A Head Full of Dreams: Coldplay Lights up Abu Dhabi

Coldplay was back in the capital exactly 5 years after their Mylo Xylto tour to ring in the New Year and their mass appeal and growth was instantly clear – the sold-out show boasted next-level  pyrotechnics, stage lighting and the glowing “XyloBands” made you feel like you were at a rock rave.

I’m obviously a bit biased about all this because Coldplay’s one of my all-time favourite bands, but if I were to nitpick, they didn’t have the best of starts. Lead singer Chris Martin’s vocals missed the mark when they hit the main stage with A Head Full of Dreams – he continued missing a few notes as they floated into their breakout hit Yellow as well (I clearly remember the 2011 performance being much more enticing). His bandmates Jonny Buckland (lead guitarist), Guy Berryman (bassist) and Will Champion (drummer) were full of energy with some shifting between instruments as the band progressed through the setlist – the camaraderie between the band was evident with no instrument overpowering the other, Will Champion just killed it in songs like Viva La Vida where his energy bounced across the 40,000-strong arena.

Martin’s sheer talent also shone the most when he did an acoustic version of Till Kingdom Come, a freestyle song about 2016 on the C-stage (which was very close to us General Admission mortals) and when he got on the keyboard to sing Everglow (a heartbreaking ode to his ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow). While the new year countdown was awkwardly rushed, the ending performances of their dance hit A Sky Full of Stars and their latest single Up & Up were breathtaking. I do wish I got to hear more of the great songs from their latest album, though.

Highs: It was Coldplay

Lows: Felt more like a greatest hits tour than a proper album tour

Verdict: Even without the glorious pyrotechnics, the floating ballons and the blowing confetti,  Coldplay would still stand out the greatest band in our generation and I cannot wait to see them perform once again.

^Image courtesy The National

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