Highlighted By Acoustic Version of Billie Jean, Coldplay Concert Does Not Disappoint

I got to the office at 6:40 this morning and have been perusing various sports websites in search of a story to inspire me to write about for my morning post.  Thus far, nothing has really tickled my fancy.  There have not been any more major developments in the Ben Roethlisberger sexual assault case, the White Sox dropped the second game of their series with the Rays 3-2 as Bobby Jenks continues to struggle, and typing up NFL training camp schedules just doesn’t strike me as all that much fun.

So I’m going off topic, but I promise there will be a rich reward at the end.

Coldplay concert review - Dallas, July 2009Last night, as part of a wonderful suite of gifts my girlfriend got me for my recent birthday, I attended my first ever Coldplay concert at the SuperPages.com Center here in Dallas. The headline of this post says that it did not disappoint, but that is a pretty major understatement. One of the first things I said as we walked out of the concert last night was that it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen…and I have not wavered from that feeling with the perspective of a (brief) night’s sleep.

Now, I do not consider myself a huge Coldplay fan (at least, I didn’t before last night).  I used to be a huge fan when their music first arrived in the U.S. (more on that in a bit), and while I still like them and have thrown a decent amount of their songs on various mixed CDs throughout the past decade, I’ve never purchased a CD or bought more than one or two songs off iTunes.  I can tell you that this will change after last night, and in fact already has.  Songs like “Violet Hill,” which I had heard before but not been head over heels about, I now have a new appreciation and affinity for after hearing live.

Isn’t that how it always goes after you see a really good live show? It’s been my experience anyway.

I liked Coldplay a lot when they first came out in the States a decade ago (my sophomore year of college) because my roommate and I stumbled upon them well before we ever heard anyone else talking about them.  We were up really late one night and had MTV on and this really unique video came on the screen with some goofy looking guy just walking along the beach singing in a high pitched voice. It mesmerized us.  The song was incredible and the video was so simple and elegant. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s the video for Yellow.

At the time, my roommate and I were running our own production company (with KVB!) and doing a lot of music video work, so we were into studying and analyzing different directing and visual storytelling styles. For the next month or so we told everyone we could about the song and video, and no one had heard of Coldplay.  I have no way of proving this, but I honestly think that through nothing more than blind serendipity we just happened to be watching MTV the first time they ever showed Coldplay.

We certainly never imagined then that this unknown British band would become one of the biggest and baddest bands in all the world, or that the mysterious guy with the soaring voice in the video would one day marry Gwyneth Paltrow (a HUGE star back then, remember) and become a budding icon of music. But that’s what has happened.

I listened to a lot of Coldplay’s early work from the Parachutes album: Yellow, Trouble, Sparks, etc. With each successive album however, as they became more popular and ubiquitous on the radio, listening to Coldplay lost some of its luster for me.  They went from being that cool, unknown band I enjoyed introducing people to, to just another band that everyone listened to regularly.  The music was still good, but I didn’t feel that same connection to their music that I once did.

After last night’s show, I feel connected again.

It is fitting, I suppose, that we got there a few minutes late and found our seats as Chris Martin and the boys began their second song of the evening.  You’ll never guess it what it was…Yellow.  And I haven’t enjoyed listening to that song more since that first night my roommate and I watched the video in our little house apartment in Bloomington.

Oh, and for the record, for anyone who has not seen Coldplay live and wonders whether Chris Martin’s voice translates well live…I offer up a resounding YES. I saw Jason Mraz live a few months back, and he has one of the most incredible live voices I have ever heard or can imagine.  Coldplay concert review - Dallas, July 2009Mraz actually spent a half hour of the show not even singing words, just using his voice like an instrument.  Martin did not do anything like this, but I got the sense that he could have.  His ability to hold notes and be pitch-perfect every second of the performance is truly remarkable. His voice, which sounds so unbelievable in studio-produced material, translates seamlessly to a live setting.

In addition to Martin’s singing — easily my favorite overall aspect of the show — the production value of the show was fantastic. One example: they had five reflective, rotating spheres that would descend from the ceiling and have either silhouettes of the band members or funky designs on them. The instant editing work on the video screens was also impressive. Each song seemed to feature unique angles, color filters, and pacing of the cuts from shot to shot.  In a big venue such as the one the show was held in, having compelling visuals on the big screens really adds to the overall experience. At one point, they also sent confetti-filled balloons bouncing throughout the masses. That was pretty sweet too.

