Coldplay – Mt Smart Stadium November 10, 2012

It’s been quite a week and a half for live music here in Auckland…Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Ben Harper and Radiohead…and now the biggest show of the bunch, Coldplay at Mt Smart Stadium. With the technological showcase that Radiohead displayed at The Vector this past Tuesday, I was interested to see how Coldplay’s arena show stacked up against Radiohead’s. Well, for one thing, they started with a bang.

Usually the fireworks are saved for the encore, but Chris Martin and company had them shooting skyward right from the start. And that wasn’t all, there were lasers, there was confetti, there were balloons and there were wristbands that flashed in the dark. Every member of the audience was given a wristband as the entered the stadium and encouraged to wear it as it was “part of the show”. Sure enough after a few minutes of hearing Jay-Z’s 99 Problems, the lights abruptly went out and the wrist bands all began flashing with the band’s very first notes. It looked incredible.

During In My Places cannons were firing off confetti throughout the venue. During Lovers In Japan the balloons came out. There was certainly plenty to see, even if the band itself looked tiny at the far end of the stadium.

Sound-wise, things weren’t so impressive. Where I was sitting, about halfway back along the side, the vocals were mostly unintelligible and the music was muddy. It’s a shame as much care and effort wasn’t put into the music as the special effects.

I must say, no one seemed to mind. There was plenty of singing along and clapping and cheering. The songs from Coldplay’s latest, Mylo Xyloto, sound like they were written for stadiums with loads of “whoas” and “Ooooos” throughout the songs. And they performed just about the entire album.

Of course there were the old favourites as well…Yellow got an early airing as did The Scientist and Vive La Vida had everyone up and singing.

Chris Martin seemed determined to be everywhere at once, running cheerily from one end of the stage to the other, up the middle ramp and eventually to the rear of the stadium. In addition to the main stage, the band set up on a smaller stage further into the crowd for several songs beginning with Princess Of China, which also featured a video appearance by Rihanna.

Then, for the encore, Martin, and eventually the rest of the band appeared on another smaller stage at the rear of the stadium playing an acoustic version of Us Against The World, which was, for me, one of the musical high points.

Although this is a show that has been playing around the world for some time, with the identical set list performed each time, Martin did try to inject some spontaneity into the proceedings. He dedicated Yellow to Christchurch and thanked the many fans who had come from all over the country, particularly the South Island.

At one point they stopped God Put A Smile Upon Your Face and re-started it, apologizing that they had messed it up. I have my doubts. It seemed to sound the same both times, and they have apparently pulled this stunt at previous shows.

After performing Fix You as the fourth song of the encores, Martin asked if we wanted one more song…as if there was any stopping him. There were still more fireworks, more lasers and more lights to flicker before we were send off into the night.

The many fans in attendance looked like they loved the show. For me, I found the music rather uninspiring…which is the opposite of the effect they were aiming for. Plus, they just seem a bit too eager to please and the special effects showed that they were willing to go to any length to do just that.

There seemed to be a lot of pre-recorded music mixed with the live instruments and I couldn’t help but feel I was being manipulated in some way.

I’m sure I was in the minority, and it’s always good to see so many folks enjoying music together. I’m afraid I wasn’t one of them this time.

Marty Duda

Click here to see a gallery of concert photos shot by The 13th Floor’s mighty Michael Flynn:

Coldplay Set List:

  1. Mylo Xyloto
  2. Hurts Like Heaven
  3. In My Place
  4. Major Minus
  5. Lovers In Japan
  6. The Scientist
  7. Yellow
  8. Violet Hill
  9. God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
  10. Princess Of China
  11. Up In Flames
  12. Warning Sign
  13. Don’t Let It Break Your Heart
  14. Vive La Vida
  15. Charlie Brown
  16. Paradise
  17. Us Against The World
  18. Speed Of Sound
  19. Clocks
  20. Fix You
  21. Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall

14 responses to “Coldplay – Mt Smart Stadium November 10, 2012

  1. John

    Completely agree with your review. Sound was not great. And Chris’s voice wasn’t pitch perect.

  2. mv

    I’m with you too Marty, I also had that ‘am I being played’ feeling, I thought the compliments were pretty generic, the emphasis on special effects a bit too heavy, and I thought stopping the song in the middle and doing it again was just plain bizarre. I did still enjoy the overall experience however, my highlight being the rendition of ‘Fix You’ which I found very moving. Chris Martin can certainly write some beautiful songs and I think all would agree with that.

  3. John C

    You seem to like more of a acoustic type natural setting, no boom type of show and that’s fine, but is doesn’t make in uninspired. I think a lot of time and thought went into this show whether you liked the deliver or not. This show has been getting a lot of positive reviews, but once in a while we have a reviewer like you that say too much of this too much of that. Their is one thing agree with you on is I do wish their was less playback on their live tracks. Many bands and pop acts have made their show sound as live as it can with live instrumentals and the band has more than enough money and resources to do so I just don’t know why they choose not to. Oh well they still put on a pretty good show either way.

  4. David Thompson

    Marty Doodah: what are you on????! 46,999 others had a great night! Maybe you got your ticket for free and missed your favourite telly show and hot milk …….. A simply brilliant concert!

    • Michael Miers

      Perfect David. Marty Doodah, you must be a dork. Or partially deaf. Probably both. Most exquisite sound production I have ever heard. A totally perfect show in every respect. (From a professional – and very critical – musician of many years. )

      • If you are a professional musician, then you probably know that the sound can be excellent in one part of the stadium and crap in another. Unfortunately where I was it was muddy. I heard much better sound at Radiohead on Tuesday. Regarding my dork-ness, well, I’m not sure where that comes into it.

    • lynette

      Just like your name suggests Duda. you are a dud..for a start why would you sit at a venue like Mt Smart..you should have been amongst the thousands standing in the middle having a great time.I have seen coldplay three times and this was definitely the best performance.in all honesty i think you need to get out abit and get a life..

      • Are you kidding me??? I’ve been out every night for the past two weeks including gigs by Radiohead, Mumford, Ben Harper & Black Keys along with a stop at the photo exhibit at the art gallery and the new Bond film. I sat because that’s where my reviewer’s ticket put me. Just because I didn’t enjoy it as much as you doesn’t negate your experience.

        • Michael Miers

          Fair enough Marty – you are on a review sight – but I’m with David, Lynette, and the other 46,997 that I saw blistering with enjoyment, appreciation and musical-epic satisfaction.

        • kim long

          well we enjoyed it enourmously you dont know what you are talking about and none cares what you think anyway

    • Make that 46,998. I see someone else agrees with me.

  5. Bruce johnston

    Despite your comments we thoroughly enjoyed the concert, well done Cold Play!

  6. Rat

    Agree 100% with your review. I left feeling rather underwhelmed looking what was a rather, in my mind, short gig. Rock Gig lesson 101, dont blow your load after the first three songs.

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