Coldplay deliver a rush of... excitement

Review by Jack Foley

Coldplay, Brighton Centre, - Monday, October 14, 2002

COLDPLAY can seem to do no wrong at the moment. With a critically-acclaimed second album still riding high in the album charts, a hugely successful US tour behind them, and their most recent single, In My Place, only being beaten to the number one spot by (of all people) Darius, they are on a high - with no signs of coming down.

At the Brighton Centre on Monday night (October 14, 2002), the sheer enthusiasm with which they go about their business was plain for all to see - they are a band who are clearly having fun and their energy is infectious.

Yet in spite of their overwhelming success of late, Coldplay have yet to get big-headed. They remain unpretentious and time spent in their company is, at times, magical.

Even when putting down a fan or two, for booing at a tribute to Fatboy Slim, lead singer, Chris Martin, apologised almost immediately; while the cuss itself was hardly vitriolic - rather, if people were to boo, could they do it in their own time (albeit with a fuck thrown in!).

Martin is even prone to a spot of self-ridicule, referring to a wrist support he was wearing as evidence of 'lonely guy syndrome' and thanking the crowd, on behalf of guitarist, Jon Buckland, for giving him the money to afford some sophisticated satellite TV - so that he could access the good porn (as opposed to the soft core, Channel 5 erotica he confessed to having to make do with!).

Martin is a terrific frontman - enthusiastic, charming, grateful and supremely energetic. When not bounding around the stage, guitar in hand, as if on some demented pogo-stick, he is laughing along with his fellow band members - including bassist, Guy Berryman and drummer, Will Champion - or joking with the crowd.

He is also refreshingly generous with his praise for other bands - mentioning Norman Cook on this occasion, and performing Ash and even Nelly cover versions during other points of the tour.

Part of this ability to talk up the achievements of others stems from the confidence he has both in himself and those around him, and the pointless put-downs of fellow musicians spouted by the likes of Oasis and Eminem, which smack of insecurity, are not for him. He would rather appreciate and praise the work of others, even if the irony of losing out on a number one spot to the aforementioned Darius didn't escape him - squeezing in an ad-libbed jibe at his expense before a chorus of Everything's Not Lost.

Musically, Coldplay were as immaculate as we have come to expect; delivering a set which took the best of the debut album, Parachutes, and merged it with tracks from A Rush Of Blood To The Head.

Politik got the evening off to a rousing start, with its Pounding-inspired drum beats and distinctive guitar rifts, which perfectly captured what Martin meant when he described the second album as far more upbeat than the first. His vocals, too, were sublime, soaring above the instruments and never becoming drowned out.

Shiver followed, along with the likes of Spies, Trouble and Don't Panic, from the first album. Given that Parachutes has been criticised by some for its tendency towards the depressing, Coldplay manage to play up every tune; changing the starts and flooding their tracks with a gusto usually reserved only for the bigger numbers.

In fact, it is easy to run out of superlatives for a gig as good as this and I defy anyone to emerge disappointed by what they have seen and heard - these guys are in danger of setting themselves some impossibly high standards.

Moving on, the gig took in signature tune, Yellow, which was sung, in part, by the crowd, as well as current single, The Scientist, which inevitably brought out the lighters.

Buckland's guitar loops, in particular, were a highlight, effortlessly recapturing the sounds of both albums, while Martin's ability on the piano is also, at times, mesmerising - particularly when close-up images of the artists at work are projected to the crowd via the series of large screens scattered around and above the stage.

It may have been a large venue, but the evening still felt intimate - as though Coldplay were among friends, which they were.

The encore began with Clocks, to which Martin reverted to piano and sat below an awe-inspiring green laser, which reached out into the fans like a smoke-filled fan; another beautiful moment. And then came In My Place, a scintillating track which virtually raised the roof. Martin even had time to poke fun at Buckland for screwing up one of the notes, but the fans' were having such fun, they barely noticed. This was the type of evening that epitomised musical greatness.

Coldplay roll into London for two dates at Wembley on October 20 and 21. If you're lucky enough to have a ticket, enjoy. If not, then talk to the touts, for the price will be sky high. It is a measure of the quality you can expect to hear, however, that whatever you pay to see them will probably be worth it.