The combination of a white-hot band, a venue too small for the caliber of the act and an ecstatic audience meant one thing last night in San Francisco: Coldplay were in town and blowing the lid off Bimbo's 365 Club. Chris Martin and company have written the most hotly-anticipated album of 2002 (it merits all the anticipation, I might add) and their live show last night just proved that they are now near the top of the current class of touring acts. Much of next week's A Rush of Blood To The Head was featured during the 90-minute show, but tracks from their debut album, as well as covers and B-sides made appearances, as well, making this show the most mind-blowing performance I've seen all year.
The quartet took the stage and ripped into new album opener "Politik," the driving drum beat pairing perfectly with the flashing strobes. Martin, resplendent in the same "Make Trade Fair" T-shirt I believe he wore in Chicago/on MTV2 then launched the band into one of the standout tracks from their 2000 debut, Parachutes, "Shiver," instantly raising the tempo stakes. A bit later in the set the spectre of Ian McCulloch raised its head for the first time, with the "Cutter"-esque opening strains of "Daylight" being fed to the hungry audience. Next, he flubbed the piano intro to "Trouble" causing him to stop the song and banter with the crowd, stating "You'd think for $35 or whatever you paid, I could fucking learn how to play 'Trouble.' It's not that difficult a song." When a crowd member piped up that tickets were only $15, the frontman responded, "$15? For $15 we could come out naked and play Bon Jovi songs!" which elicited a great roar. One of the best songs of the night was then produced, "In My Place" B-side, "One I Love," the raw energy and dueling electric guitars of Martin and Jonny Buckland hurtling the crowd further towards the brink of sonic euphoria.
Over the next 45 minutes, the electricity in the air stayed constant, as the pride and joy of London played songs both fast and slow, both new and old, all receiving rapturous applause at their cessation. "Don't Panic" and "Everything's Not Lost" from Parachutes wowed the crowd, as did songs such as "Scientist" and "Clocks," from an album 99% of the crowd has not yet heard. "Yellow" obviously got all the mainstreamers up and bopping like only mainstreamers can, but it didn't lessen the sheer brilliance of the tune. Three encores later, the band wrapped the festivities with one of the songs I'd been most anxiously awaiting. With the second reference to Ian McCulloch on the night, Coldplay finished their stellar show with a nod to the Echo and the Bunnymen leader by covering one of their largest hits, "Lips Like Sugar." The over-25s went nuts and the masses filed out having witnessed an amazing combination of showmanship and songwriting, one that won't leave the memory banks anytime soon.
"One I Love"
"Everything's Not Lost"
"God Put A Smile Upon My Face"
"In My Place"
"See You Soon"
"Lips Like Sugar"