With all the acts rushing across from the nearby BRIT Awards ceremony to play the intimate charity show in aid of War Child – and also marking the launch of newly rechristened O2 Shepherds Bush Empire – the gig kicked off well after 11pm (GMT), with The Killers taking to the stage first.
Howeverm while both groups played curtailed sets in order to beat the curfew, they compensated by recruiting their specials guests for a joint encore together at the end of the show.
“I think everyone agrees that the band to see at the moment is Take That,” he declared. “We’ve just got back from Japan, lost all the BRITs, it’s been a shit day frankly, but it’s going to get better, please welcome Mr Gary Barlow!”
Although the U2 man was a bit shaky on the lyrics to The Killers song, the three frontmen led the crowd through a rousing sing-a-long as they repeated the tracks “I’ve got soul/ but I’m not a soldier” refrain.
“This is going to be the best encore you’ll ever see!” declared Martin as the three acts wrapped up the night.
Earlier Coldplay had performed their own set, kicking off with instrumental ‘Life In Technicolor’ and ‘Violet Hill’, changing the lyrics of the latter to reference Shepherd’s Bush and The Killers, to the crowd’s delight.
‘In My Place’ then triggered a loud sing-a-long as Martin encouraged the crowd to scream along with him, while later on Martin asked for the lights to be turned on so he could address the throng.
“Should we play this one or is it a bit commercial?” joked the singer before 2000 single ‘Yellow’.
With the track receiving another loud sing-a-long, Martin stopped them just before the end to tell them that ‘The X Factor’ judge Louis Walsh was in the audience.
“You’re our favourite judge so I’m sure we’ll all do a good version of ‘Yellow’,” he confidently declared.
The band then wrapped up their set up with ‘Fix You’ and ‘Viva La Vida’ in advance of their collaborative climax.
‘Life In Technicolor’
‘In My Place’
‘Viva La Vida’
‘Back For Good’ (with Gary Barlow)
‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ (with The Killers and Bono)
Before them Brandon Flowers and co had kicked the night off performing songs from across their career including the likes of ‘Spaceman’, ‘For Reasons Unknown’ and ‘Somebody Told Me’.
The Las Vegas band also paid tribute to their co-headliners Coldplay and the evening’s charity.
“Thank you for having us, we’re so honoured to be part of this, War Child has done so many wonderful things,” Flowers told the crowd. “It’s great to be partnered with Coldplay. I remember when I first saw the video for ‘Yellow’ they were a real inspiration it made me think we had a real chance, so we’re honoured to be here with them.”
The Killers played:
‘Somebody Told Me’
‘This Is Your Life’
‘For Reasons Unknown’
‘Read My Mind’
‘When You Were Young’
While the stage was completely refitted by a team of busy roadies for Coldplay, comedian Al Murray: Pub Landlord also entertained the crowd with a surprise stand-up routine that included a sing-a-long to Queen‘s songs.
Speaking after the show the three frontmen praised the night and War Child – who release new charity album ‘Heroes’ this week.
“Tonight was such an honour, it was one of the most exciting gigs we’ve ever played,” declared Flowers, while Martin added: “We couldn’t have imagined that we’d make this work. The fact that the money raised from tickets have enabled War Child to extend the reach of their work is astonishing.”
“War Child‘s work is vital and being able to have a moment with Brandon and Chris tonight is a salute to an awesome night for them,” concluded Bono. “U2 love Elbow‘s new version of ‘Running To Stand Still’ for War Child [on the ‘Heroes’ album]. They deserve all their success.”