PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There were lights, there were fireworks, there was a snowstorm of confetti.
For Coldplay, that was just the first song.
For the “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” band, every song looked like a finale on Saturday night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The fireworks would be frequent and the confetti came often, and varied. Giant colored balls would flood the field as the audience adorned in light-up wristbands played their part – blinking and flashing along to the beat or acting as a sea of lighters in orange and red.
Chris Martin and Coldplay showed themselves as arena-sized on this evening, commanding the crowd and often literally leading them by the wrists.
Pulling from all fifteen-plus years of music, they kept the place festive. The fans lining The Linc echoed Martin’s emotions throughout the night, dancing their way through recent hits like “Hymn For The Weekend” and “Adventure Of A Lifetime”, or filled with all the feels as they swayed to emotional favorites like “Fix You” and “The Scientist”. For all of the big, colorful moments though that Coldplay stood at the center of Saturday night, they seemed most impactful in the more intimate moments shared off the main stage.
After six songs on the stage that stretched across the endzone, the band quietly walked down the catwalk to mid-field to perform a few without the storm of effects. The crowd crushed around the circular stage at the center of the stadium as they preformed a more subdued “Always In My Head” from 2014’s Ghost Stories, followed by “Princess Of China” featuring video of collaborator Rihanna on the big screen. Then as the band retreated, Chris Martin was left alone with the audience seated at the piano.
After some banter about being “the best audience” and all the Olympics you could have been watching rather than Coldplay – “the girls want to be watching Michael Phelps” he joked – Martin spoke to the soul of the fans gathered at Lincoln Financial Field.
“I always wondered why people tailgate in Philadelphia” Martin said. “After seeing the price of beer and water, I see why everybody eats outside.”
“We should be selling water.”
Martin then spoke about sending love to the places that need it, before video of Muhammad Ali and a performance of “Everglow” echoed the sentiment.
Later the band would go to a third stage, even more modest and deeper in the stadium, to play to the crowd in the opposite endzone. After amusing introductions for the band members and few more stripped down performances, Martin would do an acoustic rendition of Springsteen’s “Streets Of Philadelphia” for the South Philly crowd.
The band would once again return to the main stage for a few more big moments, including a performance of “A Sky Full Of Stars” with an actual sky full of stars…and lasers, and their latest “Up & Up” closing out the evening.
Through it all, Chris Martin just seems like one of the best dudes, and perhaps that’s partly why Coldplay has been placed in the punchline category for so long. We love to throw dirt on the cleanest among us, and an emoting rock band that decides somewhere along the line that it wants to dance and be positive seems like an easy target. Up close though, it’s sincere. The totality of Coldplay on display is impressive, and the confetti is just sprinkles on their sweet persona.
Coldplay returns to Philadelphia for the Made In America Festival this Labor Day Weekend.