With social media dominating our lives and altering the way we experience live music, it’s hard to quench our thirst for internet interaction. Managing to portray an array of Instagram-worthy visual treats as well as showcasing a fitting tribute to the late Mohammad Ali, Coldplay’s show at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium, on June 4th 2016, was a wonderland for the social (media) butterfly.
There’s no doubting Coldplay’s legacy. However, a simple rendition of archaic classics (‘Yellow’, ‘The Scientist’) blended with their new, modern sounds (‘Up&Up’, ‘An Adventure Of A Lifetime’) wasn’t going to cut it on the first night of their residency at the home of Manchester City Football Club, Etihad Stadium. They needed a fairground of gimmicks and a pallet which would cater to all tastes. A stand-out show with no stoppers. Coldplay’s answer to these requests: a smorgasbord of psychedelic visuals, a series of extraordinary confetti showers and of course, a bit of crowd participation.
Before the boys took to the stage however, powerful support act Lianne La Havas and opener, Alessia Cara were the first to face the stadium.
Airing her UK breakthrough track ‘Here’ alongside the summer 2016 soundtracking ‘Wild Things’, Alessia Cara’s stage opening performance was phenomenal. While the crowd were divided – half immersed in the R&B, silky smooth voice of the nineteen year old, while the others were guzzling pints of Strongbow Dark Fruits – the Canadian was solely focused on delivering a performance to remember. Energetic, eccentric and ebbing energy of pure excitement – Alessia Cara delivered an indulging set for the Manchester crowd.
Following in the footsteps of the nineteen year old was one of Britain’s morish voices – none other than Lianne La Havas. Although arguably, the crowd seemed more in-tune with Alessia’s set, Lianne La Havis still managed to pull out the big guns. A stunning vocal accompanied with some wicked stage presence and chirpy anecdotes, Lianne La Havas short but extremely sweet set, which consisted of hits such as ‘Green & Gold’ and ‘Unstoppable’, was a brilliant way to warm up for headliners, Coldplay.
At a sixty-thousand capacity – Etihad is huge. Luckily, the quartet who filled the stadium with the iconic sounds of ‘Clocks’, ‘Lovers In Japan’ and ‘Viva La Vida’, are adored and cherished across the globe – making the idea of filling the venue to capacity, possible. Coldplay entered stage right, to the sounds of a Charlie Chaplin speech, before launching into ‘A Head Full Of Dreams’.
Never to be dull, Chris Martin and co. Used a range of visual aids to entice the crowd – including the previously-mentioned Muhammad Ali tribute. A video of the late, inspirational boxer was beamed onto the backing screen, while Coldplay themselves dedicated ‘Everglow’ in a fitting manner. A tribute to the iconic David Bowie was also aired, through a live performance of ‘Heroes’, as well as a snippit Oasis’ ‘Live Forever’, during a rare rendition of early single, ‘See You Soon’.
Keeping up with the times, the social media aspect of Coldplay’s show came alive, due to the extensive usage of confetti cannons – blasting illuminous stars during ‘A Sky Full Of Stars’ (a performance which featured a stage invasion) as well as a song request broadcasted via Instagram. The video depicted a fifteen year old boy, requesting that the band preformed ‘Trouble’, a rarely aired track from their X&Y days. Breaking hearts and making history, Etihad lit up – literally, through the use of the Mylo Xyloto tour bands – Chris Martin made the Manchester lad’s dream come true, as well as seeing tears rolling throughout the crowd.
Closing on ‘Up & Up’, which featured an array of psychedelic, visual treats, which nodded to Tame Impala and Jamie xx album covers, Coldplay vowed that their Etihad show was “the best” they’d ever played. We’ll let Chris Martin off with that white lie, considering their show was spectacular – from beginning to end.