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Gig Review: Coldplay at the Etihad Stadium

After announcing they wouldn’t be touring until they found an environmentally friendly alternative to gigging, Coldplay was back with highly admirable solutions to the issues as they ensured their shows are powered by renewable kinetic and solar energy as well as planting a tree for every ticket sold to significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

Support on the night came from Manchester outfit Porij who showed hints of the golden age of the Hacienda and synth-pop group CHVRCHES, where lead, Lauren Mayberry, delivered an incredible performance to prepare Manchester for Coldplay.

But nothing could’ve prepared the crowd for the two-hour masterclass delivered by Chris Martin and co.

The suspense was palpable.

The crowd erupted into cheers of appreciation and thunderous applause as the band took to the stage to kick off their first of four nights in Manchester, and their 84 show of the ‘Music of the Spheres’ tour.

Shortly after the opening to ‘Higher Power’ rang through the stadium the crowd was enchanted by the mighty powers of Coldplay, and goosebumps from their musical excellence were as apparent as ever.

Their stellar opening continued with ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’, where the feel-good anthem shot out streamers, confetti and their iconic inflatable balls rained down on the crowd, which created a truly immersive experience for those in attendance.

It was at this point the light bands kicked in and the illuminations engulfed the space and created a vibrant explosion of colour.

Without allowing the audience to catch their breath, we were plunged straight into ‘Paradise’ where Martin's infectious energy and enthusiasm radiated down to those marvelling at the set.

Shortly after, Martin took his place behind the piano, where there was an overwhelming feeling that we were about to witness greatness.

And we stood corrected, where 60,000 Mancunians, Chris Martin and a piano created the most beautiful performance of ‘The Scientist’.

The frontman's appreciation for Manchester was evident, as the last time Coldplay played in the city was the 2017 One Love Concert following the Manchester Arena bombing attack.

He said: “We needed to do 83 rehearsals to be good enough for Manchester.

It’s fucking great to be home, Manchester is the best in the world.”

Throughout the performance, Coldplay utilised three separate stages to ensure the whole crowd had ample opportunity to see the band as close as possible, and it was at this point that they took to the B-stage.

Here they delivered fan favourite ‘Viva La Vida’ where the ‘wooaoos’ harmoniously echoed right through the stadium for the entirety of the night, which would most definitely have been heard from those in attendance at Elton John in the arena.

After a break in the performance, Manchester descended into a cascade of yellow which picturesquely illuminated the whole stadium which only meant one thing.

The band played an enchanting display of ‘Yellow’ and the crowd was connected by the heartfelt lyrics from Martin which transformed us all into a place of serenity.

It was these LED wristbands which were instrumental in creating an electric atmosphere on the first night, which saw hearts act as a beacon in the seating area for ‘Human Heart’ and a dazzling sea of flashes illuminated throughout ‘My Universe’.

The stage production however was something exceptional and to be in awe of, as the group pulled out all the stops to make it an unforgettable performance, which added that extra layer of magic.

From confetti cannons, intimate performances, to outrageous outfits and remarkable showmanship, this was Coldplay at their very best and something which will never be recreated, every element was meticulously crafted to enhance the experience.

Martin’s connection with everyone in attendance is a testament to one of the most magnificent British bands in existence, this shone through after the band teased the crowd with a disrupted performance of ‘A Sky Full of Stars’.

Before restarting their smash hit, the frontman urged the crowd to resist filming this one to amplify the “human connection” between the band and fans.

This then delivered one of the many highlights of the night, where everyone in attendance lost themselves in the music to jump around in unison to Coldplay at the peak of their powers.

Martin’s connection to Manchester was laid bare to see as he added: “Manchester is the home of music… Well, good music anyway.”

Shortly after, an ode to the anthemic tune of ‘Sit Down’ by James was played with an entirely stripped-back acoustic cover where the chorus roared around the stadium.

After what felt like only a few minutes since they first took the stage, their penultimate song ‘Fix You’ was deeply moving and evoked a wave of emotion which was followed by Biutyful and left a joyous tone on the audience and a fitting ending to an extraordinary night.

The euphoric feeling of the show was perfectly encapsulated by the firework display marking the end of their performance where a kaleidoscope of vibrant lights, pyrotechnics and intricate stage setups transformed the stadium into a breathtaking audio-visual spectacle.

Their stunning musical prowess, captivating visuals and boundless energy created an experience that will forever be etched in the memory of the Manchester audience, which was fuelled by unity and love.