Coldplay - Hollywood Bowl - 5/1/12
Chilly Tuesday nights in May isn't exactly what the Hollywood Bowl is all about. But despite the less-than-ideal conditions, Coldplay warmed up the sold out crowd last night with songs off their latest album, Mylo Xyloto, and an assortment of hits.
Since the band's 2000 breakthrough with "Yellow," they've become one of the preeminent voices in modern rock, if also one of the most hated. Singer Chris Martin is almost as well known for his marriage to actress Gwyneth Paltrow and friendship with Jay-Z as for his songs.
But Martin is still concerned with writing songs that appeal to as many people as possible. If Wayne's World were made today, Wayne Campbell's quote, "Led Zeppelin didn't write tunes everybody liked. They left that to the Bee Gees," would likely substitute Coldplay for the latter. But they probably wouldn't care.
Over the course of the night, the band was fully engaged with the audience and on their game. It's bold to shoot off fireworks at the end of a show, but during the first song? With that, the band set the benchmark for their U2-esque theatrics pretty high and did not disappoint. From the elaborate light show to confetti to the glowing wristbands that were handed out upon entry, the band had the crowd's attention.
"Thanks for coming out on a Tuesday night," Martin said. "We know how hard it was to get and park here and we're gonna give it our all and hopefully you'll do the same."
Indeed, those in attendance dug the 20-song, 95-minute set. Songs like "God Put A Smile Upon Your Face," "Viva La Vida," and "The Scientist" received huge cheers, while the new songs held their own as well.
One of the telling moments of the night came during the encore when Martin, solo, popped up on an impromptu stage in the middle of the crowd. As he introduced "Us Against The World," he told the audience that though it may not appear to be the case, the band was made up of four equal partners; the singer implored folks to cheers each of them equally loudly, and they obliged.
Coldplay gets a lot of shit from many due to their soft, bland, overly commercial pop songs -- think Seth Rogen's snarky quote in The 40 Year Old Virgin -- but that hasn't stopped them from having massive success. They can release anything from EDM influenced tracks to those featuring Rihanna, but the band continues to sell out arenas and stadiums across the world. Like it or not, the British quartet judges themselves on how they're able to please their audience, rather than crusty music critics.
Critical Bias: Not the world's biggest Coldplay fan, but they know how to put on a hell of an entertaining show.
Random Notebook Dump: I don't care what band you are; charging $40 for a t-shirt isn't cool,
Set list below:
Hurts Like Heaven
In My Place
Lovers In Japan
God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
Princess of China
Up in Flames
A Hopeful Transmission
Don't Let It Break Your Heart
Viva La Vida
Us Against the World
Every Teardrop is a Waterfall
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.