Gig review: Coldplay, Hampden Park, Glasgow

Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin at Hampden .  Picture: Callum BuchanColdplay lead singer Chris Martin at Hampden .  Picture: Callum Buchan
Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin at Hampden . Picture: Callum Buchan

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It has been less than a week since Bruce Springsteen slayed Hampden Park, and the contrast between his earthy no-frills roots rock extravaganza and Coldplay's pastel imitation of the U2 stadium gig template could hardly have been greater.

RATING * * *

Lacking the natural stage presence to fill the park, the calm quartet took a top-down approach to performance, blasting off with a literal explosion of colour. Jets of tiny bespoke confetti shapes were shot into the sky during opening number A Head Full of Dreams to then drift around the auditorium like dayglo fallout.

Over the next two hours, there were to be periodic volleys of pretty pastel fireworks, confetti showers and kaleidoscopic visuals, while the audience became part of the light display courtesy of illuminated wristbands which were issued at the door.

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Picture: Callum BuchanPicture: Callum Buchan
Picture: Callum Buchan

They certainly needed something to sustain interest during the mellower – and frequently duller – songs, but there was little that could be done to colour the low-key likes of Magik and Ink, which even lulled the band into such a coma that they messed up the ending.

The ever charming Chris Martin kept his rendition of MOR ballad The Scientist very simple at the piano in the sure knowledge that he could draw on 50,000 backing vocalists to bolster the sound. Despite its doe-eyed drippiness, it still packed more substance than candyfloss anthems such as Paradise, which was not so much a song as a wan mantra. Its dance remix coda was a valiant attempt to bring Ibiza to Mount Florida but there was to be no clubbing catharsis here, more a pervading sense of mild wellbeing.

Even a limp, cursory cover of David Bowie’s Heroes knocked every other song in the set out the park, though they were wise to follow up with their best track, Viva La Vida. This, tellingly, was the least visually embellished number of the night and proved such a joyous high point for the fans that, despite an intimate interlude on a tiny stage at the back of the park, incorporating an audience request via Instagram and the lovely folk pop ballad See You Soon, excavated from their early days, it was its exuberant “woh-oh” refrain that the crowd chose to take up once again and resonate around the stadium following an underwhelming encore of their newer songs.