Coldplay completes free-show run in New York
By Michael D. Ayers
NEW YORK (Billboard) - With London and Barcelona under its belts, Coldplay kicked off a week of U.S. promotion hosting a third and final free concert at New York's Madison Square Garden on Monday.
The 70-minute set featured mostly material from the new album "Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends," which was released last week, with a smattering of old hits.
Frontman Chris Martin made several jokes about the free nature of the concert, skipped around the stage, and acknowledging the band's newfound place atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with the song "Viva La Vida."
"Somehow this made it to No. 1 in your country," Martin began. "It just goes to show you what good marketing and a handsome bass player can do."
There were a few hiccups during the night, but Coldplay took them with stride. Martin stuttered a bit during the beginning vocals of "God Put a Smile Upon Your Face," and "Lost!" had a botched ending, where Martin completely stopped the song, proclaiming, "My ear plug fell out." But they completed the last 10 seconds after his minor readjustment, much to the delight of the crowd.
"Fix You" was marred by forgotten lyrics, with Martin substituting in the lines "When there's lyrics to old songs you don't know" and "It doesn't matter when everyone got in for free."
On two occasions, the band shifted to a scaled-down stage setup closer to the audience. The first time, Coldplay used a small set up about a third of the way into the floor. Hoisted above the crowd, it still gave the feeling they were playing in a small space, as they literally were right on top of each other for "Chinese Sleep Chant" and the aforementioned "God Put a Smile." Martin started "42" on the small piano, but joined the rest of the band back on the main stage to close the song out.
Toward the end of the night, the band made its way through the audience to the back of the arena for an acoustic set featuring "Yellow" and "Death Will Conquer All."
Coldplay is scheduled to appear on "The Daily Show" Thursday (June 26) and NBC's "Today" on Friday. A proper North American tour begins July 14 in Los Angeles.
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