Music review: Coldplay, Hampden Park, Glasgow

With fireworks, giant balloons and a relentless procession of stadium-friendly hits, Coldplay’s Hampden gig felt like a pillow fight you couldn’t escape, writes Fiona Shepherd

Coldplay performing at Hampden Park, Glasgow, as part of their Music of the Spheres world tour PIC: Calum Buchan
Coldplay performing at Hampden Park, Glasgow, as part of their Music of the Spheres world tour PIC: Calum Buchan

Coldplay, Hampden Park, Glasgow ****

"I can already tell this is going to be my favourite Wednesday ever," declared Chris Martin on the last night of the European leg of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres tour. Whether or not this is a regular schtick, the faces of the fans captured on the big screens said that they might just have been having a moment too.

Following a quick primer around the tour’s green credentials – not so green that the band weren’t driven to the stage in individual blacked-out SUVs though, while their minions cycle down in the crowd to generate more energy – the bracelets given to the audience started flashing and the crowd-sourced lightshow began.

Coldplay performing at Hampden Park, Glasgow, as part of their Music of the Spheres world tour PIC: Calum Buchan

Higher Power was already super-charged synthy AOR and the band went all in with fireworks first, then giant balloons. Adventure of a Lifetime was typical of their broad brush uplift, using the language of dance music. Bland terrace anthem Paradise could have been custom written for such an occasion, one of a brace of non-stop stadium stompers, loud, relentless, harmless, like a pillow fight you can't escape.

At times, the riot of colour in their stage design felt inversely proportional to the vanilla music, yet a clod-hopping version of The Scientist was received like a religious rite. The far superior Viva La Vida was the most transcendent of all the many wordless singalongs.

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The set was full of big, small and eccentric moments, such as the alien helmets for Something Just Like This and the puppet duet on Human Heart. Nina Nesbitt guested on piano ballad Let Somebody Go and Edwyn Collins joined the band on a compact third stage (because two is not quite enough) for a faithful rendition of his enduring A Girl Like You. The bracelets turned yellow for a certain song, and the sky was full of fireworks (again) for Sky Full of Stars. Hampden was hugged into submission.

Coldplay Performing at Hampden PIC: Calum Buchan
Chris Martin at Hampden PIC: Calum Buchan