By Leah Victoria
Date / Venue: Saturday December 3rd, 2016 - Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
Somebody asked me yesterday if I was photographing Coldplay, to which I replied “Sadly not, but I am going along to enjoy the “spectacular”, making inverted commas with my fingers. I mean, just how spectacular could a Coldplay concert be? Yeah everyone knows all their songs, which are fantastic songs; some of my very favourites in fact. Although I knew their latest album is quiet upbeat, I was just unable to translate it mixed with the ones I’ve been listening to in the car for the last decade on to a massive stadium stage, just the four of them in front of such an enormous crowd. So I think it’s fair to say I was expecting a pretty chilled, laid back evening with piano and some acoustic ballads and a few punchy beats from the latest album A Head Full Of Dreams.
Fast forward 6 hours and I arrive at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium and am gifted a funky yellow plastic wrist band complete with LED’s and the tour logo. I notice everyone else wearing the same but in other various bright colours. Already my interest is roused and I begin to wonder if this show might actually be louder than I first thought.
The stadium is close to full. I have no idea of exact numbers but Mt Smart holds just over 40,000 so that’s quiet a lot of Coldplay fans in Auckland!
The golden glow of the house lights fade and in a flash, front man Chris Martin makes a massive running entrance onto the stage to title track Head Full Of Dreams. An ocean of red flashes to the beat as the LED wristbands are activated throughout the entire audience and at some point during this first song there were firework like pyros, and Chris Martin taking a massive run and jump down the crazy long runway as bursts of rainbow coloured confetti explode behind him. I can’t really recall the order in which all those things happened because honestly I was a little surprised and awe struck, and feeling completely naive as to what a Coldplay concert is really like! Also because it turned out my wristband was a duff and I was probably the only person in the crowd not contributing to the cool light show!
Second up is Yellow, and the human ocean turns yellow. Husband at this point notices my dismay at lack of flashing wristband and dutifully hands his over. Happy wife, happy life right? Now I can really enjoy myself with my new flashing wristband that makes me feel like a Power Ranger!
The party hits it up a notch with Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall, the jumping sea of hands now purple reflecting the scene up on the stage, right now I’m pretty sure the rest of the night is gonna be amped!
Chris briefly touches on the recent media reports of the strict prohibitions for his concert, which included no selfie sticks. “I know we’re right bastards ain’t we? Don’t let you bring anything!” Before reassuring that those are the restrictions of the venue. “I don’t mind if you bring your camel with you, I’m just glad you are here” he added as if he were chatting to a small group of friends.
Together with Guy Berryman on bass, Jonny Buckland on lead guitar, and Will Champion on drums, the guys play a tight union that can only come from 20 years in a rehearsal room together. The sound tonight was just brilliant. A perfect balance which is often lacking at so many other concerts I attend, the music and the lyrics married perfectly and they sounded pretty much as they do in studio!
They blast out hit after hit, each one as fresh as the first time they ever performed it without showing a hint of tiredness that must come of doing the same show for the 70th time!
Paradise was particularly beautiful as our ears were treated to our first taste of piano, but ended with the dance version which saw Martin back out on the runway right amongst the crowd, flashing fists pumping and spinning around.
Viva La Vida complete with that big old church bell ringing out was a sure favourite of Auckland's, I now know what it sounds like to hear 40,000 people singing those catchy lyrics, let me tell you its really something!
Chris Martin has an insanely sizable stage presence and a knack of ensuring all eyes remain on him. With his stickered up guitar slung over his shoulder while not in use he would run around the stage and spin around and around up and down the runway, and geez, who ever said White Men Can’t Jump?!!!
Towards the end the boys took to a smaller stage at the far back end of the stadium, just to spread some love throughout the entirety of their fans.
There they gave us a cover of David Bowie's 'Heroes', and acoustic version of my fave 'Green Eyes'.
If I have to pick a highlight it would be the surprise of Neil Finn of Crowded House joining Chris on stage as he “Struggled” to sing Four Seasons In One Day. That was pretty damned awesome and I think just about everyone was totally speechless at that point.
And the confetti!! I just loved the star shaped confetti storm that came down with A Sky Full Of Stars. I have some in my pocket and I shall treasure it forever!
So if you’ve never been to a Coldplay show before, you really should change that coz it was the most emotion filled, energetic and colourful concert I have ever experienced and everyone deserves to have this much fun!