Coldplay live in London: a fantastical, feel-good bonanza that delivers on a bold promise

Wembley Stadium, August 16: the band’s ‘Music of the Spheres World Tour’ touches down for night three of six colossal sold-out, star-studded shows

“This is gonna be the best Tuesday of our lives,” Coldplay‘s Chris Martin tells a sold-out Wembley Stadium early on in the evening. It’s a bold claim, but you sense he believes it: we’re only two songs into the band’s set – there’s been a bombastic rendition of the Max Martin co-written, synth-pop belter ‘Higher Power’ and we’re now being encourage to “get low” during ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’ – and we’ve already had confetti sprayed, fireworks let off and a flurry of rainbow coloured balls released across the audience. And all accompanied by the band’s feature LED wristbands that put on an impressive stadium light show. A subtle, stripped-back show this is not.

This is the band’s third night of six at the iconic venue, performed as part of their global world tour in support of their 2021’s ‘Music Of The Spheres’. In NME’s review of the record, we wrote that this “ninth album is quintessentially them – all stadium ambition and rousing choruses”. That goes for their stadium show too. The sugar-rush performance is a veritable feast: meticulously performed and a visual treat, it’s a welcome vehicle for new songs. More impressively, though, the colossal show also manages to be intimate and political, alongside offering tons of fun at the packed out, 90,000-capacity venue.

For example, there’s a focus on sustainability and inclusivity throughout. Pre-show, a message flashes up encouraging fans to take to the kinetic dancefloors (circles that punters can jump up and down on to create energy) and power bikes, the energy produced from these fixtures used to power part of the next night’s show. At one point they encourage revellers in those dancefloors to jump by blasting a soundtrack of House of Pain‘s ‘Jump Around’ through the speakers.

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Elsewhere, videos flash up that demonstrate the green causes that ticket sales support, explaining that the band have pledged to cut the tour’s emissions by 50 per cent compared to their last tour, and outlining their use of renewable resources. A powerful moment of inclusivity comes later, too, when the band perform a solo version of their collaboration with The Chainsmokers ‘Something Just Like This’. Pre-recorded vocals take the reins from Chris, and instead the frontman performs the song in sign language.

Throughout the show, the band hop between two main stages, strutting down a catwalk to get between them, but for the encore they march through the audience, taking to a cosy third stage, which is nestled in among the punters in the standing area. The songs performed here see the band strip things back, injecting the larger-than-life show with a moment of closeness. There’s a poignant version of ‘Parachute’ track ‘Sparks’, which is followed by special guests joining the band on stage. At the Coldplay’s two prior Wembley shows, this saw a team-up with Craig David. Tonight, though we’re joined by Aussie pop sensation Natalie Imbruglia and virtuoso performer Jacob Collier, first for a warm rendition of ‘Torn’ (aided by a full-crowd sing-along) and then a cover of ‘Summer Nights’, from the movie Grease, as a tribute to the late Olivia Newton-John. It’s a sweet – if unexpected – homage to the icon.

There are some sillier instants too: ‘Human Heart’ is performed with a puppet, and later the band don massive extra-terrestrial heads for a track. These moments, alongside the meticulously considered set-list, all aid the show’s momentum.

Often, though, it’s a reminder of the hits upon hits that the band are blessed with. You struggle to hear ‘Viva La Vida’ over the iconic vocal riff being bellowed by tens of thousands of people. The cheers that go up when fans realise ‘Yellow’ is coming (the audiences wristbands turning said colour is a dead give-away) are immense, and everyone takes Martin’s direction when he encourages the audience to turn and sing the track to each other. “You’ve come to see us, but we’ve come to see you, so really we’re one big band” the vocalist tells Wembley before ‘The Scientist’, further encouraging the audience to become the capital’s biggest choir for the night.

Credit: Stevie Rae Gibbs

It’s a joyful spectacle; a masterclass in how a massive pop show can be done. The band seem genuinely thrilled at the reaction, too. “Thank you for coming. These days, it’s so difficult to get to see a show,” Chris notes appreciatively at one point. “Thank you for coming and restoring our faith in humanity; for being peaceful and singing together.” The roars in response indicate that the feeling is mutual.

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This show is a welcome dose of serotonin; a feel-good celebration. The best Tuesday of our lives? That’s high praise indeed – but given the reception from the audience, you’d argue that for thousands of punters, it’s certainly up there.

Coldplay played:

‘Higher Power’

‘Adventure of a Lifetime’

‘Paradise’

‘Charlie Brown’

‘The Scientist’

‘Viva la Vida’

‘Hymn for the Weekend’

‘Let Somebody Go’

‘Politik’

‘In My Place’

‘Yellow’

‘Sunrise’

‘Human Heart’

‘People of the Pride’

‘Clocks’

‘Infinity Sign’

‘Something Just Like This’

‘Midnight’

‘My Universe’

‘A Sky Full of Stars’

‘Sparks’

‘Torn’

‘Summer Nights’

‘Humankind’

‘Fix You’

‘Biutyful’

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