So I was all set for a Calexico “Live Music Friday” post today, and then at the last minute, an email came through pointing me towards this NME article, which in turn led me to the BBC Radio 1 site, which – finally – pointed me towards this set: Coldplay, performing live from the Brixton Academy in London.
Given that it was a live set, it was simply too fortuitous a timing to pass up… so I decided to post this set for today’s Live Music Friday.
If you’ve read this blog for a while, you might remember me mentioning that I was slightly hesitant to embrace Coldplay’s new album, “Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends“, and that it’s lead single, “Violet Hill”, just didn’t hit me where it should have.
That, of course, was based solely on that single. Since then, I’ve managed to listen to the album in its entirety… but I’m still undecided about it. Something tells me that it will be one of those albums that will grow on me over time; but right now, while I think it’s a good album (and great, by other bands’ standards), it doesn’t quite reach the heights that I know Coldplay are capable of.
That said… this live set, featuring both new and old material, is an absolute cracker, and makes me like the new songs all the more. It’s not surprising, really… Coldplay are a band made for dramatic, passionate live performances. And this, their first live performance in two years, is no exception.
It’s a great set, that finds Chris Martin in a playful mood (once he finally addresses the crowd, before “Viva La Vida”). For example, before the track “Chinese Sleep Chant“, Martin jokes about the fact that the band’s live return had been a free ticket giveaway, with “I know there have been complaints about the ticket price. What can I say, we’re money grabbing whores!“. Or, between “Square One” and “Trouble“, where the band seamlessly switches songs, and there’s this wonderfully surreal moment where he stops and says:
“How seamless was that? How professional was that crossover? You know, if ever… if ever Jonny’s ego grows out of control and the band splits up, and you happen to be on a piano ferry going to Calais or wherever they go, and you see me doing a little piano-turn, you can say, “Chris, I remember when you used to be a pop star, and you did those seamless crossovers between Girls Aloud, and your own beautiful ballads. And I will say thank you so much”
… before… well… seamlessly picking up the tune again. And when the crowd sings along to the outro of “Trouble”, it’s such a powerful moment that Chris Martin comments, “Whoa. What a ferry journey that would be“.
In fact, it’s at moments like that, listening to the majestic sounds Coldplay create here, that it hits me… I have no doubt that the new tunes will eventually become anthems, just as the older material has obviously become.
Finally, make sure you at least listen to the track, “Death Will Never Conquer”; sung by the band’s drummer, Will Champion. It’s awesome to hear him step out from behind the skins and into the spotlight. And “Fix You“? Awesome. That’s all that’s needed to be said.
Enough rambling. The set is below. Listen. Love. Support.
Coldplay, live at London’s Brixton Academy, 16 June 2008
2.) Life In Technicolour
3.) Violet Hill
5.) In My Place
6.) Viva La Vida
7.) Chinese Sleep Chant
8.) God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
10.) Square One
13.) Strawberry Swing