Coldplay is a British rock band particularly renowned around the world for their awe-inspiring concerts and other live performances where they belt out some of the greatest songs from their albums.
Formed in 1997 in London, Coldplay comprises Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman and Will Champion. Martin is the lead vocalist and leader of the group, Buckland plays the guitar, Berryman is a bassist and Champion is a drummer. Officially, the group counts Phil Harvey, their creative director and manager, as the fifth member of Coldplay.
To date, the band has released nine studio albums. While all of them, including their latest, Music of the Spheres (2021), have topped the UK Albums Chart and four albums topped Billboard 200. Coldplay has won seven Grammy awards, distinguishing the band as one of the greatest music acts of all time.
The band has received overwhelming praise for the overall atmosphere of their concerts and live performances. It all began when they got a golden opportunity to headline the Glastonbury Festival performance, after the originally scheduled performer, American rock band The Strokes, pulled out. Since then, Coldplay has headlined several music festivals and successfully undertaken world tours, which have helped build their stellar reputation as crowd pullers.
Indeed, the spectacle that Coldplay can create inside a stadium is enigmatic, energetic and electrifying. The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis wrote in a 2022 review of the band’s concert in London’s Wembley Stadium that Coldplay is “inventive in their approach” and underlined that they changed the game of concerts by providing the attendees with LED wristbands.
“Turning big crowds into an immense, twinkling, ever-changing light show and making the audience part of the performance in the process, the effect is genuinely stunning,” Petridis observed.
In May 2023, Coldplay confirmed that they are bringing their ongoing Music of the Spheres World Tour to select Asian cities. It has caused much excitement among fans who are looking forward to singing aloud some of the greatest Coldplay hits and watching Martin and other band members perform live.
Best songs from Coldplay concerts that fans loved watching live
Performed at: Glastonbury Festival, Pilton
“Yellow” is Coldplay’s first major hit. Released in 2000 as part of the group’s debut album, Parachutes, the song peaked at No.4 on the UK Singles Chart and No.48 on Billboard Hot 100. At the 44th Annual Grammy Awards in 2002, while “Yellow” received a nod for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, Parachutes earned Coldplay its first Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.
On 28 June, just four months after their Grammy win, Coldplay performed the song before a crowd of around 100,000, as they headlined the Glastonbury Festival. By this time, they were set to add their second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, to their discography.
The Glastonbury event was an electrifying one for Coldplay, and it helped establish the band as one of the most defining live acts in music. Though “Yellow” was the highlight of their set, the band performed a mix of songs from both Parachute and A Rush of Blood to the Head. Among them were “Shiver,” “One I Love,” “Don’t Panic,” “God Put a Smile Upon Your Face” and “The Scientist.”
‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’
Performed at: Live 8, London
Live 8 was a series of concerts held simultaneously at 10 locations around the world on 2 July 2005 as an awareness campaign for poverty and debt relief in Africa. A month before the event, Coldplay had released their third studio album, X&Y, which debuted on the Billboard 200 chart at No.1.
Thus, Coldplay was riding high on the success of their album when they arrived to perform at the Hyde Park concert of Live 8 in London.
They sang three songs — “Fix You,” “In My Place” and “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” Of the three, it was the last that was particularly loved by the crowd despite not originally being a Coldplay song.
“Bitter Sweet Symphony” is a hit 1997 song from the English rock band the Verve. At the Hyde Park concert, Coldplay performed the song with the Verve’s lead singer Richard Ashcroft whom Martin famously introduced on the stage as “the best singer in the world.”
The Live 8 performance was a massive hit among Coldplay fans, and it helped cement their image as one of the greatest bands in the world.
Performed at: Twisted Logic Tour, Toronto
One of the most successful tours by Coldplay, the Toronto leg of the Twisted Logic Tour was held at the Air Canada Centre on 22 and 23 March.
Although their set included a series of songs from their first three albums, including X&Y, it was “Clocks” from A Rush of Blood to the Head that the crowd took a particular liking to.
One of the best songs by Coldplay, it won the Grammy for Record Of The Year in 2004. Rolling Stone included it on its list of ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time’ the same year.
In 2021, Billboard included it in ‘The 100 Greatest Song Bridges of the 21st Century.’ Describing the song, Billboard wrote, “’Clocks’ can be a disorienting song, with its cyclical piano riff, existential lyrics and laser-soaked music video, so there’s something comforting about the purely romantic sentiment of the bridge to explain why Chris Martin stays in a clearly dysfunctional situation.”
‘Every Tear Drop is a Waterfall’
Performed at: Rock am Ring, Nürburg
The heavens seem to have created a surreal ambience during the Rock am Ring music festival at the Nürburgring racetrack in the west of Germany on 4 June when Coldplay performed the song “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall.”
As their song progressed, it began to rain. The effect was magical on the crowds and their collective cheer appeared to have drowned even the music.
As for the song, it is the lead single of the band’s fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto. The song was released a day before the performance at Rock am Ring. It earned a nod for Rock Performance at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards in 2012.
‘Viva La Vida’
Performed at: American Express Unstaged, Madrid
“Viva La Vida” was Coldplay’s first chart-topper song both on Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. It is the title track from the band’s fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008).
