CONCERT REVIEW: Coldplay dazzles thousands with amazing tour opener

It was spectacular. It was amazing. Every other concert this year at Rexall Place will be measured against Coldplay.

Edmonton got the first North American glimpse of the Mylo Xyloto world tour on Tuesday night – opening on a mammoth set cascaded in neon colors to the tune of the “Back to the Future” theme, into the first song, the new single “Hurts Like Heaven.” There was a dazzling array of lighted wristbands that were given to almost all 14,500 in attendance, creating a sea of bedazzling, flickering lights.

The band then cascaded into “In My Place,” which was accompanied by a large battery of uber-powerful confetti cannons. Vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Johnny Buckland were seemingly swallowed by the flying bits of colored paper as they walked out to the end of a long runaway jutting straight out from the main stage. Early in the main set the band also played “Yellow,” with large balloons falling from the rafters, which all seemed to magically gravitate towards Martin and the other band members on stage. The band kicked some of them playfully back into the crowd, but there were just too many, and roadies had to pop them.

The band did a stellar job of mixing new material with early songs. The band played most of their renowned hits, including “The Scientist,” “Violet Hill”, and “God Put A Smile” early on, then performed a trio of songs on what they referred to as the “X Stage,” which was at the end of the runway, including a duet with Martin and Rihanna – “Princess Of China” – featuring a video of the latter on the many screens spread throughout the arena, high and circular, with pictures so clear and precise you might’ve thought you were watching your HD screen at home. Shortly afterwards, inflatable shapes with “MX” logos appeared in a number of the exits in the top section, as the band performed “Up In Flames” and “Warning Sign” before retreating back to the main stage for another suite of songs, including “Viva La Vida,” ending the main set with “Paradise”.

Their encore opened with the band performing “Us Against the World” in the back of the arena, halfway up a corner section, which I’m sure nobody in the vicinity had any idea about before they arrived at Rexall earlier in the evening. It wasn’t a large stage, and the band seemed a little cramped, but they managed perfectly, and it was such a treat to see them amongst the crowd – then they raced back to the main stage for “Clocks”, and an extraordinary, mind-boggling rendition of “Fix You”.

The light and laser show was more than spectacular. The pinpoint lasers streaked through the darkness towards the back of the arena, reminding us all of their immense power in many of the band’s videos. Martin masterfully moved between singing, guitar and piano – plus a second piano that was somehow manoeuvred onto the “X Stage.”

The evening wasn’t flawless, with Martin having to pause to burp early in the set, then re-starting the acoustic song in Section 108, saying “we’re a bit rusty on this one.” But this was the first gig on the tour. And it just made it seem that much more real, that much more intimate. The audience even sang happy birthday to bassist Guy Berryman, before the band closed out the night with “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall.”

Time stopped for the few fleeting moments we were with Coldplay. Ninety minutes, to be precise. It’s such a shame for us to part, but we have no other choice but to share them with the rest of the continent for the rest of the year – but we still got them first.