Gig Review: Coldplay @ Emirates Stadium

It is fitting that Coldplay are playing the Emirates stadium over three nights during Jubilee weekend; they’re the only band who can match the pomp and pageantry taking place throughout our city.

They’re undeniably the biggest band in the world so while the world watches London, they are flying the flag of great British music, and boy are they making themselves noticed over the gun salutes.

Stadium gigs are always detached, impersonal shows; four tiny blokes on a stage with a screen – thank you and goodnight. Not Coldplay; their Mylo Xyloto world tour is too small for stadia, so the setup has three performance areas – main stage, middle arena jam section and an acoustic stage for the back – a trick only employed by the U2s and Rolling Stones of the rock world. Catwalks for the obligatory rock star strutting jut out at three angles, and four giant screen discs in front of a massive neon banner covering the Clock End, mean London’s second stadium feels cocooned by the rock spectacle.

This is part of Coldplay’s charm. Love them or hate them (tending towards the latter to be honest – DN) the four piece have maintained their connection to their fans, even on such vast stages, having a humble appreciation of the fame bestowed upon them. Radio-controlled wristbands given to each attendee adds to this inclusiveness, everyone is part of the show as the bands’ LED light flashes in time with the songs, filling the Emirates with pop dragonflies.

As they open with the thunderous Hurts Like Heaven the Emirates shimmers with twinkling lights, while laser lights dance on the North Bank End, and we are treated to a barrage of pyrotechnics. No one is paying attention to the music. Rather, everyone’s jaws drop at the spectacle. Then there’s more. In My Place explodes with confetti cannons which cover the stadium, and outside, with neon tissue butterflies and birds swirling around with the eddies.

Then there’s more. Major Minus combines the flashing wrist bands with more confetti. Then. There’s. More. Thirty neon balloons appear throughout the crowd like a slow motion Van Persie header for Major Minus. It’s been a visual onslaught and a perfect gambit. Even stadium show cynics (well, us) are in awe of what’s before us and swells the adrenaline ready for the heart of a Coldplay show – soaring melodic rock.

The highlight is Yellow, a song never written for stadiums, yet its intimacy is transformed into an epic rock anthem, and Islington hasn’t heard a sing-a-long like it. The audience are vocal throughout, which is visibly moving to Chris Martin – or maybe it’s the rock star training. Either way, the devotion they inspire is amazing; for much of the audience this is their only gig of the year and they have been given the perfect opportunity to air their lungs.

Although a slick polished affair, there’s a glitch during Princess in China. The VT of Rihanna’s vocals comes in late warranting a restart. There’s also a problem with the stewards allowing too many people into the reserved area, causing some overcrowding – but that’s an Arsenal issue.

Although Coldplay’s melodic pop rock can be rather plodding, show-wise it was faultless. A stadium gig needs to be an event and the Mylo Xyloto tour, with its vast dystopian neon set, has set a new benchmark. Mass appeal pop music lives in the stadium, and Coldplay are the best at it. The Jubilee celebrations and even the running and jumping have some hard work to do to surpass this magnificent show.

Coldplay played
Mylo Xyloto
Hurts Like Heaven
In My Place
Major Minus
Lovers In Japan
The Scientist
Yellow
Violet Hill
God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
Princess of China
Up in Flames
Warning Sign
Don’t Let It Break Your Heart
Viva La Vida
Charlie Brown
Paradise
Us Against The World
Speed Of Sound
Clocks
Fix You
Every Teardrop is a Waterfall

Tickets for Coldplay at the Emirates Stadium 2 June and 4 June are still available through Seetickets and other outlets.

Updated 4 June to include Fix You in the set list.

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  • MusicLover

    Sounds horrible. 

  • Anonymous

    Another Music critic begrudgingly praising Coldplay.

  • N Rumsey

    I was there and it was unbelievable. Even the critic finds it hard to be negative. This has to be the bench mark for live bands it had everything

    • Islefamily

      Sounds awesome looking forward to going tomorrow night – what time did their set finish?

  • Varunsgone

    Can hear it from the flat! Awesome

  • Ginupbob

    How could you forget to put ‘Fix You’ in the songs played? The stadium was roaring to that!

  • Yerxdfgc

    Coldplay lost it about 4 years ago…. totally boring/obvious now

  • linnyhaddy

    going to etihad nxt week and me and my hubby who are avid fans cant wait, and any negative comments ignored!!!

  • Hobo

    Went to GnR on Friday night & though i am a massive fan i was a little disappointed. Went to Coldplay on saturday & though im not a lover of the last two albums was totally blown away … they were awesome & the atmosphere was electric despite the bad weather ! 

  • Jess

    I went on Saturday night, and the only words to to describe it were; Truly amazing!
    The atmosphere in that stadium was electric and gave me goosebumps. 
    With 60,000 other fans singing their hearts out to fantastic tunes such as ‘Fix you’, ‘viva la vida’ with  that famous ‘Oh’s’ and not forgetting the hits ‘Paradise’ and ‘Every teardrop is a waterfall’, it was an amazing night, which I, nor my family will ever forget. The light up wrist bands were the icing on the cake, lighting up to the rhythm of the song, and the stadium looked phenomenal. 
    I’m only 15, and it was my first ever concert, and certainly not the last Coldplay concert i will attend! Since listening to them from being around 3 years old, until now, has been a great honor and I am so glad my parents introduced their music into my life. 

  • Pato_athie

    Third review ive read, third critic having to admit defeat. Love them or hate them Coldplay live is/has/was/will be one of the best nights you will ever have. Ooooohhhh ohhhhhh ohhhhhhhh

  • John_williams147

    Seeing them in Manchester next week, can anyone tell me what time they finished so I can plan a journey home?

    • Jess

      In lone they finished around 10.30, but that’s because there is a curfew for performances since the Emirates Stadium in in suburban areas. 

    • Jess

      In London they finished around 10.30, but that’s because there is a curfew for performances since the Emirates Stadium in in suburban areas. 

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  • Maro Maro

    this is my first concert and my favorite band! I have really
    crappy tickets at http://www.ticketsreview.com/concerts/coldplay_tickets/