BRIT AWARDS WAR CHILD BENEFIT, INDIGO O2, LONDON
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.
Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn