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Concert Reviews:
Coldplay delivers a hot show, as usual, at the Palace

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2016

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AUBURN HILLS -- Coldplay may have a hit called "Fix You," but when it comes to live performance, the group adheres to an adage of if it ain't broke, DON'T fix it.

Just tweak it.

So the British quartet's action-packed show on Wednesday night, Aug. 3, at the Palace -- part of its global A Head Full Of Dreams Tour that began in late March -- bore plenty of similarity to its predecessors. The Xyloband wristbands from the Mylo Xyloto Tour were back, making the sold-out Palace crowd part of the light show for many of he show's 23 songs. Coldplay again played on three stages -- one at the end of a long ramp extending to the middle of the arena floor, the other situated amidst the seats in the Northwest corner grandstand.

There were also plenty of lasers, four separate confetti storms, a colorful array of balloons during the disco-flavored "Adventure Of A Lifetime," a short burst of fire (sure, why not) during "Hymn For The Weekend" and streamers to finish the show during "Up & Up."

All of this has been part of Coldplay shows before; the group apparently, and rightly, doesn't feel a need to keep up with the U2s and Muses and any of its other rock brethren who thrive on reinventing their particular wheels each time they hit the road. But Wednesday's show shared something else with its predecessors; Excellence, both as entertainment and as a musical experience.

During its two hours on stage -- following unremarkable opening sets by pop acts Foxes and ?? -- Coldplay managed to execute the visual circus with plenty of integrity. Though aided occasionally by backing tracks the group played its dynamic brand of pop with integrity and intensity, whether the songs required muscle ("A Head Full Of Dreams," "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall," "Charlie Brown," a pairing of "Clocks" and "Midnight") or subtlety, including "Yellow," "The Scientist," "Magic" and a delicate "Everglow" that ended with a video tribute to the late Muhammed Ali.

Coldplay's truncated version of "Heroes" in tribute to the late David Bowie was another highlight, as was its majestic rendition of "Paradise" that ended with the four-on-the-floor Tiesto remix of the track that turned the Palace into a rave for a few minutes. The group's trek to the C stage, meanwhile, featured intimate performances of "In My Place" and "Don't Panic," while for "Til Kingdom Come," the night's request track, the group found Sara -- who had requested the song on Instagram, explaining it was played at her father's funeral -- and brought her up to sit with the band, and also dedicated the song to the late Palace security guard "Backstage" Bill Winther, who Coldplay frontman Chris Martin called "a lovely man."

Martin, of course, was the star of the night, wiry and frenetic and in near constant motion -- even when playing guitar and keyboards -- and he sweated his way through several different shirts that, like his bandmates', sported custom embroidery on the shoulders and arms. His exuberance was as infectious as ever, and his performance more than merited the attention he commanded.

"All I can promise you is the best show we've ever played," Martin said early in the evening, urging the Palace crowd to "be the best audience we've ever played for." "Best," of course, is relative, but on Wednesday Martin and company certainly maintained the high standard on which Coldplay has staked its live reputation.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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