Story by Phil BonyataSurprises abound for Coldplay. In two years they have made the near impossible leap from buzz band to mega stardom. Most buzz bands electrify us for a short period of time and then quietly die off - not Coldplay. Their new homes are being built at large arenas, the top of the charts and movie star wives. Coldplay can arguably be the third biggest touring band behind perennial juggernauts - The Stones and U2. But these bands can't go on forever - and with the mostly self-induced slumping music industry comically scrambling for replacements - Coldplay emerges as one of the few candidates to come to the industry's rescue.
Photos by Karen Bondowski
Nearly filling the expansive Alpine Valley Music Theatre - Coldplay appeared with much fanfare to a myriad of floating lights and celebratory applause. The band went all out with it's elaborate backing screens, strobes and artful use of color. As singer Chris Martin played up his silhouetted body to the public, he proceeded to dance and hop around the stage - resembling a marionette on strings. The refined "Speed of Sound" boldly let it's well crafted melodies breathe freely. On the slow and dramatic "Yellow" from Parachutes Martin let his trademark (somewhere between Bono and Thom Yorke) falsetto sparkle as giant yellow balloons fell from the rooftop. The textural soundscape meshed as it reached for a higher musical aesthetic. This is where Coldplay transcends itself from their somewhat overwrought and overproduced recordings. The band knows how to put the "organic" into their live act - letting the live setting dictate the flow and energy.
Martin's lyrics, while poetic, sometimes reach for the cliche. "Square One," "Swallowed in the Sea" and "Talk" are all best described as mood pieces--shimmering, melodic and easily reaching a beautiful balance between conviction and genuine elation.
"Til Kingdom Come" worked moderately well with it's slower tempo, but tried too hard to plant some folk roots. They also did a fairly rousing version of Johnny Cash's early '60s classic "Ring of Fire." As Martin's voice deepened he sang the chorus as if he were the one that had endured all that pain.
With just three albums under their belts, will Coldplay's star shine even brighter or will it fade like so many others that have tried to ascend that nearly impossible throne.
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