Aftermath: Coldplay at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Photos by Craig Hlavaty
Coldplay carries with them almost every major defect available to make it possible for someone like Aftermath to hate them. Bandleader Chris Martin prances on the stage like a marionette detached from his strings for one, his gee-whiz smile notwithstanding. Just like the its music, the band's audience is lily-white, well-scrubbed and safe as hell. Not to mention that their sweeping anthems seem to be catnip for couples, making them the international makeout 'n' cuddle band. Every Coldplay album seems to be the soundtrack for hand-holding, back-rubbing, and ice-cream-sharing on a lazy Saturday afternoon. As the kids would say on the Twitter machine: #singlepeopleFAIL
Aftermath must give full disclosure that Coldplay has been one of his supreme guilty pleasures the past ten years, even when he knows that said pleasures shouldn't really be called guilty when the band sells millions upon millions of albums. At that point, people just say that one has a sporadically awful taste in music, a badge that Aftermath will wear proudly until the day that YouTube runs out of '90s country music videos. Remember, it was just over a month ago that Michael Jackson was also a guilty pleasure, and now one can't walk into a bar or a Coldplay concert without hearing "Billie Jean," but more on that later. Coldplay puts on a ridiculously slick and pretty live show, almost to the point you feel inadequate not having someone there you know rather personally to share it with. The trick is to separate the public persona of Martin from the art that he creates with the rest of the band. It's called picking one's battles. You separate the noble fights from the frivolous ones. Nothing Aftermath could ever write here will take the Bono-inflected ham out of Martin, just as nothing Aftermath could write positive about a Yanni or Nickelback show will make those predisposed to hating both not do so. Even when they are faced with the cold facts. From the moment that that (literal) black shroud was lifted from in front of the stage, Coldplay continuously fired on all eight cylinders. Every song here is a hit, be they on audio or video form. But most importantly, these songs are all personal hits for the audience, who didn't need one of these to be deemed worthy for them. They just are.
Setlist Life In Technicolor Violet Hill Clocks In My Place Yellow Glass of Water Cemeteries of London 42 Fix You Strawberry Swing God Put a Smile Upon Your Face Talk Postcards From Far Away (piano instrumental) Trouble (Chris piano) Viva La Vida Lost! Song for Dallas Girls and Boys Green Eyes Death Will Never Conquer Billie Jean (Acoustic) Viva La Vida Politik Lovers In Japan Death And All His Friends Encore: The Scientist Life In Technicolor The Escapist
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