Coldplay started its show the way most bands would end theirs.
Fireworks exploded over MetLife Stadium Saturday night, as the British quartet kicked off its North American tour with its hit “A Head Full of Dreams.” Confetti cannons burst as the crowd waved their special wristbands that pulsated colored LED lights according to a computerized plan. And singer Chris Martin sprinted down the runway that ran from the end zone to about midfield.
Yes, that was just the opening, quickly followed by the band’s breakthrough smash “Yellow.” And it actually only got better from there.
Coldplay makes music for stadiums, songs built for thousands to sing in unison, filled with the simple concepts needed to play on a grand scale.
“It’s a very confusing time to be alive,” said Martin, draping the French flag over his piano before performing the ballad “Everglow” as a tribute to those killed and injured Thursday in the Bastille Day attack in Nice. “The only response is to send love and good thoughts.”
What Coldplay does best and what it did for two hours Saturday night is soothe that confusion for a bit. (They return Sunday for another sold-out show.) Whether it’s the soaring current single “Hymn for the Weekend” or the wrenching ballad “Fix You,” which Martin delivered at times while lying on the stage or seemingly praying on his knees, the band pounds home the message of hope and inclusiveness as often as drummer Will Champion hits the beat, even incorporating statements from President Barack Obama, Charlie Chaplin and Muhammad Ali, pledging peace and grace. Coldplay paid tribute to the late David Bowie with a massive version of “Heroes,” including stand-out guitarwork from Jonny Buckland and rumbling bass from Guy Berryman. However, it was Martin’s take on Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl,” leaning more toward the Bruce Springsteen version, that made the biggest impact.
“You gotta trust me,” Martin said, trying to get the crowd to dance low to the ground during the club-ready “Adventure of a Lifetime.” And he used that trust to lead the crowd through a sweet, emotional, stadium-sized good time.
SETLIST: A Head Full of Dreams / Yellow / Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall / The Scientist / Birds / Paradise / Always in My Head / Princess of China / Everglow / Clocks / Midnight / Charlie Brown / Hymn for the Weekend / Fix You / Heroes / Viva la Vida / Adventure of a Lifetime // ENCORE: In My Place / God Put a Smile Upon Your Face / Jersey Girl / Amazing Day / A Sky Full of Stars / Up&Up