Coldplay Kicks Off U.S. Tour Live @ MetLife Stadium

Coldplay Metlife Stadium

We have so precious few stadium acts left. The days of a band — and in this context, I mean bands, as opposed to solo artists or DJs — starting off in small venues like Irving Plaza in NYC or the Electric Ballroom in London, steadily building their profile, and then graduating to arenas and stadium seem almost passe. Coldplay is one of the few exceptions that prove the rule.

On Saturday, July 16, Chris Martin, Johnny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion kicked off the U.S. leg of their A Head Full of Dreams tour at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Singer Chris Martin celebrated the night as the band’s return to the U.S. since their Ghost Stories tour wrapped in 2014.

And what a return it was. As one of the most famous rock bands on the planet, Coldplay walks that fine line between contemporary and legacy act. Since their 1999 debut album, Parachutes, Martin and co. have constantly maintained a public profile with their music, growing a mainstream and international following with big bear hugs of songs, and even achieved something of a bigger, more popular and relevant second act after 2009’s critically and commercially successful Viva La Vida.

As one of the few contemporary bands capable of filling stadiums in 2016, Coldplay seems to have taken that fact to heart, using their platform to shine a light on young, up-and-coming performers. The show featured not one, but two opening acts, each of whom were revelations in their own ways.

Foxes Sets Energy Level with Masterful Performance


You may be familiar with Foxes AKA Louisa Rose Allen. Hailing from London, she first sprang onto EDM and mainstream scenes in 2012 with her collaboration with the DJ Zedd on the stirring “Clarity.” At Metlife, she brought that same high energy, racing across the stadium stage as if it were her favorite club and the whole audience was invited to the party.

Absent her EDM collaborator, Foxes blended expertly crafted, danceable pop songs with a live-band authenticity, provided a 4-piece backing band who filled the stadium and got many of the still-arriving audience dancing. Songs like “Body Talk,” “Cruel,” and “Beauty Queen” showed amazing range, transcending genres from ’80s to ballads to Paramore-like power pop songs, all propelled by her polished yet authentic voice, with bits of Sia, Patti Smith, and Kate Bush.

Foxes will be joining Coldplay throughout the rest of the American tour, but will also be playing her own dates at select clubs, including Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn tonight. Follow her current dates here.

Alessia Cara Transcends Stadium with Larger-than-Life Voice

Alessia Cara

Next up was Canadian singer-songwriter Alessia Cara. The first thing you notice about her is her youth — at 20, Coldplay is her first major tour, after having gained attention last year from Complex, Billboard, and Rolling Stone with her breakthrough song, “Here.” That youth translates to an inquisitiveness, honesty, and passion that is totally authentic and completely enthralling.

The second thing you notice about Alessia Cara is her voice. Her songwriting — ballads like Norah Jones, alternative rock tracks like Lorde mixed with the swagger and even a bit of the flow of Rihanna and Mapei — is buoyed by her voice, a powerful force of nature that transcended the stadium and engulfed everything it came across. If that sounds like hyperbole, it’s because her voice is that unreal.

It’s all a complete package, however; with songs about not conforming to societal pressures and championing individuality, the unstoppable power and delicate tones of her voice more than earn your attention and give these themes the respect they deserve.

Alessia Cara will be joining Coldplay on select dates. Her new album, Know-It-All, is out now.

Coldplay Embrace a Familiar but New Chapter

And then there was the main event. At their core, Coldplay has always been about spreading love — they even gave out buttons with the word written on it. Ever since embracing the bright, primary-color palette on Viva La Vida and playful graffiti aesthetic on Mylo Xyloto, the music has all been about sending out as many good vibes to the world as possible.

And did they deliver. The laser show was one which reminds you why we go see bands like this at stadiums like Metlife. The animations on the screen were expertly and brilliantly executed, and completely engaging. And making a return were the trademark Coldplay bracelets, which lit up automatically throughout the show and made every audience member a literal part of the show, a party where everyone not only was invited, but was needed.

As for the music, hits like “Viva La Vida,” “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall,” “Yellow,” and “Fix You” were mixed in with songs from the new album. The classics haven’t lost a single bit of their initial power. Rather, songs like “The Scientist” have only gained in emotional resonance with the additional advantage of nostalgia. They were a reminder of why Coldplay is Coldplay, and what they can do.

The new album, however, is a strange chapter in the band’s timeline. Coming so soon after 2014’s Ghost Stories, A Head Full of Dreams didn’t do a whole lot to differentiate itself from the previous album. Instead, it’s more of a true follow-up — if Ghost Stories was Coldplay discovering new, more open, breathier, and electronic sonic palettes, A Head Full of Dreams is the band taking what they learned and putting a beat behind it, carrying the torch given to them by Aviici.

The highs on the album translated to some of the show’s most liveliest moments. “Adventure of a Lifetime” retained every bit of its disco potential, turning the stadium into a club for the duration. Even the semi-maligned “Hymn for the Weekend” is a rousing stadium number, with a tremendous animation and even fireworks.

Coldplay Metlife Stadium

Yes, there were fireworks.

Coldplay may be in search of their next big chapter, at least as far as the musical endeavors are concerned. But as a band, as one of rock’s contemporary statesmen, they are currently at their most confident and polished. It’s to their credit that as they’ve maintained their fame and success, they haven’t lost any of the personable touch that made them superstars in the first place.

It’s gonna be a hell of a tour.

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