Live review: Coldplay’s intimate BRITs party

The verdict on Coldplay's BRIT Awards benefit gig for War Child.

Coldplay perform at the BRITs
On the way to the club Coldplay perform at the BRITs before getting intimate in the club next door. Image Picture Ian Gavan/Getty Images


As Chris Martin said near the end of Coldplay’s benefit for War Child, it’s been a while since the band have actually done a proper gig.

Sure, they’ve entertained a few billion people hanging out with Beyonce and Bruno Mars at the Super Bowl. And, less than two hours before, Coldplay put on a typically Technicolor display for the BRITs of Hymn For The Weekend at the far larger main O2 Arena next door.

So their late-night treat for just 2,000 fans was a chance for Coldplay to put the stabilisers back on for a full show.

Except this wasn’t quite a proper gig after all. At midnight, just when the lucky crowd were at the peak of hysteria only the very best festival headliners can induce, a confetti canon suddenly went off and Coldplay were off with the bare minimum of a “Thangyew, goodnight.”

Sure, they returned for a one-song encore of Til Kingdom Come, but the gig only lasted 45 minutes. Which, for £75, is tight. Yes, it’s for a very worthy cause. Yes, it’s a rare chance to see Coldplay keep it intimate. But it still felt a small mis-step from a band known for offering great VFM.

It’s a shame because, until the sudden finale, it was a concentrated Best Of show that would offer a decent running order when they headline Glastonbury in June.

Having the confidence to throw Yellow and Clocks away in the first four songs, it was a display worthy of their newly-won BRITs prize for Best British Band.

There’s a reason they keep winning those awards. Rather than rely on nostalgic old hits, Hymn For The Weekend and Adventure Of A Lifetime are already guaranteed as much of a fan singalong as Fix You.

There was gig rust in evidence, with Guy Berryman’s pounding bass too high in the mix and even Martin’s usually immaculate vocals sounding a tad croaky. But that’s part of the charm of seeing Coldplay in a club.

Originally written for Johnny Cash, Martin dedicated Til Kingdom Come to the late country great and David Bowie, before stopping the song to thank a fan yelling “We love you Will!” at drummer Will Champion. “Thank you!” Martin guffawed, admitting that their drummer never gets enough fan love.

A perfect event, in other words. Or it would have been with another three songs in.

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