But the most memorable part of the night for me came about 2/3′s of the way through the show and actually happened when the band left the main stage. (Remember at the top when I told you there would be a rich reward for reading?  It’s coming.)

After listening to four or five songs from our seats, we made a quick jaunt to the restroom and to grab a beverage. When we returned, we noticed that a group of people had collected and were being told they could not proceed to their seats. Once we reached the small mass of people, we learned that a small stage had been set up in front of the fully-packed lawn section and that the band would be coming from the stage through the middle aisle to the back of the arena to play a few songs.

We quickly realized that not being able to go back to our seats would be just fine, as we basically ended up with a front row seat for this little interlude. 

Coldplay concert review - Dallas, July 2009It took about three more songs, but finally the band came jogging back with throngs of screaming fans reaching out and trying to touch Chris Martin (that blur in the picture to the left is him) and the other band members. Cell phone cameras and the flashes from actual cameras were going off at what seemed like the speed of light. Unfortunately, I was unable to get any really great pictures from my iPhone (just the ones you see posted), but the iPhone still came up huge during the ensuing acoustic performance by the band.

As the band hopped up on the tiny stage and grabbed the guitars that had been prepared for them, I heard a guy standing next to us say that he thought they were going to start off with “Billie Jean.” As many of you know, I am a huge Michael Jackson fan, Billie Jean is my favorite song, and I never had the chance to see MJ perform it live. Sure, Coldplay cannot compare to Michael Jackson performing a Michael Jackson song, but I was still instantly excited at the prospect of hearing “Billie Jean” be performed live.

So I was disappointed when I did not recognize the first couple of songs Coldplay played from the lawn stage.

But that disappointment would soon be washed away in the flood of excitement that occurred when I heard the first few unmistakable notes of “Billie Jean.” I quickly pulled out the iPhone and opened up the Voice Memo app that comes standard with the recently updated operating system.  I’d never used it before, but I figured this would be as good a time as any to try it out. I had no clue if it would work, what the sound quality would be, or even if I could listen to it outside of the program once it was recorded.
Coldplay concert review - Dallas, July 2009 - Billie Jean

Well, it worked, the sound quality is phenomenal (all things considered), and I most certainly can listen to it outside of the program…and so can you. A snippet of the 2:30 file of Coldplay performing “Billie Jean” is linked below. I don’t know all the rules about recording something live at a show and then posting it on a website, so I won’t link the whole file, but you’ll get the idea from the snippet.  Email me if you want the full file.  I’ll gladly pass it along. (And considering that the band gave out free CDs after the show, I can’t imagine they’d be too upset with a sterling review of their show and a short clip of them doing a cover).

:30 mp3 of Coldplay performing “Billie Jean” live in Dallas, TX on 7/21/09

And I’ll also quickly pass along a link to where you can get tickets to the rest of Coldplay’s shows on their current tour. There are only a few dates left, but I’d highly suggest going if any of the dates are near you.

Coldplay Concert Tickets from StubHub
Coldplay concert review - Dallas, July 2009
So, in quick conclusion, the Coldplay concert was fantastic and a huge highlight in what has been quite an incredible birthday between a great day with the family, a fun week with KVB in town, and a terrific girlfriend who has gone out of her way to truly make it special with gifts like KVB’s plane ticket and the concert tickets (we’re seeing The Fray on Friday).

Anyone else reading been to a Coldplay show?  I got two of my best friends tickets for the Indy Coldplay show as an anniversary/birthday present back in June.  She is a huge fan, but he was kind of a peripheral fan like me — but a huge music and concert connoiseur — and they both agreed that their show was amazing. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to go as a true die-hard. If you’ve been to a Coldplay show, what were your thoughts? Please regale us in the comment section.

Enjoy your day everyone.  I’ll be back later with some links.



About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.

Comments

  1. jec2823 says:

    Absolutely the best concert ever. If you have a chance to see them…GO!!!

