Concert review by Nick McIlwain
I’ll say this right off the bat: I’m not a huge fan of stadium shows. As the old radio saying goes, “No Roof, No Rock”. On the whole, I prefer indoor shows; the acoustics are better and usually, you’re a bit closer to the stage and the performers. That said, this week’s Coldplay show at the Linc was BY FAR the best concert I’ve ever seen in that venue and it’s in my personal list of Top 5 Stadium Shows (Paul McCartney at the Ballpark in 2016 is Number 1.)
It was a warm night in early June on a Wednesday, with the threat of storms on the horizon. Yet somehow the show happened before the torrential downpours began. Traffic getting into the city was a nightmare. Yet somehow we all made it. 60,000+ fans streamed into the Linc to be a part of a communal event. To dance and sing and celebrate together. This tour, the #MusicOfTheSpheresWorldTour, is being billed as an extremely eco-friendly tour and their #ColdplayPhiladelphia stop didn’t disappoint. Some of the electricity for the show, including the side stages, was actually powered by members of the audience jumping on trampolines!
The band’s new album, Music Of The Spheres, is out now and the band did play a few new songs off the record, but most of the night was dedicated to hits and crowd-pleasers. Songs 3, 4 and 5 were especially energetic, as the band rolled through “Paradise”, then a personal favorite, “Charlie Brown” and into “The Scientist”. As the band made their way down to the B-stage, they continued with another hit and singalong, “Viva La Vida”.
Back on the A-stage, the early classics “In My Place” and “Yellow” kept the energy high. As we walked into the venue, light-up wristbands were distributed to everyone in the crowd, and the coordinated light show made for stunning visual displays to go along with the uplifting music. A stadium show is only as good as its sound, and for this concert at the Linc, the sound was stellar. The video displays, light shows (including the wristbands) and fireworks all contributed to an incredible three-dimensional experience. The first set wrapped up with the hits “Clocks” and the band’s version of the Coldplay / Chainsmokers song, “Something Just Like This.”
After a short break, they performed the Coldplay / BTS worldwide chart-topper, “My Universe”, with images of the K-Pop international heartthrobs appearing on the video screens behind the band. Another great moment was “A Sky Full of Stars”, during which the band stopped the song, restarted it, and Chris Martin asked the audience to put their phones away for this song. It was a good reminder to be in the present, to put your phones down, not to record everything, and simply, to be in the moment with friends and family and loved ones who are all in the same place, celebrating the same music together.
Back on the C-stage (the smallest of the three stages), the band went into “Sparks”, which ended with Coldplay’s very own version of the Eagles Fight Song, “Fly Eagles, Fly”. What a brilliant moment! Singing the E-A-G-L-E-S, in true Coldplay style, to tens of thousands of Eagles fans IN THE BUILDING where the Eagles play… Incredible!
The band then seemed to make a few small adjustments on the fly, perhaps because the thunder and lighting and storms were getting closer, and wrapped up the acoustic set with Chris singing a few improvised lines about playing in and performing for fans in Philly. This was a relatively quick set, with Chris performing solo on acoustic guitar.
When they returned, as a full band on the A-stage, they wrapped the show with an incredible fireworks display, accompanying “Humankind”, “Fix You” and ended the night with the new tune, “Biutyful”. “Fix You”, in this humble writer’s opinion, is one of the best songs of the last 20 years and was the high moment of the night, with everyone in the audience singing along. In the day and a half since their concert ended, I’ve been trying to find ways to go see them again. Unfortunately for most fans, there are only two more shows in the States before the head overseas for the European leg of this worldwide tour.
Overall, it was a great night for fans of this incredible band. If Coldplay’s not your thing, I get it. But Chris Martin is an underrated front man who brings it to every city, interacts with the audience, is an amazing musician and songwriter, and genuinely seems to be having FUN at his shows, as evidenced by the smile on his face.
To quote a song off of “A Rush Of Blood To The Head”: God give me style and give me grace / God put a smile upon my face.
Watch our recap on the Preston & Steve Show (including Chris Martin’s version of the Eagles Fight Song):
Photos by Bill Raymond/Digital Noise Mag