I finally got the long-overdue opportunity to see one of my all-time favorite bands Coldplay in concert on August 21. It was the second night of two concerts they played to a crowd of 80,000 at the legendary Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California, and they didn’t disappoint. Chris Martin and his band mates Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman and Will Champion put on a tremendously colorful and entertaining show, complete with laser lights, fireworks, confetti and huge floating balls. It was amazing!
There were two opening acts – singers Bishop Briggs and Alessia Cara – who were both awesome, and got the crowd energized before Coldplay took the stage. Bishop Briggs, who was born in the UK, raised in Japan and Hong Kong, and now lives in Los Angeles, sings a rather intense style of bluesy alternative pop-rock with an almost gospel quality. She performed her songs “Wild Horses,” “Pray” and “The Way I Do,” and finished up with an impassioned performance of her excellent torch song “The River,” which is currently #5 on the Billboard Alternative Chart.
Here’s a video of “The River”:
Next on stage was the 20-year old Canadian singer Alessia Cara, who immediately won me over with her warm, genuine personality, not to mention incredible voice. The only song of hers I was very familiar with was her big 2015 hit “Here,” but I found myself liking all the songs she sang, including “I’m Yours,” “Wild Things,” and her latest single “Scars to Your Beautiful” – of which she gave a tremendously moving performance. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a clear photo of her performance, so this one will have to do.
Here’s a video of Alessia singing “Scars to Your Beautiful”:
Despite the two ladies’ awesome performances, I and all the Coldplay fans were thrilled to see our boys finally take the stage at 9:05. They opened with “A Head Full of Dreams,” and the show took off with a bang, with fireworks and a dazzling light display.
Next up was an uplifting performance of the perennial crowd favorite “Yellow.”
Coldplay kept the energy flowing as they performed many of their hits, including “The Scientist,” “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,” “Viva La Vida,” “Fix You,” “Magic,” “Midnight,” “Adventure of a Lifetime,” and my personal favorite “Clocks,” which I was able to film. The video and audio aren’t too bad, if I must say so myself.
Chris Martin is amiable and charismatic, with the energy of a 20-year old, running up and down the ramp and dancing about the stage. Halfway through the set, they paid tribute to David Bowie with a decent cover of “Heroes.” We were all given plastic wristbands when we entered the stadium, and at various times throughout the concert they would all light up through remote controlled computers, creating an amazing light display throughout the stadium that was truly magical.
Late into the concert, the band moved to a smaller stage at the north end of the stadium and performed a few songs, including another of my favorites “In My Place” from A Rush of Blood to the Head. We were then treated to a surprise visit by late night talk show host and singer James Corden, who joined Coldplay for a great tribute performance of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” It also happened to be Corden’s birthday, so a cake was presented, to tremendous applause from the audience. What an awesome treat that was!
The band returned to the main stage for the rest of the show, and sang “A Sky Full of Stars,” “Charlie Brown,” “Everglow,” and closed with “Up And Up.” They played for two full hours! Other than for challenges of getting out of the complex because of so many all leaving at the same time, it was a terrific concert experience, and one that I’ll cherish the rest of my days. I only wish I’d had a seat closer to the stage.