    • @jec2823,
      Traveled from Denver just to see Coldplay at superpages.com venue. Couldn’t get a tkt in Denver, and I so wanted to see them. Huge fan! A Dallas friend joined me… didn’t know Coldplay before but she’s now a fan. The talent and energy on the stage were incredible. The attention to the audience (yellow balls, butterfly confetti, leaving stage to sing inside audience, inviting audience to join in singing, free CD at end) proved electric. What a pianist Chris is (guitar, harmonica, piano); his entire band was terrific! I go to many concerts — this is one I’ll never ever forget. Best ever! Pls send me the full MJ clip. Thank you! CO from Denver

  2. Jason Garcia says:

    Jason Mraz and Coldplay?? What’s next…John Mayer or the Jonas Brothers?

    • @Jason Garcia,

      ouch.

      For the record, the Jonas Brothers were here and I was not even tempted to go…and a friend of mine went to the John Mayer show in Dallas and said it was one of the worst concert experiences ever.

      I realize that Jason Mraz and Coldplay don’t have a whole lot of “streed cred” these days, and I agree that both have gotten more “poppy” than when I originally started listening to them (well before they caught on in the mainstream). But they are really talented and put on a hell of a live show. Nothing will beat going to a smoky bar and watching a great indie musician or band roll through a set of relatively unknown songs with incredible musicianship and a unique style, but even the annoying world of pop music offers a few live gems every now and again.

      And yes, I’ve already gotten multiple “You know how I know you’re gay” jokes in my inbox. It’s all good. I can take it. It was a damn good show, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

      • Jason Garcia says:

        @JRod, Good to see you’re secure in your manhood. I just like to bust balls, but I’m pretty much in the same boat since I catch a lot of abuse for watching The Hills lol.

  3. I was there as well. And just like you, I thought I was the coolest cat ever introducing as many people as I could to Parachutes and Yellow and Don’t Panic and, well you get the point and then losing touch as their popularity grew. I had never seen them live either until last night and it was up there with last year’s Radiohead and Roger Waters shows…phenomenal. Great sample of Billie Jean by the way. I was about 20ft to the left of the band in the lawn just jammin out. Great article.

    • @Fred,

      I think that’s a pretty common refrain of “old school” Coldplay fans…but it’s natural with almost any band. There are plenty of bands that I’ve jumped onto the bandwagon for after they got popular, but nothing compares to the connection you get with a band when they are “yours” and you are the one introducing them to other people. Regardless, they put on one hell of a show and I look forward to getting in touch with some of their newer material that I’ve been dismissing.

      • @JRod,

        I’ve introduced them to many many of my friends and family. Girlfriends, guyfriends, brother, my mom is HUGE into them after seeing them live! Even my older father admits that he loves the song ‘Clocks’, among others. That’s what I don’t like about their detractors. They hate them and don’t give them a chance. Just listen to them or go to a show and you’ll be hooked too!

  4. brad anderson says:

    amazing concert! the lights and theatrics = amazing! the music = amazing! no other words to describe it except…. AMAZING!!

  5. You are not alone in loving them from the beginning. I loved every second of Parachutes and I still continue to feel the same about them. They’ve grown a lot in their music. And I guess that’s the curse of great indie bands, they get massively popular. Give the other albums a listen and you’ll rediscover how great and under appreciated they really are!

    I saw them in Cincy back in June. First row right next to the stage and the steps they come down to go the lawn stage. One of the most amazing experiences of my life and best concert experience EVER!

    I linked the pictures me and my wife took with my iPhone and her camera:
    http://s58.photobucket.com/albums/g261/kmm1482/Coldplay%20Riverbend%202009%202/
    http://s58.photobucket.com/albums/g261/kmm1482/Coldplay%20Riverbend%202009/

  6. hitchinaride says:

    I have not been a Coldplay fan. However, one of my best friends is a huge fan. For my birthday she treated me to what she believes to be the greatness that is Coldplay in action. My thoughts on the show? Amazing production. As you mentioned, the live video was well put together. We were way up in the lawn and the video screens were perfect and helped you get pumped up and even more into the music. Chris Martin puts on a great show jumping around the stage and such. Going out into the audience twice, first in the seats and then in the lawn, truly impressed me and it is no mistake in saying that Coldplay LOVES their fans and tries to make the evening an enjoyable and memoriable one. I can’t say that I’m going to rush out and buy some Coldplay cds, but I can say that they will be on my list of music to get.

    All in all, it was a great show for the Coldplay fanatic as well as for those of us who are new to the Coldplay phenom. Rock on, Coldplay, rock on!!!

