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JULY 24, 2008
Live Review: Coldplay @ United Center 7/23/08

The Brit Boys are Big But Are They Getting Bored?

The reviews from Coldplay's current North American tour have been mixed — by both critics and fans. People who attended the band's Viva La Vida July 22 tour stop in Chicago said the sound was amazing and that it was one of the best live shows they'd ever seen. Expectations were high for last night's show, and the sold-out crowd screamed every time Chris Martin said anything into the mic — even when being goofy and cheeky while saying some canned lines he likely says at every show.

The band came out strong, walking out to the instrumental "Life in Technicolor" and then launching into a rousing version of "Violet Hill," which led to "Clocks," where the band and audience were swathed in red light and penetrated with multi-colored lasers. They played possibly every track off the new album — "Strawberry Swing" was a personal highlight — but where were the songs from the first three releases? For a show that ran nearly two hours, the band played more of a blend of greatest hits: "Yellow," "In My Place," "Fix You" (which, in true Coldplay grandiose style, was layered and beautiful), "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face" (a cool remix version that was played on a small stage that jutted out into the crowd), "The Scientist" and "Politik," which again proved the band can fill a stadium with their now larger-than-life presence. A high point came when Martin announced they were filming a video for "Lost," which the band ran through twice — apparently something they did last night as well. The second run through was definitely tighter and more on point.

However, it would've been nice to hear more of a blend from all four albums (where the hell was "Talk" and "Everything's Not Lost"?) and at some points, it felt like Coldplay was phoning in the performance. "Speed of Sound" didn't have the energy of shows past. At times, Guy Berrymore — who couldn't be bothered for some reason to return to the stage for the surprise encore of "Green Eyes," despite Martin calling out for his longtime mate and carrying on anyway — looked like he'd rather be elsewhere. Same with Jonny Buckland. If Will Champion hadn't been such a rhythmic bruiser on the drum kit, he too, may have wanted to meet up with friends at a bar instead of being on stage. To that end, the nice thing about Coldplay is that, for the most part, they seem like they enjoy each others' company and like playing with each other — not an easy task for a major act on a worldwide tour. And this isn't to say the show wasn't fun, because it was. And they sounded great. But it would've been nice to hear them sound great on a wider variety of tunes. Hopefully they'll mix it up for the rest of the tour.

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