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Live Review & Gallery: Coldplay @ Soldier Field

| July 24, 2016

Chris Martin of Coldplay (photo by Curt Baran)

Soldier Field, Chicago
Saturday, July 23, 2016

After barely touring behind 2014’s melancholy and tepidly received Ghost Stories, Coldplay’s first of two stops at a packed Soldier Field (its first Chicago show in four years) supporting the much more celebratory A Head Full Of Dreams almost didn’t happen. Torrential downpours caused the cancellation of opening acts Alessia Cara and Foxes, then caused the headliners to call it a night after 90 minutes, but despite Mother Nature’s lack of cooperation, the evening was memorable on many levels.

Kicking off with the apt opener “A Head Full Of Dreams,” front man Chris Martin mentioned it was the 40th show of the tour, but the 39 before were merely warm-ups for the Windy City and he expected it to be the best yet. He also thanked everyone for enduring the traffic and chaos, which fit right in line with his platitude and pleasantry-stacked personality that’s helped make Coldplay the rock equivalent to Taylor Swift.

Indeed, he, guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion’s performance for fans with synchronized light-up bracelets as far as the eye could see were miles away in mentality from their days playing the Metro or Aragon. Alongside the increase in venue size, Coldplay continues to transition away from its alternative/indie rock infancy towards a more sanitized pop sound that’s become increasingly blander on record, but thankfully packed a lot more punch on stage thanks to the fireworks, flames, confetti, beach balls, and most importantly, a more organic aura compared to the studio.

In spite of all the changes (for better or worse), Coldplay is stepping up to the plate while U2’s on break from being the biggest rock band in the world and turning in one of the most palatable and entertaining spectacles on the road all summer. And though there was a noted emphasis on the band’s two most recent projects, there were just as many huge hits from yesteryear, spanning the early onslaught of “Yellow,” “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” and “Paradise,” through the latter battle cries of “Clocks,” “Fix You” and “Viva La Vida.”

In between, the guys also stripped down for a b-stage segment, culminating with Martin’s solo piano rendition of “Everglow,” which sent good vibes to Nice, Baton Rouge, Orlando, Munich and any other area affected by recent tragedies (and was appropriately followed by a peace-promoting Muhammad Ali speech). A little while later, “Charlie Brown” had everyone back to dancing, but as soon as Martin realized his guitar was out of tune, he abruptly stopped the song, asked for a mulligan and completely derailed the otherwise roaring train.

However, the leader did a much better job keeping his cool when the rain picked back up to an almost blinding pace, and within seconds, made the call to skip a few songs forward into the set list and dive straight into “A Sky Full Of Stars” as the finale. Like clockwork, both the players and production kicked right into gear as everyone sang at the top of their lungs, even if they were soaked to the skin and subject to a shorter night than usual.

Although there wasn’t time for an audience request segment or “Up & Up,” Coldplay definitely rose to the occasion, and while everyone would’ve surely preferred a proper ending and perhaps a collaborative appearance by the openers at some point, the post-evacuation chants of “Viva La Vida” all the way to the parking lots suggested overall satisfaction. Here’s hoping Sunday’s forecast for the second show will warrant an “Adventure Of A Lifetime,” or at the very least, a sky full of sun.

-Review by Andy Argyrakis; Photos by Curt Baran


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Category: IE Photo Gallery, Stage Buzz, Weekly

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  1. Matthew says:

    I attended the Saturday show. It kind of sucked to not have the opening acts but we were okay with at least seeing Coldplay play.

    As the article states, it does suck it was only 90 minutes. Their show usually lasts 120 minutes or more.

    I feel bad for people that dropped over $1000 a ticket. We would have stayed the extra 2 hours while the rain cleared up.

    but all in all, it still was a great show.