    • @hitchinaride,

      Martin’s energy was definitely one of the first things I noticed. He and the band really seemed to be having a genuinely good time up there, and as a fan who spent good money on a ticket, that it what you want to see.

  7. Right on man. I was there as well last and it was the second time I’ve seen them(first was at American Airlines last November). This show blew away that show. I think it was mainly due to the fact that Superpages.com as a venue blows away American Airlines Center.

    The show had great musicianship, great production and best of all outstanding crowd participation/energy. The crowd energy is a lot of of what makes a show just good or outstanding and this had that in spades.

    For the most part I’m not big on mainstream music but every once in a while there is a truly great mainstream band, and at this time Coldplay is one of the best mainstream music has to offer. I also love how it is very obvious how much the band loves performing and how much they appreciate their fans. On top of everything else Chris Martins boundless energy is always appreciated and makes it even that much more enjoyable.

    Outstanding review, you hit it right on the head.

    • @Joe,

      I would think an outdoor venue like SuperPages would be much better for Coldplay than an indoor one like AA. I’ve seen some concerts at indoor arenas and unless you are down on the floor it just is not the same experience. SuperPages is a lot like Deer Creek (aka Verizon) in Indianapolis. The band definitely has to have energy and the kind of intense sound that Coldplay has to make such a venue work…but they definitely did.

  8. I agree! Amazing!!

  9. Amy Ahluwalia says:

    Hi JRod,

    I enjoyed reading your thorough description of the concert from the point of view of a “new” (old?) Coldplay fan! I went with my husband (who was not so much into Coldplay) but he loved it. I am a die-hard fan – and I can say that this concert was amazing. It had a very different “feel” from the previous one at American Airlines last fall (loved that one too). Last night’s seemed more intimate and close – in the way that Chris Martin poured so much emotion into his performance and was able to connect very well with us as the audience. Also – I thought his dance moves were very playful (funny too) in an uber-cool way. Just so much to say – obviously Coldplay’s talent and precision as a musical group is undeniable, but what made it truly unforgettable was the amount of heart and sincere energy poured into the whole performance.

  10. Miranda T says:

    I was there lastnight as well. It was mine and my cousins 4th time seeing them live. The first time we saw them was about 3 or 4 years ago. We were just like you mentioned above,loved the song Yellow and of course clocks, but didnt know too much about the band. My cousin and I heard they were coming to Dallas and just casually mentioned going to the show. We thought what the heck why not. So we got lawn seats (this was when they came to what was Smnirnoff) and went into the concert with little or no expectations. Honestly we joked on the way there about what people did at Coldplay shows, thinking they prolly just sat down the whole time listening to chill music. Well let me just say, that show was LIFE CHANGING. We truly had our socks blown off us that night, the energy that Chris brings to the show paired with the true talent the guys have was just remarkable.

    So needless to say we left that night new-found Coldplay fans. We spent the next year and a half finding out as much about the band as possible, and anticipating the long waited release of the X & Y album. And so it came, and so did the news of an upcoming tour. We bought tickets to see them play in Oklahoma City. We got pretty good seats this time, not floor but deffinatley not nose-bleeds either. And let me just say that show was even better than the one before it, from the vocals, to the instrumentals to the whole theatrical-type production. It left us speechless (half in part to the screaming, and half inpart of plain aww).

    Our Coldplay fan loyalty grew by leaps and bounds. We actually are known by all of our friends and family as the biggest Coldplay fans ever! My 80 year old gma can call out a Coldplay song when heard :-)

    Then it came time fore the dreaded waiting period, waiting for the writing, recording and mixing to be done so we could finally hear the newest album… Viva La Vida, and of course of a tour!!!

    Magically somehow I won SECOND row tickets on the radio to see the show at the AAC in Dallas. It was honestly like a dream come true, like I woke up everymorning feeling like it was Christmas morning bc I had those tickets! We went to that show and once again had the socks blown off our feet. There just are no words to describe the chemistry those 4 guys have, but then to throw them into a room with 20,000 + screaming fans, its just magic. But the craziest part is how Chris can make u truly feel like hes in a room with just you and a hand full of friends. Its almost like those thousands of other people disappear.

