Coldplay & Idlewild @ Wembley
Idlewild have perfectly evolved, Coldplay have perfect chord changes. This tour is nothing less and than a travelling rainbow machine and provides Wembley with one of the finest gigs of the year.
Coldplay and Idlewild, London Wembley Arena, 21/10/02
Good things come to those who wait, work hard and bide their time, and with Idlewild in 2002 this could not be truer. When VF first caught them live five years ago supporting Ash at the Forum, they made a shambolically brilliant sonic racket. Tonight, Idlewild are wondrous on a much higher scale; sprawling and proud, with a whole bunch of new songs peering down from the clouds. 'Roseability' and 'I Am What I Am Not' leave the Wembley beer-swillers slightly bemused, though the epic 'You Held The World In Your Arms' finally becomes the stadium filler we all knew it was. Quite how they've gone from the spiky punk of 'When I Argue I see Shapes' to the touchingly Smiths-esq 'American English' is beyond even them; but questions aside, no one can deny Idlewild's gradual transition has been as natural as it has been gradual, or that they so fully deserve the unbridled commercial success which now lies so clear ahead.
Famous for his selfless charm, one can forgive Coldplay's supersonic rise into the realms of stadium rock when reminded that their debut LP didn't just include those two obvious classics, but 'Shiver' too. Dispatched one song into tonight's 'event', many would probably have still been quite breathless from opener 'Politik', the first track from the former London students' second LP 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head'. Magically epic; it is one of the most moving songs of all time. Two-thirds of the way through, the combination of Chris Martin's Vaseline falsetto, the tingling perfection of the perfect chord change, and the orchestral unison of what does, at times, appear to the singer's backing band, leave an indelible spine chill of immeasurable pleasure. (File under: as good as any Radiohead performance on a beach in Spain.)
'Spies', its haunting equivalent from their debut album, is carried off with a new found intensity, in similar fashion to 'Don't Panic'. Coldplay make full use of Wembley's 12,000 pairs of lungs, as 'Everything's Not Lost', and 'God Put A Smile On Your Face' join the timeless ranks of stadium filling supremacy set down by 'Trouble' and 'Yellow'. They stray really only once into straight-up rock territory on (b-side) 'The One I Love', though it must be said it isn't what Coldplay do best. Their 'best' is demonstrated in whole-hearted magnificence by new single 'The Scientist', a three minute opus of tear-jerking genius. What's nearly as tragic as the song's lush melody is quite how far above the likes of Oasis, Travis et al Coldplay now are.