By: Nathan Helfferich – Staff Writer
When Coldplay announced their seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams, back in November via a press release by Atlantic Records, it was described as “bursting with energy, color and big, life-affirming moments.” After listening to the album countless times and seeing Coldplay in concert, I simply could not agree more.
There was much speculation that AHFOD would be Coldplay’s final album following comments from frontman Chris Martin in which he explained, “I have to think of it as the final thing we’re doing, otherwise we wouldn’t put everything into it” (BBC Radio 1). While that speculation has yet to find concrete answers, one thing is for certain: Coldplay is pouring their heart and soul into this album and tour.
Fueled by the infinite amount of energy from Chris Martin, Coldplay delivers a live concert experience unlike any other. Aside from the songs where he is restricted to a piano, Martin doesn’t seem to stop moving. His unpredictable dancing includes an endless armada of spin moves and jumps that are reminiscent of a child on Christmas morning. It’s clear to see that Martin never enjoys life more than when he’s performing; this contagious energy spreads throughout the arena as fans dance along and abide when he implores more cheers and chanting.
Coldplay leaves their fans on their feet the entire show by presenting each song with a new element. The concert opens with the U2-sounding, arena rocking title song “A Head Full of Dreams” that brings the crowd quickly up to speed through a confetti shot that follows Chris Martin as he sprints down the center stage extension. Invigorating moments include the performance of “Paradise,” specifically when the band transforms the arena into a nightclub scene by closing out the song with electrifying beats courtesy of a Tiesto remix. Pyrotechnics have the crowd wide-eyed during “Hymn for the Weekend,” one of the band’s new hit songs that features Beyoncé.
Countless elements breathe life into the concert experience, the most prominent being glowing wristbands called Xylobands. These wristbands, first introduced on Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto Tour (2011-2012), are distributed to all fans upon entry into the concert. The Xylobands sync together to fill large arenas and stadiums with brilliant lights. They give a sense of unity to the crowd as they sing along with every note. Each time the bands illuminate, a feeling of awe sets in and elicits new emotions from every song.
While Martin’s energy and over-the-top concert elements provide a spark to the show, it’s the slower moments where Coldplay’s identity and message truly shine. A message of unity, togetherness, and love is expressed through masterful lyrics and commentary from the band in between songs. One moment in particular that highlights this message is during “Everglow,” a beautiful song from the new album that Martin performs solo with his piano on the center stage extension that reaches into the crowd. Before the song, Martin requires that the crowd come together to stand in unity for the victims of recent acts of violence in places such as Nice, Orlando, and Munich. The song closes with a video of Muhammad Ali talking about living a life that is dedicated to helping others.
Another poignant moment in the show occurs during “Fix You” in which Martin begins the song lying on his back, but ends up sprinting up and down the stage extension during the crescendo of the song. The message that “Fix You” sends out is one that all can relate too, packed with emotions capable of moving one to tears.
One of the coolest parts of the show is an acoustic set that the band plays on a separate stage located in the middle of a seating section of fans. This set features older songs that the band doesn’t normally play and even includes a fan choice song selected from Instagram video submissions. It’s at this point in the show where Martin introduces his band mates, a moment that shows just how much the band loves being together. It makes it seem impossible that anyone ever questioned whether or not this would be Coldplay’s last time playing together.
Between the energizing highs and emotional reflective points throughout the show, Coldplay has done something truly remarkable with the A Head Full of Dreams tour. Coldplay beautifully uses their music to permeate the hearts of all listeners with uplifting vibes and energizing lyrics. While the band will not reach every part of the world, the message itself is universal: “Believe in Love.”