    That show was everything I had dreamed of and more (not to mention 2 of my friends who rode with me and my cousin to the show,had nose bleed tickets, but were some of the lucky chosen few to recieve floor seat tickets last minute by someone with the bands crew… AND they happened to be the two seats RIGHT NEXT TO ME!)

    And then here we are, to lastnights show. To be honest I was bummed to be back in the lawn again. But from the second the band busted out Clocks to the moment Chris said goodnight, I had no hard feelings about where I was sitting.

    I can honestly, whole-heartedly say they put on one of, if not the greatest show ever! And I can say that from lawn seats experience all the way up to second row.

    A live Coldplay show is a must.

    • Hannah D says:

      @Miranda T,

      Heck yesssss I am the cousin and COLDPLAY ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And she failed to mention that at the show at the AAC I asked Guy (the bass player) for his bass picks and handed them to me!!! best moment of my life!

    • @Miranda T,

      Thanks for sharing your story!

  11. LOVED the show. I compare Coldplay’s music to Sting’s. I’ve heard him (Sting)called “the thinking man’s pop/rock musician” and I think this applies to Coldplay/Chris Martin as well. Their songs are musically interesting to listen to. Not another song with a familiar 4-chord progression. Martin is obviously more talented than your average frontman in terms of his musical abilities and training. Loved them back at Parachutes and loved them still.

  12. I AM a die hard coldplay fan and this was as AMAZING as it gets
    No on can compare to this at all

  13. Yellow was actually the 4th song they played last night after Violet Hill, Clocks, and In My Place (5th if you include the instrument only opener of Life in Technicolor, the opening song of their Viva la Vida CD). This was my 3rd time to see them in a year. First time was last summer in chicago, then again in boston in october, and last night home in dallas. Each time I left the concert left me wanting to see them again. After seeing them 3 times in one year, every show they have played has been amazing and a lot of energy shown from the band. Can’t wait to see them again!

  14. lisa d. says:

    Last night was my fifth Coldplay show, and I am continually amazed by the band’s progress as musicians. The average Coldplay fan does not realize that they don’t record anything that the four of them can’t play live together. Did you notice any additional musicians on the stage? Anything you hear on their album seamlessly translates on stage between the four of them. No overlapping vocals from Martin, no choir harmonizing in the background; just four, raw, unbelievably talented men. Martin was wonderfully charasmatic, as always. Coldplay always pay homage to other musicians at their live shows. At AAC in the Fall it was Guns-n-Roses, and on the X and Y tour it was Johnny Cash, but with the recent passing of Michael Jackson, none were as moving as Billie Jean.

  15. lisa d. says:

    @lisa d.,

    “charismatic”

    Shame, shame! I have a Bachelor’s in English.

  16. Whitaker says:

    Hey there. I bought my girlfriend and I front row tickets to the Coldplay concert in Charlotte in Aug. for her birthday. When I bought them I was “kinda” excited I knew I like songs that you mentioned, Yellow, trouble, ect. So when I surprised her with the gift I decided to throw in the new album. I never gave her the album because its sitting in my car right now. I’m pumped for the show and so is she. I use to be a live music hound so have seen over 300 “jamband” (I hate that term) shows so getting excited again has been great. Thanks for the post and I’ll try and remember to let you know how it goes.

  17. Susan Scribner says:

    Glad to hear you’re a huge Coldplay fan again! My first Coldplay concert was Nov 08 in Kansas City, MO.(although I’ve been a fan for a few years) Loved it so much had to travel from Wichita, KS to Texas for this one. Loved the butterflies! Also really enjoy the stages in the audience. We were pleasantly surprised to be seated near the first auxillary stage, and got some nice close-up shots of the band, and video of Billie Jean. I read that their stadium shows in Europe are more spectacular than the US stadium shows, so my next adventure will be to a European location. But that will have to wait until their next tour. :) I also think it’s great that all ages enjoy this band, not just the younger set. We’re in our 50s and loved every minute!

  18. Couldn’t agree more. Saw them in San Diego on 7/16 and it changed my whole life. If you want to read a funny review of the show, check out this article:

    http://thetalkingmirror.com/2009/07/concert-review-hey-coldplay-fix-this/

  19. I’ve seen them 4 times, and this show in Dallas was the best I’ve seen. When they started to play Billie Jean, I thought that I’d died and gone to heaven. It was in-freaking-credible.

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