Marina and the Diamonds
Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON
July 23, 2012
Review by: Colton Eddy
Photos by: Pete Nema
Coldplay performed for two sold-out shows at Air Canada Centre, illuminating an arena into a club-like atmosphere, and then back again.
"Before the show, the four of us were talking," said Chris Martin, Coldplay's jubilant frontman and main-lyricist, early in their Monday performance. "And we decided to make this the best concert of our lives." To kick off the second night, Martin reassured the crowd, "Last night we promised that we'd play the best concert of our lives. It was more like rehearsal."
They'd done their homework and had mastered the arena essentials, with a brass-heavy intro song, some Flaming Lips-inspired confetti-blasting canons, an in-crowd Arcade Fire-like performance and giant confetti-filled balls. Every audience member was provided with a wristband that was centrally controlled and created a stadium-sized, music-synchronized light show, sparkling up the ACC like a Christmas tree. The humble lads manufactured an unforgettable experience.
During "The Scientist", I took a moment to search the faces around me, finding tears streaming down pre-teen, middle-aged, and lax-bros alike. And that sentiment settled as Martin dedicated a very solemn rendition of their breakthrough single "Yellow" to the victims of the Colorado shooting.
Comparisons to U2 are inevitable. From Will Champion, the muscular-machine driving the backbeat, must have been born out of hours spent emulating Larry Mullen Jr.'s marching through "Joshua Tree", best example: Coldplay's "Lovers in Japan" vs. U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name". And of course, the Edge inspired riffing from Jonny Buckland ignited enough reverb to put Tom Delonge in the corner. It's quite possible that Mylo Xyloto will sit in their repertoire as the equivalent of U2's label-pleasing dud POP.
Though the sweat and passion measured equally both nights, Martin and company put on a slightly more energetic performance on their second night. The only change in the set-list on the second-night was swapping the precious "Warning Sign" for one of their earliest tracks, "Trouble". It was concerning, as a long-time Coldplay fan, to feel the audience around me shift into discomfort as those opening trills to "Trouble" echoed. The lyrics might not have been as manufactured for stadiums as their latest LP Mylo Xyloto, but it was undoubtedly a shame to hear a dull response for this beautiful, honest song; unlike the head-scratching rowdy behaviour that resulted as the heavily-synthisized chords bled introducing their recent Rihanna collaboration. Though we might have reason to be hopeful, during "Princess of China", the seven circular projectors revealed the band smug and stricken with boredom — a defined contrast between the digitally programmed tracks and their honestly nostalgic ballads.
Coldplay has quietly crawled into becoming one of the biggest bands of our lifetime, you can knock them all you want with those outdated "40-Year-Old Virgin" quotes — a little band with over 55-million albums sold, sold-out venues — listen, it's hard to not defend and protect their relevance. And that became most noticeable during their acoustic encore, when it was stripped down to natural; their popularity overshadows their pure, melody-crafting talent. Their show didn't end when they left the stage, their message continued to bleed.
As we shimmied through the doors on both nights, chiming of songs like "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall" and "The Scientist" could be heard from fans fumbling on a "Play Me I'm Yours" piano on York Street. Coldplay pens the kind of hymns that gut with a dose of belief, and sometimes that's just what we need.
- Mylo Xyloto
- Hurts Like Heaven
- In My Place
- Major Minus
- Lovers In Japan
- The Scientist
- Violet Hill
- God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
End Of Catwalk:
- Princess of China
- Up in Flames
- Warning Sign
- A Hopeful Transmission
- Don't Let It Break Your Heart
- Viva La Vida
- Charlie Brown
Encore - Audience Stage:
- Us Against the World
- Speed Of Sound
Encore - Main Stage:
- Fix You
- Every Teardrop is a Waterfall
On the second night, I was fortunate enough to be seated three rows behind their in-audience encore performance of "Us Against the World" and "Speed of Sound" — you can watch that here.