They had the audience at “Yellow”

Photo By Nicholas Miller

I recently read an article that claimed Fiona Apple had finally “rid herself of the last vestiges of teen angst.” Well, it’s not true. Her recent performance at Arco Arena was marked with tantrum-like outbursts. Her fists were clenched, her arms were flailing, and her waist-length hair was a tangled mess by the end of her set, which included hits like “Criminal,” Shadowboxer” and the title track from her latest album, Extraordinary Machine.

Judging from the conversations taking place around me—I overheard comments like “It’s like we’re at a funeral,” “She must be on coke” and, of course, “She’s such an angry young lady”—the general consensus was that Apple’s performance sucked to the core. One woman told me that she didn’t expect much from an opening act, explaining that she hadn’t seen a great opening band since Maroon 5 opened for John Mayer. Enough said. As for my two cents on Apple’s performance, let’s just say that despite all her kicking and screaming, there’s no denying that the girl can sing.

Still, it was obvious whom the audience was there to see: Coldplay. When the lights went down, the crowd rose to its feet, where it remained for the duration of the set. Then, a blast of light, a stage full of smoke and Chris Martin’s radiant voice singing, “You’re in control / is there anywhere you wanna go? / You’re in control / is there anything you wanna know?” That was it; the crowd was immediately swept up in the sonic grandeur of Coldplay’s music.

Song after song, Martin and gang—guitarist John Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman and drummer Will Champion—delivered pop perfection. With the first chords of “Yellow,” the audience let out a resounding cheer. Large yellow balloons fell from above. Smitten audience members thrust them back into the air until they began to pop, one after another, showering the crowd with gold confetti.

Coldplay had the audience members right where it wanted them, lost in the larger-than-life sound and visually enthralling stage show. The band kept everyone there as the music swelled through an hour-and-a-half-long set that included tracks from all three of its albums. As the concert drew to an end, fans proved their loyalty to the band. During “Fix You,” the last song of the night, Martin said, “It’s your turn,” and the crowd had no problem singing without him: “Lights will guide you home / and ignite your bones / and I will try to fix you.”