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Coldplay: Music of the Spheres World Tour
When: Sept. 22, 23, 6:30 p.m.
Where: B.C. Place
Tickets/info: From $49 at livenation.com
Coldplay is the Taylor Swift of bands.
The U.K. quartet that began its career as Big Fat Noises in 1997 is one of only a handful of groups that can rival the rabid fan following and runaway album and concert sales figures of pop music’s solo superstar. The band’s Music of the Spheres World Tour, which brings big noises to back-to-back shows at B.C. Place already broke 2022 attendance and ticket sales records.
The U.S. and Canada dates on the tour with openers H.E.R. and 070 Shake should keep Chris Martin and company in the upper echelons of tour earners in 2023.
Given the consistent five-star reviews from media as critical and different as the Guardian, NME and even the London Evening Standard, the group may well repeat the spectacle that made this writer declare the band’s 2017 performance at B.C. Place: “Best arena show of 2017.” That tour de force was a joyful, uplifting, confetti-cannon and L.E.D. wristband flash of pop perfection that even the most cranky detractor could be moved by.
The ensuing years have seen some changes in the Coldplay hit-making machinery. But there is little indication that it has altered the adoration.
In 2019, Everyday Life drew hordes of international guest artists to try to reflect on the state of the world and, while still a No. 1 chart debut, received mixed reviews. One of the most prescient was that by The Independent writer Adam White as a “valiant, if flawed, attempt to break from tradition.” Management clearly got that memo prior to the band heading back into the studio to record its ninth album.
Released in 2021, Music of the Spheres was far more commercially targeted. Swedish boy-band hitmaker Max Martin was in the producer’s seat and guest spots were reserved for such youth market mega acts as South Korea’s BTS, who appeared on the single My Universe. The song debuted in the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and received both album of the year and best pop vocal album nominations at the 65th annual Grammy Awards.
The space-themed concept behind the album was said to be inspired by the Mos Eisley cantina band sequence in the Star Wars film franchise. That’s a winning narrative series from which to draw ideas for a song cycle exploring human experience across an imagined nine-planet cosmos. The dozen intergalactic pop ditties included range from an opening theme of less than one minute, to the nearly 11-minute, prog-rock closer Coloratura.
The tour set lists suggests that such a lengthy workout is best left to home listening as the average 23-tune performances are a career overview with only five new songs typically included. From the breakout Yellow to In My Place and Something Just Like This, fans will get their fill of most of their favourites.
Delivered with genuine enthusiasm from Martin — who comes across on stage as a church camp group sing-along leader crossed with your BFF’s older brother — the shows have been praised for their positivity. And it looks like those fun, flashing wristbands will be back for an encore performance.
At a time when the world burns and the future seems suspect, a night of arena-ready ear worms burrowing into your head and leaving you with the warm fuzzies is sure to paste smiles on the faces of the 100,000-plus people who are going to get the Coldplay experience in Vancouver.
But, imagine what Music of the Spheres could have been if, say, the television series The Mandalorian had been the inspiration?
Coldplay in Vancouver: Five notable past concerts
Review: Coldplay’s B.C. Place concert the best arena show of 2017