This past Wednesday, I went with a friend to the Coldplay concert at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
There has been a lot of talk about the disappointment of some fans for various reasons, so I’d just like to add something of my own to the discussion. Feel free to comment whether you agree, disagree, or add your own thoughts.
The tickets we had were in the highest section, about 5 rows from the absolute roof. Our view was from slightly behind the backdrop screen at the back of the stage, so we didn’t see anything that was on the screen throughout the show. We were above the video globes hanging from the rafters, above the confetti machines, and way above where Coldplay went to perform two songs in the “cheaper” seats. There, the stage has been set, so to speak.
We got there around 7:15 p.m., and enjoyed the ambient music as it prepared us for the excitement to come. My friend Mike was sure it was Brian Eno, and I believe him because a.) he knows Brian Eno’s work, and b.) I wouldn’t know any better (all ambient music sounds the same to me, kinda forgettable for the most part). The seats slowly started to fill. The lights dimmed and people got excited, even though none of us knew who the heck Santogold was or why she was opening for such a big act. Turns out the performance really didn’t help clarify anything. While I wouldn’t mind her “hit” “L.E.S. Artistes” if it were shorter, I really didn’t see how her music in any way prepared for the main band. Her dancers certainly left something to be desired (when your signature dance move is standing upright like a statue, I’d venture to say you need a new signature dance move). Oh, and did I mention, the arena was only about half full at this point?
After Santogold finished, the lights came back on, and we waited again. I felt like there was much ado about nothing, not to be mean. It wasn’t as if Santogold had a demanding stage setup though, and it kinda felt like the break in-between bands was accentuated. Maybe I was just anxious to see what Coldplay had in store for us.
Coldplay came on stage to one of their new songs, Life in Technicolor, which was awesome. They continued with a bunch of hits, including their single off the new album, and a couple older tunes. Pretty much it was flawless. Chris Martin danced around stage wildly, almost making me worry for the instruments. As the set list continued, however, something seemed to be missing. I really don’t know how to describe it; people have been saying it was a lack of showmanship, the songs were discontinuous, the performance felt contrived, they lacked passion. Maybe it was a little of each. Anyway, it’s hard to argue that I would’ve preferred to hear more mistakes from them, and Chris Martin certainly did his best to pound out the songs on the keys of his piano. I’d rate the actual performing, including set list, an 8.5/10.
What bothered me was the length of the performance. With a rating of 8.5/10 going into this topic, it should open people’s eyes when they see my final rating ends up at a 7/10. Yes, the length was worth only 5.5/10 to me. It was 90 minutes long, which I felt to be very strange. I mean, we left the building about 11:15 p.m.! What concert finishes before midnight?! At the very least, I felt that if they knew they would play 90 minutes to the tee, they could have gotten another opening act to make it feel more like a full evening for the people shelling out the money to see them. Our tickets weren’t cheap, yet we couldn’t even see the band at one point when they played a couple songs in the “cheaper” seats, and didn’t know what was going on on the backdrop screen, like I said before. So the one thing I know I can put my finger on that was less-than-stellar, which could easily have been improved, was the length of time Coldplay performed.
Anyway, despite all that, I still thought highly of the performance itself. I only wished they had played the second part of Lovers In Japan called Reign of Love, which is probably my favourite part of this new album, but Fix You all but made up for it, literally bringing tears to my eyes. I loved the audience participation as well; people singing along with Chris Martin, echoing his melodies in a sonically-gorgeous roar. The only time it made me cringe was when they tried the “oooo”s of The Scientist and sounded like a grade-school choir where half the members are beginning puberty and the other half just want to make it sound as off-key as possible. haha. It was amusing….. but still cringe-worthy, since the rest of the songs had been so well-done.
There you go. I’d still say I had a great time, and loved the performance. And even though we got a two-song encore which didn’t occur for the Thursday concert, I just wished there was more of it!