When colorful balloons bounce over the audience’s heads, pounds of confetti buzzing in the air, and rockets are launched, it usually means that the pop concert is coming to an end. Unless you’re Coldplay. They shoot the first song of their concert at the Olympic Stadium.
Chris Martin and three of his bandmates run onto the stage to the sounds of “Higher Power”, while sparks fly in Berlin’s slowly turning orange sky. One could worry about the drama of the evening for a moment. How do I increase this bombast? But don’t worry: the fireworks are only the first of six to orbit this evening.
Kinetic dance floors and bicycles
The Brits fill the Olympic Stadium in Berlin for three nights, followed by the nearly sold-out concerts on Tuesday and Wednesday after the first concert on Sunday. Coldplay only works at large sizes. And a large, almost no band performs better than Coldplay. Over the years they have perfected the stadium concert genre, from the light show to the order of songs, everything is coordinated down to the finest detail and programmed for maximum emotion.
It begins pitifully before the concert, when the band presents their widely advertised environmental concept in a music video. There are kinetic dance floors and bikes that the public can use to generate energy on their own. Otherwise, climate-friendly technology is used wherever possible and the team donates some of the profit to environmental projects.
The four members of the band thank the audience very seriously. People of all ages came, there is a festival atmosphere of folklore with sausages, burgers and beer from plastic cups. It is unclear how exactly the menu fits into the team’s environmental concept. Eventually, the overcrowded subway after the show indicates that many of the 70,000 guests complied with the band’s request to travel by public transport.
It’s not entirely conclusive, especially since the team is still traveling the world in a private jet, but at least they’re trying. As Chris Martin, she always strives to convey her politically vague but consistently positive message to the world. “If you want love to be love, if you want peace to be peace,” the video flashes on the walls.
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It’s that simple in the Coldplay world. Their ninth album “Music Of The Spheres”, released in 2021, is somehow about space as well as good mood. It was produced by the hit guarantor Max Martin. The features of Selena Gomez and the South Korean boy band BTS ensure that the songs will also resonate with younger audiences. The album sounds like it was made for Spotify’s algorithms and an electric car ad.
The critics did not like it. “There has to be more worthy ways to stay on your feet,” said the Guardian. But the idea worked. BTS’s collaboration “My Universe”, an euphoric pop number, gave the band their first number one hit in the United States since 2008.
Coldplay has never been fun anyway. It has been 17 years since Jon Pareles, a critic of The New York Times, called Coldplay “the most obnoxious band of the decade.” Since then, critics have been tearing the band’s records to shreds.
The exception is “Everyday Life”, released in 2019, on which Coldplay experimented with gospel and blues sounds and collaborated, among others. with the Nigerian musician Femi Kuti. It was their least commercially successful album, the only one without a huge hit and without a stadium tour. Therefore, at a concert in Berlin, you cannot hear anything from the album.
Thousands of light bracelets sparkle
Otherwise, there is something for everyone. The peak of excitement for fans of the old hour comes at the end of the first half of the concert, when the band plays songs from the first albums “Parachute” and “A Rush of Blood to the Head”. The light show is slightly less colorful than usual, with strobe effects in Polityka. The sun is just setting and the nostalgia factor is building up as Coldplay makes its first hit, “Yellow.”
Thousands of glowing wristbands flash in the right color (yellow) at the right time, and the crowd cheers, deeply moved. Coldplay by all means evokes great emotions – and is successful with it. But the hits of EDM parties are also not taken lightly, and in between there is even a bit of Rammstein’s feeling as the flames burn on the stage for the new rock number “Power Of The People”.
The look is not as hippy as it was on the last “A Head Full Of Dreams” tour. The floral decorations on Chris Martin’s piano are gone, he is wearing a sporty, functional outfit and later a merch shirt with the inscription “Everyone Is A Stranger Somewhere.”
He stumbles around the stage in a good mood, and his distinctive airplane flight in which he runs across the stage with his arms outstretched is a must. Unlike the 2016 Superbowl show, which is surprisingly often out of breath, he is in a good mood – when the microphone is not distorting. Only the sound at the Olympic Stadium is as usual faint and, above all, loud. You can hardly hear Chris Martin at the start of the show.
It can also be a bit awkward when musicians wear Martian helmets to songs from their new album and walk around the stage while the Muppet-inspired space puppets sing their songs on the video screens. Chris Martin has never been a particularly gifted songwriter, the lyrics on the new album are pushing the repentance factor to unprecedented heights. “We are only human / But we are capable of kindness / so they call us humanity,” he sings in the rock hymn “Man”.
The ambulance doctor stops the show
But thank goodness Chris Martin refrains from making big speeches á la his role model Bono. Many times thanks to the fans in German and assures that the Berlin audience is the best in the world. After reciting “The Scientist” on the piano, he praises the Berlin air. “What a beautiful fucking … Sunday,” he announces, a bit hesitantly. When you’ve been on the world tour for months, it’s easy to forget which day it is. After a moment of silence, the song “Viva la Vida” continues on the smaller stage in the middle of the crowd, with drummer Will Champion brandishing his chopsticks.
By default, “Sky Full of Stars” is cut off as Chris Martin asks the audience to turn off their cell phones for the song. But the hiatus is longer because there’s a doctor’s call and the team wants to make sure everyone’s okay first.
Paramedics thumbs up and continue with the program. Nobody believes the singer that “Sky Full of Stars” should be the last song. The band is back soon with an intimate performance of their early hit “Sparks”.
The really emotional moment comes when the band deviates from the script and brings a Ukrainian children’s choir on stage. After Chris Martin sings “Something Just Like This” with them, applause bursts out for a few minutes. “People aren’t as bad as everyone says they are,” he announces with tears in his eyes.
But not all rockets have been launched yet. The grand finale with fireworks four, five and six consists of “People”, “Fix you” and “Biutyful”. Coldplay is reportedly looking to release its last album in 2025, at least that’s what Chris Martin announced. You really can’t believe it when you see the band tonight. Stadiums and Coldplay just go together – and they can go on forever.