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Coldplay live at Wembley: Chris Martin delivers a masterclass in showmanship

As Coldplay wrap up their Wembley residency, they remain an unstoppable force.

4.0 rating

By Nigel Russell

Coldplay live at Wembley
Coldplay live at Wembley (Picture: Nigel Russell)

On the final night of Coldplay’s Wembley Stadium residency, I’m surprised to see just how many under-25s have descended on Wembley (many of whom, you sense, weren’t even born when the 21st century’s most successful band released their first album Parachutes in 2000).

But this is testament to the appeal of Coldplay. With six nights at the national stadium under their belts, their universal draw has never been more evident.

For their final show at the 90,000 venue, the group kicks off with a rousing rendition of the upbeat ‘Higher Power’ from their most recent album, Music of the Spheres, released last autumn, quickly followed by ‘Adventure of a Lifetime’.

The stage – as ever – belongs to Chris Martin. Despite his efforts to get them involved, his Tigger-like energy may not be shared by his fellow band members, but no matter, his enthusiasm is reflected by the ecstatic crowd. Throughout, their hands remain skyward whether the tempo is upbeat or slow.

As darkness falls, the audience is lit up by the sea of L.E.D. wristbands we were given on entry. They change colour as each song plays – no prizes for guessing which hue accompanies ‘Yellow’ – uniting 90,000 fans in the experience. And the evening holds even more surprises: in tune with the ‘music from another solar system’ theme of the album, the band play ‘Human Heart’ accompanied by Angel Moon from The Weirdos, a muppet alien band created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, while ‘Something Just Like This’ sees them don alien helmets.

With more than 20 years under their belts and 100 million albums sold worldwide, Coldplay have a huge and varied repertoire to draw from. This means the setlist is studded with crowdpleasers like former number-one single ‘Viva La Vida’ and ‘Hymn for the Weekend’. Of course, the band’s more sombre ballads ‘In My Place’, ‘Yellow’ and ‘Fix You’ are just as loved.

Coldplay like to include special guests in their concerts – previous shows have seen Martin share the stage with Craig David and even Steve Coogan in character as Alan Partridge. Tonight, it’s Stormzy, who receives a rapturous welcome before he treats us to just the one song – ‘Blinded by Your Grace’. Although there’s no denying the talent of the triple Brit-award-winner, somehow his performance is too much of a chord change; it fails to set the stadium alight in the way they had perhaps intended. Martin has to work hard – well, not that hard – when he takes the mic once more for ‘Humankind’, before ‘Biutyful’ provides a soulful end to the evening, sending us all into a dreamlike state as we head for the exit.

For the band and crowd alike, it’s the kind of show we could have only dreamed of while live music seemed like a distant dream during lockdown. Providing a soundtrack for your every mood among a catalogue of classics that speaks to every demographic, young or old, Coldplay still remain as irresistible as ever.