COLDPLAY, Wembley Stadium – Evening Standard, 16 June 2016

No one needs to be persuaded to put their hands in the air at a Coldplay gig. The band’s light-up wristbands, first handed out on their last stadium tour four years ago, make it irresistable. If anyone chose to put together a list of the seven wonders of the music world, this is surely one of them: Wembley Stadium twinkling like the planet’s biggest Christmas tree as Chris Martin bounds into the vast crowd yet again.

After the subdued break-up album that was Ghost Stories in 2014, the follow-up, A Head Full of Dreams, saw the band moving on in the boldest way possible. The rainbow colours of its sleeve were echoed in a stage bursting with all the lights, confetti and balloons of the greatest birthday party, and in songs that celebrated life in all its fullness. There was no room for cynicism amid 80,000 people howling along to Paradise or recent single Adventure of a Lifetime, audience fireflies doing their part by being there. Sadness was banished, even during a respectful cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” and Fix You, with its burst of electric guitar colour illuminating a sombre opening.

Martin performed with open arms, a wide smile and a Union Jack tucked in his back pocket. Big screen clips of fans from around the globe showed his band’s universal appeal. The wordless uplift of Viva La Vida’s chorus stirred in any language.

As well as Bowie, they referenced the recent loss of Muhammad Ali, and their song Magic, from Ghost Stories, performed on a relatively intimate second stage, provided a necessary change of pace. Otherwise it was all bright sparks and puppyish joy. Coldplay are playng more stadium shows in London than anyone else this summer, because no one else is doing this kind of thing better. Long may they shine.

 

Until June 19, Wembley Stadium, HA9 (0844 980 8001, wembleystadium.com)

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