Review: Coldplay at Mt Smart

IN HIS PLACE: Coldplay frontman Chris Martin gets the crowd going at Mt Smart Stadium last night.
IN HIS PLACE: Coldplay frontman Chris Martin gets the crowd going at Mt Smart Stadium last night.

Coldplay might have made their way into Mt Smart Stadium to the sound of Jay Z's 99 Problems, but it seems the only issue the band has these days is what to let off first: the fireworks or the confetti canons?

New Zealand has seen stadium shows before, but nothing like this. Led by Chris Martin, Coldplay turned the home of the Warriors into a magical playground for more than 47,000 fans last night.

And they did it quickly. As Mylo Xyloto/Hurts Like Heaven - the first song of an almost two-hour show - rang out so did the sound of the fireworks and confetti guns. Oh, and let's not forget the laser light show and the crowd's glowing wristbands which pulsed in time with the music. The stadium looked like some insane version of a twinkling Christmas tree and an exploding snow globe. It was breath-taking.

Over the years, Coldplay have become the band it's cool to hate: hyped, overblown and out of touch. With shows this extravagant, there's often a fear the content won't match up to the packaging. And when the packaging is this over the top, it's almost impossible to. But Martin and the band ticked all the boxes. 

The crowd were stoked with the big tracks: In My Place, Warning Sign, Princess of China. Yellow was dedicated to "anyone from Pike River or Christchurch", the crowd became a choir bathed in that trademark golden light as Martin sang about the stars only just visible above the stadium lights.

Men cuddled for The Scientist, and girlfriends were thrown aloft boyfriends shoulders for Fix You. There was a stomping rock version of Violet Hill, and despite having to restart God Put A Smile Upon Your Face because they "f***ed up the best part of it", it was a speakers-up-to-11 version.

Of course there was the usual big show charm, Martin stroking the crowd's ego with a well-placed compliment: "it appears we had to wait 18 months of touring to experience the best crowd". There was also a nod to the realities of being a fan these days: "thank you for making it through the crowds, the ticket prices, we know some of you have even come from the South Island".

Despite all the chatter, it was Viva la Vida that tore the place apart. Not a single person was still sitting by the end of it. And it was a well-placed acoustic encore at the back of the stadium that gave the crowd a moment to gather themselves, before the last push of Every Teardrop is a Waterfall and a final blast of fireworks.

Coldplay have been a band for nearly 17 years. It's easy to forget that fact. That is, until you see them do what they do best.  

This wasn't a whiny, pasty band, all baby-faced and poised to provide a soundtrack to heartbreak. Today, or at least last night, Coldplay were bright, colourful and fun to watch. It's hard to believe, but the hype might be justified.

Auckland Now