Great San Diego Review

Originally posted on September 13, 2002 6:56 PM

A special thanks goes out to Ceji for sending me this great review of Coldplay's recent show in San Diego on September 9th:

'Sparks' Fly at Coldplay gig
by Tiffany Lee-Youngren
Staff Writer

September 11, 2002

Call it snuggle-rock.

Midway through Coldplay's tender, Brit-poppy show at SDSU's Open Air Theatre on Monday night, lead singer Chris Martin paused to invite the full - hous crowd to get a little lovey-dovey.

"This is the part where you can nuzzle up with your girlfriend and eat your popcorn," Martin said. "And if you haven't got a girlfriend, you can eat your popcorn. And if you haven't got popcorn, eat someone else's girlfriend's popcorn."

The foursome's subsequent rendition of "Green Eyes" met with a multitude of clasped hands, coy smiles and lipsticked cheecks. But it was clear from the beginning that this crowd only had eyes for Coldplay. Just before the song ended, one woman in Row M lovingly passed her eyeglasses to her boyfriend so he could get a better look -- at the stage.

But, of course, this is San Diego, and in San Diego there's always one sex-crazed fan in the audience with no patience for romance. And this front-row female wanted Martin bad enough to tell him (and everyone else).

"We'll talk later," he told her between songs. "There are others here."

Martin's quirky British wit must have come as a surprise to many in the audience -- the band's lyrics, after all, have focused mainly on lost love ("Sparks"), pain ("Shiver") and regret (most poignantly in "Trouble", one of Coldplay's most popular songs, and a highlight of Monday's performance). But hope is also a mainstay of the band's repertoire, and even the show's more bittersweet numbers vibrated with an optimism and energy many bands fail to translate into live performance.

From the first pounding piano chords of "Politik" to the band's three song encore, Coldplay steered the set list away from its threww lesser known EPs, focusing instead on material from its two full-length albums, "Parachutes" and "A Rush of Blood to the Head" (the latter was released last month).

The quartet, which also includes Jon Buckland on guitar and backing vocals, Guy Berryman on bass and Will Champion on drums, melded sweet melodies and gritty rhythm with seeming little effort (during "Spies" the second number and one of Coldplay's best, Martin gripped a water bottle with one hand and played piano with the other, finishing with a seasoned Liberace flourish.)

Even the show's hitches reeked with showmanship. In the midst of "Trouble," the song that best showcases Martin's heart-wrenching, protean voice, the frontman abruptly stopped singing before the last verse. A palpable shock wave ran through the theatre.

"I'm not going to sing this bit," Martin said with a good natured smirk. "The world needs a new stadium band...like...like the Dave Matthews Band."

And, Martin continued, no self-respecting stadium band could end a performance without a sing-along.

"The words are, 'They spun a web for me,'" Martin told the crowd (as if they didn't already know). He then recited the verse's chords to his band (As if they didn't already know). And the audience picked up where Martin left off, doing the song sing-along justice.

"We're the new Aerosmith!" Martin beamed. "That's marvelous!"

The wild applause that followed made it clear -- this crowd wasn't quick to pick up on his sarcasm.

"I was only joking about the whole stadium thing," Martin said, visibly embarrassed he had to clear things up.

A bluesy "Everything's Not Lost" turned up a few songs later, with Martin once again on piano. Watching this man play the ivories was like watching someone being electrocuted -- Martin's arms flailed and his legs shook spastically, and with his nose an inch above the keyboard, he looked about to melt into the thing. Adding to the effect were a series of grainy black and white cameras focused on Martin, one of them trained on his hands as he pla

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