Both the album and the song were massively popular in their own right. The song won two Grammys — Song Of The Year and Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals — at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards in 2009. It was also nominated for Record of the Year. The album itself was given the award for Best Rock Album and was in the running for Record of the Year. It ranked No.1 on Billboard 200.
Thus, when Coldplay performed this song at Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas on 26 October, the crowds sang along with the band. The concert was part of the American Express Unstaged series, which brought together performers and filmmakers. Coldplay was joined by celebrated photographer and director Anton Corbijn, who filmed the concert.
Two days before the Madrid concert, the band released their fifth album Mylo Xyloto — a chart-topper on Billboard 200. Songs from the album were also performed at the concert.
Performed at: The Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony, London
Coldplay performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium before packed attendees numbering around 80,000. It was a phenomenal act, wherein the band belted out its classics such as “Yellow,” “The Scientist” and “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall”.
Of particular note, however, was American rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z joining them for “Paradise” — a song from Mylo Xyloto. Jay Z, who is today a billionaire, is hailed universally as one of the greatest music artists of all time. His presence on the performance stage with Coldplay electrified the atmosphere and led to rapturous cheers from the spectators. Jay-Z added a new verse to “Paradise” in a performance that came just before the final act of the ceremony. The new verse referred to several Olympians.
The original “Paradise” topped the UK Singles Chart a few weeks after its release. It remained on the charts for 63 weeks, one of the longest charted periods for a Coldplay song in the UK.
‘Princess of China’
Performed at: The Paralympic Games Closing Ceremony, London
One of the greatest performances that Coldplay ever did live was with Barbadian singer and businesswoman Rihanna at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Midway into the ceremony, Rihanna made her way to the centre stage on what appeared like a floating mediaeval ship, singing their duet “Princess of China.” Their performance was one of the best moments from the closing ceremony.
The song is part of Mylo Xyloto and was recorded together by Rihanna with Coldplay. It did not receive the overwhelmingly positive reception that other Coldplay or Rihanna songs do. But it climbed to the No.4 spot on the UK Singles Chart and the No.20 spot on Billboard Hot 100.A few months before the Paralympics, the band and RiRi, as she is famously known, had performed the song at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.
‘Hymn for the Weekend’
Performed at: Radio 1’s Big Weekend, Exeter
‘Hymn for the Weekend’ is one of Coldplay’s best-known songs. Featuring vocals from Beyoncé, it was recorded for their seventh studio album, A Head Full of Dreams (2015).
The song gained international attention for its video, which was released in 2016. Shot in Mumbai and some other parts of India, it featured Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor and showcased Indian culture. Above all, American singer-songwriter Beyoncé appeared in it dressed like an Indian queen.
On 29 May, following the release of the video, Coldplay performed the song at Radio 1’s Big Weekend at Powderham Castle in Exeter, England. It was well received by fans at the event.
Performed at: A Head Full of Dreams Tour, São Paulo
Martin wrote “Fix You” for his ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow following her father’s death.
In a 2015 interview with The Howard Stern Show, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) actor said, “‘Fix You’ was about him trying to put me back together after my dad died. I think it’s pretty nice.”
The song is part of the album X&Y. It reached No.4 on the UK Singles Chart and No.18 on Billboard Hot 100.
As was in other venues during the tour, fans at São Paulo’s Allianz Parque waved LED wristbands whose colour changed with the music. Fireworks, laser show and confetti were also part of the performance of “Fix You” on 8 November.
The performance was included in the concert film titled Live in São Paulo. Together with Coldplay’s Live in Buenos Aires album, the final concert of the tour, it was released as part of The Butterfly Package later in 2018.
‘A Sky Full Of Stars’
Performed at: Music of the Spheres World Tour, Buenos Aires
The song is from their Billboard 200 chart-topping sixth studio album, Ghost Stories (2014). It reached No.9 on the UK Singles Chart and No.10 on US Billboard Hot 100 the same year. The song was also in the running for a Grammy in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category in 2015.
Coldplay selected the song as part of their Music of the Spheres World Tour, whose first stop was Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica in Costa Rica’s San José.
But it garnered immense praise at the Estadio Monumental, popularly known as River Plate Stadium, in Buenos Aires, where it was recorded as part of the cinema presentation of the concert.
Coldplay performed at Estadio Monumental for a record 10 days during late October and early November. The stadium has a capacity of around 65,000. Since all 10 days were sold out, Coldplay set the record for the highest attendance at Estadio Monumental.
The entire stadium looked brighter than the night sky during the performance of “A Sky Full Of Stars.” The LED wristbands of those in attendance and the lights of their cameras illuminated every nook and cranny of the stadium, bathing it in an enchanting purple glow.
(Hero and Featured images: Coldplay/@coldplay/Twitter)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: Coldplay has delivered several successful songs over the years. But Billboard ranks "Clocks" from their album "A Rush of Blood to the Head" as the best.
Answer: Several of Coldplay's concerts and other live performances have been major successes. Entire world tours such as 'A Head Full of Dreams Tour' and the ongoing 'Music of the Spheres World Tour' have set attendance records in multiple cities and generated about half a billion dollars in revenue.
Answer: Fans and critics of music believe that Coldplay concerts are among the best. This is due to how they build the atmosphere of the venue through an effective mix of technology, performance and their music.
Answer: 'Yellow' from the album 'Parachutes' is Coldplay's first major hit. It remains a favourite of their fans to this date.