MEN Arena, Manchester on Friday 14 March 2003

My last accquaitance with Coldplay live had been mid-afternoon in the sun of V2000. There was a consensus that day that it would b the last time we would see them so early day at any festival. Whilst being proved right, I don't think any of us realised the heights that they would rise to so quickly.

There is a split in opinion of Coldplay, and in particular their enigmatic lead singer Chris Martin. His campaigning for various causes on one hand, and his relationship for sobbing actress Gwyneth Paltrow on the other appear in some circles to have elevated him to God-like status. The notion, by the less reliable sections of the press, that Chris has single-handedly saved Glastonbury, angered some.

Thus, here I was at the Manchester Arena, wondering whcihc Coldplay I was going to see. The humble, unassuming ones or the arrogant brash ones.

An early clue could be found in the support they had booked. While the more arrogant of our so called stars surround themselves with weaker artists who serve to make them look better, Coldplay booked the accomplished Ian McCulloch and the excellent Feeder.

Feeder performed brilliantly, choosing not to go down the easy route of a greatest hits passage and were indeed a difficult act to follow.

So could Coldplay do it? Chris had already slipped quietly on stage to provide backing vocals for one Ian McCulloch number. There wasn't that much pomp and ceremony here either. There was none of the preaching or arrogance that we have been led to expect. There was just an excellent accomplished performance from a group of exceptional musicians.

The question of whether Rush of Blood To The Head could supercede the highly lauded debut Parachutes appeared to be answered too. In My Place and Clocks were greeted with a furvour that suggests they have joined the already cherished anthems Yellow, Trouble and Everything's Not Lost.

Coldplay will always be a band you will either love or hate, but on last nights reception there are more than a few people out there who come in the former category.

However, with Feeder being reduced to thirty minutes of an excellent set, the question I am still nowhere nearer to answering is Coldplay or Feeder at V Festival this year.

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article by: Paul Heyes

published: 16/04/2003 00:27