolts out the starting gates, it's the new era of a band rejuvenated and resurrected in their multicoloured guise. A series of fireworks, bright kaleidoscopic colours light up the crowd and dye the now clear skies a rainbow of hypnotic shades. The innocuous wristbands from the gate light up and all around a sea of flashing lights reach up into the upper limits of the stadium, and suddenly it all becomes clear, Coldplay (10/10) have arrived in the big leagues.
'Major Minor' is another number from 'Mylo Xyloto' with pace and vitality, it is followed by their breakthrough hit 'Yellow' in a much faster form, sharper in tempo, and dedicated to their respective wives, including Gwyneth Paltrow, watching from the wings
'God put a Smile Upon Your Face' pulsates with every beat, Chris Martin takes it without inhaling for a breath, leaving the final note with a smashing act of folly, throwing his guitar to the sky. The frontman is in high spirit tonight and drops into his Spanish tongue whenever he can. He apologises for his poor grasp of the language, but gauging the full rapturous response it seems like very little is lost in translation.
Rihanna makes a fleeting on screen cameo for 'Princess of China' and the wristband lights make another appearance for 'Charlie Brown', like fireflies around the stadium, they chime with the lyrics, "we'll be glowing in the dark".
Then without notice the lights turn to the rear of the stadium where, upon a small stand, the band appear, as if in a Copperfield illusion. Martin opens up with 'Us against the World', as one by one the band join him and move on to the 'Speed of Sound' - a rare visit to the black spot on their CV, 'X&Y'.
Blessed now with a bright back catalogue, the band can afford to miss out 'Don't Panic', 'Lost!' and 'Strawberry Swing' from the proceedings.
It's all but done when the tempo changes for the encore and 'Fix You' takes it's place centre stage, clearly a big heart mover with the Spanish crowd. 'Every Teardrop is a Waterfall' comes at the finish line and you can see this album cycle is still gaining momentum, and from here the records of stadium touring acts like U2 and The Boss doesn't look so untouchable. With their final bow Chris Martin and cohorts take up the Spanish flag and kiss the ground, back in the city they chose to launch 'Mylo Xyloto' from, it's buenas noches for now.