Review: Coldplay Brings Big Songs, Bigger Emotions to the Cotton Bowl

The magnitude of it all was striking.

To look at a band that built their careers, at least initially, on sensitive, relatively small tunes, take these deeply felt, finely crafted works shot through with acute interiority, and turn them into maximalist, synapsing, capable to make an estimated crowd of 60,000 move almost like one would marvel at the eternal malleability of pop music.

Coldplay kicked off the first US leg of its Music of the Spheres World Tour on Friday at the Cotton Bowl, returning to North Texas for the first time in six years and ramping up its AT&T Stadium appearance for pure visceral impact.

On tour behind his ninth studio album, Music of the spheresColdplay spent around two hours working on all phases of their sound.

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Coldplay has made a vast space feel almost cozy.

Andrew Sherman

Chris Martin, Will Champion, Guy Berryman and Jonny Buckland made such a vast space feel almost comfortable, treating the big show with downright disarming casualness. Martin, in the opening moments of “Sky Full of Stars,” even stopped everything to implore the audience to put down their phones and just revel in the moment: “You’re already a Top 10 audience,” Martin said drenched in sweat. . “Life is short – who knows how many times we will come to Dallas? Let’s be in it together.

You name a special effect, and Friday’s show had it: fireworks, lasers, smoke, confetti, a disco ball, flames, costumes, puppets – Coldplay threw it all in and the kitchen sink over the crowd, his wrists adorned with the band’s now signature LED bracelets, which pulsated, strobe and glowed in the dark, visually unifying the mass of humanity crammed into Fair Park.

Click to enlarge Coldplay's Johnny Buckland at the Cotton Bowl - ANDREW SHERMAN

Coldplay’s Johnny Buckland at the Cotton Bowl

Andrew Sherman

(Speaking of which, the parking situation – absolutely surprising no one driving – was absolutely miserable, so much so that the band delayed the scheduled 8:30 p.m. start time by about 45 minutes, to allow for the infernal rumble around hall time to relax: “Sorry about all the traffic and shit you had to go through to get here,” Martin said, shortly after taking the stage.)

Kicking off with “Higher Power,” the thundering, blazing sight of fireworks exploding during the chorus, Coldplay spun from kick to kick – set in an end zone, with a scene spanning the width of the stadium, anchored by huge circular video screens on either side and with a runway extending deep into the general admission floor crowd.

The crisp-sounding group pounded audiences enough with a string of hits – “Adventure of a Lifetime” in “Paradise” in “Charlie Brown” in “The Scientist” – and maintained a pace that has rarely slowed down. to the final notes of “Humankind” and “Buityful”.

Click to enlarge Chris Martin asked fans to put down their phones and share the moment.  -ANDREW SHERMAN

Chris Martin asked fans to put down their phones and share the moment.

Andrew Sherman

Along with sensory overload, the band focused on sustainability. On the one hand, it makes sense – a world-class pop group with the reach and visibility of Coldplay, drawing nearly 100,000 people to a single space, should probably feel responsible for its environmental footprint – but on the other apart, the message began to feel like being cornered at a party by a member of Greenpeace.

The aforementioned LED bracelets? Recycled plastic! The mugs at the concession stand? Recycled aluminum! Part of the ticket proceeds? Earmarked for a variety of green initiatives around the world!

Such an aggressive approach is admirable. Coldplay have survived many pop music convulsions over the past two decades to remain one of the biggest bands in the world. Its tender and melodic songs, like “In My Place” or “Sparks”, can fit perfectly into big screen epics like “Fix You”, “Clocks” or “A Sky Full of Stars”, all underlined by an arsenal amazing songs. visuals.

Click to enlarge Coldplay drew around 60,000 fans to Fair Park.  -ANDREW SHERMAN

Coldplay drew around 60,000 fans to Fair Park.

Andrew Sherman

The quartet has taken much of what made them famous and compelling all those years ago – a deep vulnerability rooted in indelible melodies – and expanded on it, steadily and purposefully expanding their appeal on a scale such as she is overwhelming.

Standing inside the Cotton Bowl on Friday night was meant to be a further reminder of Coldplay’s primacy among pop artists. Few bands can make two hours feel like 10 minutes; fewer still are those who can make a stadium – sprawling, gigantic, vast as the night sky above it – feel like an intimate gathering of friends.

Click to enlarge HER looked like a stadium headliner waiting.  -ANDREW SHERMAN

HER looked like a stadium headliner waiting.

Andrew Sherman

What I saw of HER’s opening set only made me feel bad once again for missing his headlining set in Grand Prairie last year. Her ease in such a large space was infectious, as she moved from drums to electric guitar, working the long track in her yellow tops. Whether it was with someone else’s song (“Are You Gonna Go My Way,” covering his heartbreaking performance at the Grammys) or his own (“We Made It”), HER looked like a headliner. pending stadium.

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