It was all love and inclusion when Coldplay took to Etihad Stadium

Coldplay's current tour saw them fill stadiums three nights on the trot with a show boasting all of the bells and whistles: think fireworks, confetti cannons (which belched different types of confetti, including glitter and tissue-paper leaves, which looked a treat drifting over the stadium), wristbands for every member of the audience, which lit up the stadium like Christmas, giant balloons for good times, pre-recorded fan footage from the world over, a runway stretching across half the pitch into the crowd, state-of-the-art crowd-cam, and three giant screens running vibrant images. There were credits at the end FFS, it was that big a production.
Coldplay were almost aggressive in their insistence that fans have all the feels. It obviously worked though because something was clearly in our eye when Emmanuel Kelly (national treasure and renowned humanitarian Moira Kelly’s son) joined Martin onstage to sing Imagine as a surprise for his Mum.
Martin’s energy was boundless. He spent the show running like he stole something the length of the runway and he’s obviously smashing plyometric training because he jumped like a springbok. Moreover, Martin’s enthusiasm was infectious: for instance, when he asked fans to clap and jump, the response was, “Fuck it, why not.”
There were a few misfires, the mix during the first song was shitful, but was fixed quick splits. Also, Coldplay’s crack at Heroes was a bit tepid. Let’s be clear, big love to anyone paying Bowie his dues and crowds are going to sing their guts out irrespective, but it lacked grunt. On the upside, Yellow, Clocks, Up&Up and Paradise were anthemic corkers and by the time they got around to Viva La Vida there was that euphoria going on that comes with the communion of a huge crowd.
Overtly and covertly, the themes for the evening were inclusivity and love. For a start, fans were all given Love badges, Martin’s piano resembled an offering to Krishna, excerpts of Charlie Chaplin’s great speech in The Dictator reminded everyone that, “You, the people, have the power,” and fans were encouraged to send love to stricken zones, including Haiti and Yemen.    
The fact that the message was unsubtle didn’t matter. However, at times it was laid on too thick: by all means push the button but don’t hammer the motherfucker. At the end of the day though, does it really matter? For a brief period, over 70,000 peeps were united by the injunction to be kind and loving, and we’re totally onboard with that.
Words by Meg Crawford
Image by Jaz Meadows
Highlight: Martin’s warning to the lad proposing to his girlfriend on stage, “Keep it snappy my brother, people have to catch trains and shit.”
Lowlight: Someone needs to tell Martin not to rock backwards and forwards on his piano stool because it looks like he’s frottering the ivories. PS. you’re not really meant to put anyone’s national flag on the ground.
Crowd favourite: Paradise.