Review by Simon Pinion
IN MY experience, charity concerts do tend to be something special. Performers seem to want to give it all, to give everything they've got, in doing their 'bit' for the cause. Coldplay's performance at The Royal Albert Hall (Monday, March 24, 2003) didn't mess my theory up.
The support, Richard Hawley, did a good job. I'd never heard of him before, and it appeared most of the audience hadn't either. When someone yelled out, "Who are you?", he was only too pleased to explain that he was newly on his own, and had been in The Longpigs and Pulp previously.
His songs were well performed, melodic pop songs, the sort of stuff Magic FM wouldn't mind playing, with the odd song being a little more daring. The set started well, losing it a bit in the middle, as it became much of the same. I think if any of the songs had been known, it may have been better. No limelight was taken away from Coldplay, but he was better than average, for a support.
Coldplay came on at around 9pm, to a sold-out Royal Albert Hall. Their opening tune, Politik, got proceedings rolling nicely. Chris Martin danced at his piano, as much as is possible, without pulling it over. Then they glided in to God Put A Smile Upon Your Face, which was just as enthusiastically performed.
Next up was Spies, for which they had developed an unrecognisable guitar intro to keep people guessing until the real start of the track began.
The rest of the set took in the highlights of both their albums to date. Daylight, A Rush of Blood to the Head, Don't Panic, Yellow, Trouble and Everything's Not Lost, and more. The lighting for the show was superb, unlike anything I'd seen before.
The lights seemed to shine towards the roof, with a different coloured light in the centre. With the excellent accoustics of the RAH, this made for a great experience. The yellow lights used during Yellow seemed particularly apt.
The energy that Martin displays makes you tired just watching him. Whether he's on the guitar, the piano, or neither, he has to be shaking and moving, and he was clearly right up for this gig.
Jon Buckland, on lead guitar, was also superb. Some of the guitar notes he hits seem unobtainable, giving a truly fresh sound, now clearly identifiable with Coldplay.
One of Coldplay's best constructed songs, Everything's Not Lost, sent shivers down the spine, and would surely have any non-converts, rushing out to buy an album. It even got everyone to their feet, singing and clapping, as did Yellow.
Martin didn't seem to have noticed that everyone had just stood up for Everyone's Not Lost, telling everyone for Yellow: "Everyone can stand up for one song!"
He was also as chatty as ever during the gig, mentioning that it was good to be back in England, after months away, and even singing a line from Oasis's Songbird, before commenting on what a good song it was.
He also paid special mention to Roger Daltry, describing him as the catalyst for them being there, and that they were very pleased to be doing this gig for the Teenage Cancer Trust. They finished the main set on The Scientist, which was met with much encore style applause.
The encore took in a couple of new songs, along with In My Place and Clocks. The show finished at around 10.30pm, with everyone on a positive buzz.
The night was a great success, and most importantly, raised a lot of money for TCT. (The Royal Albert Hall had given the rent for Coldplay's night, free of charge). Everyone was more than pleased to put the change from their pockets into the TCT buckets on the way out.
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