The Coldplay juggernaut returned to Manchester with A Head Full of Dreams Tour on Saturday 4th June. Last time the band came to this part of Britain it was to promote the successful Mylo Xyloto album. Within seconds of the first song, fireworks blast into the Manchester sky, signalling the bands ambition to continue as the world’s leading stadium band.
The scope of the spectacle should be applauded. From the Viva La Vida tour, where they filled Manchester’s Old Trafford Cricket Ground, to the peak of Mylo Xyloto, they have morphed into global heavyweights. It was at Old Trafford they proved a Coldplay gig could be upbeat and had the ability to appeal to a wider audience. Mylo Xyloto gave them the tools to do just that.
The current tour solidifies the position made from two albums ago but it also makes certain truths startling obvious.
Just as A Head Full of Dreams in album form fails to break new ground and live up to Mylo Xyloto (and maybe even Ghost Stories) this current tour is a rehashing of what has worked before. That’s not to say it’s a failure – far from it. Any Coldplay fan, extreme or casual, will have one of the best nights of their life. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” With this in mind, the formulaic nature makes sense.
The Xylobands have returned and watching the Etihad Stadium light up and flash in time with the songs is a sight to behold. All the recent hits you’d expect are in there and early on blended with classics. Switching from “A Head Full of Dreams” to “Yellow” before touching on “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” then “The Scientist.” With such a rich back catalogue Coldplay could double their concert time and still have no fillers. As such, at just two hours, many favourites were omitted.
A “Paradise” dance mix led the band into a touching Muhammad Ali tribute before playing “Everglow.” It was a rare moment in a gig where band and audience unite as one. David Bowie was also paid respects on the night. The band covered “Heroes” after playing “Fix You,” ensuring they had everyone’s attention before giving a nod to a legend.
In another special moment they played “See You Soon” (found on 1999’s The Blue Room), explaining how they’d played it in front of three people when performing as a closing act at a Manchester festival back in 1998. Lots has changed for the band since then but the ability to tap into that earlier sound is still present.
Overall, Coldplay’s visit to Manchester was a great success and keeps them at the top when it comes to modern stadium bands. To stay there, they’ll need to add more substance to the gluttony of style currently being utilised.