On the 19th June 2016 Coldplay played the fourth and final sold out show at the prestigious Wembley Stadium. They played a incredible set full of songs spanning their impressive seven album catalogue. This tour was in support of their incredible latest album “A Head Full Of Dreams”. They were supported by the entertaining rockers Reef and the effortlessly cool and chilled out Lianne La Havas.
I grew up, often subconsciously, with the music of Coldplay. I remember countless car trips where we listened to Coldplay and most of the time not even knowing it was Coldplay- they’ve been around since forever (or so it seems). There was a time when Coldplay weren’t “cool” because your dad liked them but now, with the rise in popularity of older bands, like The Stone Roses, it’s almost acceptable to admit you like to revel in a bit of Coldplay now and then- even if it is a guilty pleasure. The latest album, “A Head Full Of Dreams”, is an excitingly refreshing record (perhaps more upbeat to the others) and this tour seemed the perfect time to exercise just how good they actually are.
Chris Martin had had a “shit day” apparently, but this set wouldn’t have suggested so. In the light drizzle, a video on screen played of all the places they’ve already played on this tour already, from South America to Europe, before an introduction and welcome to the Wembley Stadium show by two members of the audience holding the Union Flag. They burst into”A Head Full Of Dreams”, unfazed by the rain, and set the tone for an incredible evening of the greatest live music in the industry.
The band played all the crowd pleasing hits, such as “Yellow”, (the incredibly emotional) “Fix You” and “The Scientist”. Chris Martin (lead singer) ran up and down the runway style stage encasing himself deep within the heart of the crowd. Confetti blew everywhere frequently and if there’s one way to keep a crowd entertained it’s confetti. Usually I’d be skeptical of such tactics as a “distraction” technique or something, but I genuinely believe that Coldplay were trying to create the funnest experience conceivably possible, which would appeal to the masses.
The band played three songs on the B-stage at the centre of the stadium. Each member was introduced in turn and Martin joked that they had all met on dating app Tinder not so long ago. They played “Always In My Head”, “Princess of China” (with videos of Rhianna, who collaborates on the song, on the huge screens on the main, A-stage) and “Everglow”. The B-stage in the centre is a great idea as it allows everyone around to admire the stage in an intimate way and experience the music closer to them. On the other hand, if you’re standing, like we were, you may not be able to see it so well, but the huge LED screens help to see what’s going on. The band moved back to the A-stage to a video of the late Muhammad Ali talking, a moving experience for all.
The band played a flawless cover of the late David Bowie’s “Heroes”. It’s very hard to pull of a David Bowie song well and I think that they managed to do it, with help from the singing audience. This was something special to witness. It almost didn’t matter that you were at a Coldplay concert, for a few minutes you were allowed to fully appreciate Bowie with 80,000 other people, which is incredible.
The band obviously played many songs from “A Head Full of Dreams”, such as “Hymn For The Weekend” and “Adventure of a Lifetime”. During “Adventure of a Lifetime” Martin encouraged the audience to “get down” to the ground and, on the count of three, everyone jumped back up. This must have been something spectacular to have witnessed from above. The whole set was lined with quirky, fun things like this.
“Viva La Vida” was the highlight of the set for me. There’s nothing quite like hearing thousands of people sing those opening notes. It’s infectious- people were even singing it on the tube! The whole stadium came alive and lit up during the song.
The band went to the C-stage to play two more songs. Chris Martin apologised to those at the front for not being able to see it, but I’m sure the change in stage was appreciated by those up in “the Gods” or in the stalls looking down on them. They played “Trouble”, as requested by audience member, Edward Young, as his “father always used to play it on piano” and it was father’s day. They asked if there was a “doctor in the house” as one of the guitars began to play up before continuing regardless. They then went on to play “See You Soon”, from the 1999 EP “The Blue Room” (don’t get me started on bands playing artsy B-sides…), which I’m sure older fans and those there from the beginning would have appreciated. They ended the song with a snippet of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long”, in homage of Martin’s heavy metal loving brother.
It would seem silly not to mention the incredibly huge production that went into making the show what it was. From the huge LED screen graphics to the “flower of life” geometric pattern on the stage floor to the copious amounts of confetti (rainbow coloured, stars (during “A Sky Full of Stars”) and bird shaped) to the huge pyrotechnic displays, featuring fireworks, it was not one to miss. The most amazing thing, for me, was the wonderful Xyloband wristbands. Everyone in the stadium was given one upon entry and they light up different colours sympathetically throughout the show and with the music. They’re so cool and to see a whole stadium lit up with them in many different colours is brilliant. It almost discourages the whole lighters and phone torch thing people seem to do. It makes for a beautiful show.
They closed the show with the latest single “Up&Up”. The graphics on screen were quirky and cool (and matched the music video) and saw vintage pictures and absurd situations intertwined with reality. I’ve seen artwork like this before (like the work of artist Eugenia Loli). The song was a lovely way to end the set as it was a reminder of looking into the future and to “never give up” and keep looking “up and up”.
You see, I’ve been lucky enough to go to many a concert over the last few years, but never (ever) have I been to a concert with credits. Arguably pretentious (or, on the other hand, a celebration of all the hard work that went into making the set what it is), the credits rolled to a reprise of “O”. The crowd left the stage to a roar of applause. The performance was simply staggering and Martin hailed it the crowd the “best audience ever”, obviously, whilst thanking everyone. You can definitely see that the band really care about their fans and genuinely can’t believe how lucky they are.
If you could bottle the atmosphere at a Coldplay concert you and could apply just a little bit of it to everyday life everything would be a bit better. You can’t beat Coldplay. I must admit, I was originally skeptical of a huge venue like Wembley Stadium (especially considering the price of tickets), but Coldplay made it worth every penny.It was simply breathtaking.