Monday, June 15, 2009

Look How They Shine For You

There's something about Chris Martin that makes me want to ruffle up his hair and say, "it's alright, buddy, don't let the anemia get you down." It's an urge, what can I say. Regardless...

Coldplay hit Des Moines Friday night for a packed performance and they delivered. Decked out in their thrift-store Sgt. Pepper's garb, the band surpassed my modest expectations. When I've seen Apple's dad and his band perform on TV I've been quite underwhelmed, particularly with Viva La Vida. On TV, Martin could never quite deliver as he did in the studio. He did quite a bit better Friday night in person but still didn't nail it. What's with bands being unable to perform their biggest songs live?

No matter - virtually everything else worked, particularly if you were rating it on crowd reaction alone. As someone who first noticed the band with their debut Parachutes, you might not be surprised to hear that Yellow was by far the highlight for me. Even dropping cheesy yellow balloons on the crowd with bright yellow lights accentuating the band's summerless complexions couldn't ruin it. I was even able to stomach the always dreadful first two-thirds of Fix You knowing the last third would be worth it - and so it was. The band's mid-set interlude into the backseats near me was much appreciated, which included their little ditty to Iowa and of course the crowd-favorite cover of I'm a Believer. An absolutely stellar Death and All His Friends finished things off before a surprisingly short two-song encore. I was sincerely disappointed when the lights came up.

I like to kid about Coldplay mostly because they're asking for it! There's no doubt of their aspirations to be the next best-rock-and-roll-band-in-the-world ala U2 (Magnificent was an obvious pre-show setup tune), but they don't quite yet have the sense of grandeur to pull it off. The stage and lighting were disappointingly underwhelming. I wasn't expecting a giant lemon, but they could've done much better than giant lighted balls that reminded me a bit too much of Christmas decorations and not enough of rock 'n' roll. Martin is no Bono, but do we really need another Bono? He fed the crowd with plenty of energy, spastic running-around, and pained expressions to obviously highlight his emoting without resorting to fly sunglasses and meaningful lyrics. Kudos - just keep the aspirations grounded and get the guy some spinach.

Coldplay's Complete Setlist

I was nearly as excited that Snow Patrol was the second opener (Howling Bells was the first, which I missed and hardly deserves a mention considering TheirSpace indicated they were playing in Des Moines, IDAHO Friday night - c'mon) and they did exactly what I wanted them to do. No surprises - just faithful and loud renditions of their best tunes. Run made it all worthwhile, yet for me they sealed it when they played TV-soundtrack-favorite Open Your Eyes, which for some reason I did not expect. Killer tune in a great set. Their songs all reek of sameness, but why complain when they're good songs? I expected a bit more personality from a band with more albums than their headliner, but perhaps it's just a matter of time before they live up to the near-spectacle that is Moses' pop.

Finally, two completely irrelevant complaints that I have to include here so I can put them to rest:
1 - What's up with the terrible t-shirt selection from both bands?
2 - What's up with closing down of every beer vendor on the upper floors after Coldplay started?
Sheesh. Thank you - I am vented.


Tim said...

You forgot to mention the excellent concert companion you enjoyed.
And, I was fine with the vendors being shut down - what's the big deal?

2poppy said...

So sorry. Indeed the companionship was most excellent with the exception of the drunken chirpies in front of us who decided the quiet songs were the best time to talk, take pictures of each other, and make stupid fucking noises.