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Concert Reviews:
Coldplay turns on the spectacle at the Palace

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012

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AUBURN HILLS -- When a band lets the confetti fly during the second song of its concert, you know it has a great deal of confidence in the rest of the show.

And if the group in question is Coldplay, why shouldn't it?

The British quartet, touring in support of its platinum 2011 release "Mylo Xyloto," welcomed August with a another of its whiz-bang spectacles Wednesday night at the Palace. A couple of confetti storms were only part of a colorful and energetic hour and 40 minutes that also included lasers, projections onto five circular video screens -- four of which hovered above the crowd of 17,000 -- giant balloons that fans batted around during "Lovers in Japan" and a special stage situated in the rear corner of the Palace's lower deck, where Coldplay played a pair of songs ("Us Against the World" and "Speed of Sound") and also sang a belated "Happy Birthday" to drummer Will Champion, who turned 34 on Tuesday, July 31.

The night's most inventive effect, meanwhile, was light-up wristbands given to each attendee that were triggered by Coldplay's crew to turn the arena into a twinkling, truly 360-degree effect during five of the show's 21 songs (although it should be noted that some of the wristbands stayed on throughout the show, while others -- like, ahem, this reviewer's -- did not work at all).

Coldplay's musical integrity did not suffer for all that pizzazz, either. The group's melodic but muscular brand of anthem rock plays well in large spaces, and that was certainly the case at the Palace despite a blaring mix that periodically subsumed hyperkinetic frontman Chris Martin's vocals and some of the instrumental nuances. The group, not surprisingly, dipped generously into "Mylo Xyloto," opening with the title track and "Hurts Like Heaven" and delivering eight of the set's other 13 songs, with Rihanna performing her part on "Princes of China" via video and the crowd singing the end of "Paradise" with Martin conducting.

Coldplay also mined its abundance of hits on Wednesday, rolling through quieter favorites such as "In My Place," "Yellow," "The Scientist" and "Fix You" along with propulsive fare like Viva La Vida," "Violet Hill," "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face" and "Clocks." And "Warning Sign," from 2002's "A Rush of Blood to the Head," was a welcome deep dip into the group's catalog.

Martin thanked the crowd for coming out on a Wednesday night to see his band and promised "the best (expletive) concert you've ever been to in your life." That's a tall order, but most of the wristband-wearing legion at the Palace will probably consider Coldplay's show a contender for that distinction.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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