(pictured above: Coldplay’s Chris Martin)
For most bands, getting bodies through the door for a show can be a problem. Coldplay was no exception last Wednesday night, but not for lack of fans—for lack of traffic cops. Some concertgoers were stuck in traffic for over two hours as they approached Columbus’s Germain Amphitheater, due to a combination of construction and understaffing that led to insufferable bottlenecking. Still, the venue was packed when openers Rilo Kiley hit the stage. The band turned in a well-received but short set, and as night fell, the crowd settled in, anxiously awaiting the main event.
Coldplay arrived to a thunderous cacophony of cheers, launching the set with “Politik,” followed by “Yellow.” There was an exceptional cohesiveness to the music—the clean, crisp packaging of each song, delivered on Chris Martin’s soaring, at times mournful falsetto. Jon Buckland’s sure-handed slide guitar provided the distinctive atmospheric backbone while the wide-screens and light show enhanced the experience without overshadowing the music’s simplicity.
Mid-set, Martin and his bandmates broke down for several acoustic numbers, cantering passionately through Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and their tribute to the Man in Black, X&Y’s “’Til Kingdom Come.”
After an energetic performance, the band returned for a “Swallowed in the Sea” encore, the show’s virtuosic highlight—a lush, gorgeous slow build of a song. Last was “Fix You,” a benediction from the church of Coldplay, a service that had seen Chris Martin everywhere from the upper decks of the pavilion amongst his apostles to contorted backward over his piano bench. The breathtaking finale climbed and climbed until Martin stumbled over a lyric in the song’s last line. But Martin chuckled over his blunder, which came at the show’s apex. By that point, it didn’t matter much—the scores were tallied, the votes were in, and Coldplay had won just about every heart in the place. And it seemed like no one minded the traffic much on the way out.