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Concert Review

Coldplay Unites, Lights Up Singapore's National Stadium with First Show In 8 Years

By  April 1, 2017

Coldplay has grown a lot as a band since their last outing in Singapore with their Viva La Vida tour. One massive stadium tour and three albums later, Chris Martin’s merry men have finally made their grand return to Singapore.

Whilst checking into the venue was a breeze, I had to address the elephant in the room. Yep, that massive empty plot of land between Pen A and Pen B. So much so that the entire Pen could be moved a good few meters forward AND there would still be space for Pen A ticket holders to move around the place. This made for an awkward empty 1/5th of the stadium floor for absolutely no reason. Perhaps it is for safety but… THAT much empty space? (pic was taken 10 minutes before showtime)

Queues for food inside and around the stadium were snaking, overpriced and pretty much left me with no choice but to hold it out until the gig is over. Don’t bother trying your luck at the nearby Kallang Wave Mall because it’s worse. Despite the stalls conveniently located behind my seats, nobody left to get drinks mid-show. Now that’s when you know a show is good.

Thankfully, Jess Kent entertained the crowd in a rarity where an A-list act actually has a legitimate support act in Singapore. Of course, her songs were rather foreign to Singaporeans but they were catchy enough for them to Shazam her breakout single, Get Down, before her set was over.

Coldplay took the stage promptly at 8pm with a severely scaled-down fireworks display accompanying the finale of the title track, A Head Full of Dreams. As promised, the audience were a part of the show and it gave the concert a breath of fresh air as everyone pumped their xylobands in the air. There's just something special about uniting everyone in the same building regardless of where you're from or what you speak eh?

The crowd was definitely a mixed bag when it came to their newer songs, like Birds, especially the older working-age crowd who only seemed to stood up for songs like Yellow and The Scientist, both released more than a decade ago. In a drastically underappreciated sit-down moment from the crowd, Chris performed Til Kingdom Come (Singapore’s Instagram request song) and messed it up mid-song. Oops. That video should be somewhere in the depths of YouTube by the time this is up.

Singapore also hosted the tour premiere of their pretty bad Chainsmokers collaboration Something Just Like This. Although Princess of China was cut from the setlist, it was surprisingly one of the best moments of the entire show and warmed up the crowd for an even bigger bangerA Sky Full Of Stars. The energy never went down throughout the lengthy 2-hour set  with the frontman jumping, sprinting, and hopping across the stage even as the finale’s fireworks set to Up&Up filled the stadium.

Many fans up close might have also caught this special moment that might land Coldplay into hot water as the band openly expressed their support for the LGBTQ community. 

 

A post shared by June Wee (@juneywee) on

Coldplayers at the B-Stage were treated to a much better show than those nearer to the main stage, with the larger-than-life visuals not fully visible upfront. Fret not, the enormous production value of the entire concert makes every seat in the stadium worth every single cent. Singapore has never hosted one on this scale before, save for maybe one of Michael Jackson’s gigs at the old Stadium from back in the day.

Whilst acts like Ed Sheeran are perfectly fine in the nosebleeds as he relies on his vocals, and Taylor Swift being entertaining enough to warrant a front-row ticket, Coldplay does both and does them well.

Sadly, stadium gigs in Singapore are mostly a miss in terms of sound quality with many complaints stemming from previous concerts at the National Stadium. Fortunately, something was finally done to fix the poor audio. Gone was the reverb and echo that made the latter half of the stadium sound like the Chris Martin’s vocals passed through a massive body of water. All thanks to the additional speakers that hung from the roof and what I assume to be meticulous audio calibration, which worked!

The band's solid performances and insane production made for a very special first night for Coldplay in Singapore. Nights like this make all the shit you take for being a mainstream Coldplay fan worth it.

Night 2, here I come.

Credit: Mark Cheong (Straits Times), Holmen Tham, Nicole Chang


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