Live Music + Gig Reviews

Coldplay @ Wembley Arena, London

20 October 2002



The vast auditorium that is Wembley Arena is an easy place to be dwarfed in, but it took just four men to fill it comfortably with their fans and much-heralded music.

Coldplay are already heading for iconic status, and they gave us just a taste of how to put on an impressive live show. The stunningly talented Chris Martin was at the centre of things, but his bandmates worked their hearts out too. But as they exploded on stage with Politik, all eyes inevitably fell on Chris.

As leads go, Chris Martin is something to behold in the flesh. For start, he is not just a vocalist – although his skills in that department are not inconsiderable. He sings with both power and fragility, not to mention passion and verve.

But the only time he looked slightly awkward was when he had nothing but vocals to attack. At all other times, he was tinkling a keyboard with natural ease and was equally happy with a guitar slung around his neck.

As this lengthy and varied set showed, the band’s music sways from sweetly undulating to powerfully explosive – bringing moments when Martin gets swept away by the music, bobbing his head and jumping madly.

The band delved into both their albums, with many tracks already classics. Most songs were warmly received, but anthems Yellow, Trouble and Shiver went down like old favourites. The sea of people sang the lyrics, allowing Martin a much-deserved break.

He jokingly dismissed gentle anthem Trouble as a “Celine Dion-esque ballad” and went on to sing Green Eyes for Kylie Minogue – a labelmate of the band. Latest hit In My Place seemed a fitting and upbeat end to the gig, but they went and did another song which spoiled the vibe.

With a plethora of screens, clever camera techniques and fancy lighting, this was a show rather than just a gig. But Wembley isn’t the cosiest venue in the world, and some finer moments were spoilt by some selfish shuffling in the aisles, as it people were watching the telly at home.

Musically, this performance was pretty faultless and was received warmly. Perhaps it is a shame that when bands evolve as quickly as Coldplay, they grow out of more intimate venues – not that they seemed out of place performing in the huge space that is Wembley Arena.

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