Coldplay definitely knows how to play a crowd. I, and 34,000 other fans were reminded of this when frontman Chris Martin "hired" us all to join the band during the "Viva" tour when they played the Alpine Valley Music Theater, near East Troy, Wisconsin, last Saturday night.
"We finally have more members than the Dave Matthews Band," Martin said as he joked with the audience. After prompting us to sing along, the audience attempted a line--poorly I might add--inviting Martin to chastise us by saying, "no, no, no c'mon we just hired you guys (okay, I am relating this as the "family-friendly" G-rated version)!"
We got it right after that.
Anticipation, excitement and elation were the emotions I felt leading into that night. How could I have not? My friend Shane and I had been planning this night long before I had returned home from my one-year deployment in Afghanistan (not counting some of the acts I saw while stationed in Kuwait in 2005-06, this was actually the first concert I had attended since seeing Elton John in the late 90s-- I really need to get out more).
If I had something to look forward to upon my return home, this concert clearly was it!
The light show, the uber-frenetic, pulsating show on big screen TV--seemingly programmed by someone with ADHD--the three-foot diameter balloons dropped upon us during the performance of their haunting "Yellow," the butterfly-shaped confetti, the "cell phone wave," the unwanted cloudburst mid-way through the show (which thankfully failed to dampen our excitement), the band moving twice to play on mini-stages amidst the audience and of course, their upbeat music (!) all added up to one big verklempt!
The band's charismatic, energetic performances fired up the crowd as they played songs familiar to the audience. The venue, while cavernous, felt intimate due to Martin's ability to connect with his fans.
For those of us in attendance at Alpine Valley, "Viva" is now history, however, my memories of such a great time definitely are not. What a show! For nearly two hours, the band covered songs from their current album as well as those of the past.
British alternative band Coldplay, members consisting of bassist Guy Barryman, Jonny Buckman on lead guitar, Will Champion on drums and lead singer Chris Martin, sounded great! Sometimes a band sounds great as a studio band, but true artists can move the audience both off and on the stage--happily, Coldplay is of the latter category.
I cannot imagine anyone leaving feeling disappointed by Coldplay's performance; the band was definitely there to please! "Viva" was a feast for my eyes, ears and spirit! I know I was overcome with verklempt. *
(* translation: think of Jonathan Winter's old line "I had goose bumps all over my body" and multiply that by a factor of ten!)
photos by the author