Virginia Beach Review

Originally posted on September 30, 2005 1:17 AM

Coldplay, arguably the biggest band in rock right now, took to the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater on Thursday night, hyping an enthusiastic crowd with their subtle, romantic songs.

"We've been together nine years and we finally made it to Virginia Beach," lead singer Chris Martin said, adding that the Beach was home to a great musical scene. "I know some legends were brought up around here Missy, the Neptunes ...."

Theirs was the next-to-last concert of the season at the theater, and the shift in seasons was apparent as the warm air was permeated by cool breezes, and some people in attendance all of them, it seemed, strikingly good-looking and stylish dusted off their denim jackets, hoodies and athletic zip-ups.

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, the band took the stage and opened with "Square 1. [sic]" Despite the fact that Coldplay's music is generally more apropos for nights at home alone or snuggling under covers, the mood for the show was upbeat and lively. The jumbo screens that have cast large images of every other performer there this summer were shut off; thus, people stood, and stood, for the duration of the show. As they stood, they clapped, sang along and danced.

Oddly enough, the music, cold and theatric in a home stereo, seemed to call for dancing; perhaps it was the loud volume. Chris Martin danced a lot, too, jumping on speakers and twirling around blithely like Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music." He was apparently very much healed from the infection that caused the band to cancel two dates earlier in the "Twisted Logic" tour.

A minimalistic, sparse visual presentation ruled the show, which only enhanced the sense of perfected brokenness or poetic longing that characterizes Coldplay's music. The entire band wore all black and white trainers, and save the enormous panoramic screen behind them that flickered images of space and colorful gases, there was nothing on stage but instruments.

Which is not to say that there wasn't a sense of fun; when they performed "Yellow," yellow balloons filled with confetti dropped from the ceiling. Audience members were supposed to burst them, but most of the balloons ended up going either into bushes to the far right of the stage or into the hands of people who perhaps wanted to save them as souvenirs.

"You're supposed to break them," Martin said in his charming English accent, "and see all this glitter. Instead we've got a wind chill factor of 12."

Just as Coldplay was finishing their tribute to Johnny Cash that included "Til Kingdom Come" and "Ring of Fire," Martin heard the sound of jets, which local folks presumably have grown accustomed to.

"What's that sound?" he asked.

"JETS!" everyone screamed in unison.

"That's very strange," he remarked. "That's what we've been reduced to playing in airport terminals."

But for now, he said, they were in Virginia Beach, and the band, which also includes drummer Will Champion, guitarist Jon Buckland and bassist Guy Berryman, dove into "Green Eyes" and "Don't Panic." They did the requisite, pretend-to-be-leaving farewell after "Talk" and then came back for an encore of three songs, including "In My Place" and "Fix You."

Because Coldplay's show ran the gamut of emotions from fun to somber this chilly night, it was a splendid metaphor for the coming of the unavoidable autumn. Concertgoers were slightly cold and happy, they heard songs melancholy and upbeat. As the band's music reflects, things change in life, and every part of life ends, so another may begin anew.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot

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