There was a Spitting Image skit back in the eighties about Dire Straits, saying they were the kind of band you could play anywhere: dinner parties, for your gran, even royalty, and it wouldn’t cause offence. That mantle has since been passed onto Coldplay. What are you going to put on the first time you take your new girlfriend out for a drive? When the boss and his wife come round for dinner? Ah, stick on a bit of Coldplay and you can’t go wrong.
Having been named best British group three times at the Brits, most recently this very year, and with seven Grammys to boot, ever since Chris Martin appeared walking down a beach singing about things all being yellow, and despite not having a clue what he was going on about, people have been besotted with these guys. Well, their music anyway.
One such besottee is FC Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, who applied the old you-can’t-go-wrong-with-Coldplay technique by playing his favourite band to his players in the dressing room before games in the 2008-09 season. They won the Liga, Copa del Rey, Champions League and Clubs World Cup, so something must have worked. Barça did indeed rule the world, and Viva La Vida became something of a club anthem. As a result, Barça fans seemed to get the impression that Coldplay were Barça fans. Far from it – Chris Martin actually supports Exeter City (what a boy), and hilariously, the band has only one concert in Spain this year, and it’s in Madrid, at the Vicente Calderón, home of Atlético.
The concert has also been dragged into the controversy surrounding the location of the Copa del Rey final this year between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao, which the former were especially desperate to play at the Bernabeu, on the pretext that it has the larger capacity. But the real motive was the opportunity to stick a childish finger up at their enemies. Real Madrid said no, and Bilbao proposed La Cartuja in Sevilla as an alternative. But whining Barça, strangely less bothered about the capacity all of a sudden, insisted on playing in Madrid, but at Atlético’s ground. Despite the fact that it makes no sense for the the final to be played just five days after the ground had been used for a Coldplay concert, they got their way. As usual. Ah, the insane politics of Spanish football…
It also means that Real Madrid supporting Coldplay fans are going to have swallow their pride for the evening and enter enemy territory – after 16,000 people packed the Madrid bullring last October to see the same bandgive their first live show following the release of their fifth studio album. The concert was streamed live for millions of fans on Youtube, a first for the industry.
There was talk of an appearance in Barcelona too, but it seems that is not going to be the case. In the rumour mill it’s being said that Coldplay are still unhappy about their last show at the Olympic Stadium in the Catalan capital, where the sound was so poor that in some parts of the place you couldn’t even tell what song they were playing. The local press absolutely slated the performance, and that seems to be the reason why Barcelona has been given the cold shoulder this time.
There’s not much point wasting too much screen space telling you guys who Coldplay are. You obviously know all about their infectiously anthemic sing-a-lot hits that are simply made for big stadium gigs like this. Last year’s Mylo Xyloto showed that they can still churn out the same catchy stuff, with Paradise and Every Drop is a Waterfall every bit as memorable as Speed of Sound, The Scientist, In My Place, Fix You, Violet Hill, Clocks and other Coldplay classics that will no doubt give the Vicente Calderón the rare opportunity for something to cheer about. Ah, that’s not fair. I’ve always had a soft spot for Atlético. And Coldplay too, as it happens.
Did you know: As regards what the hell Yellow is all about, apparently Chris Martin couldn’t find the right word and there happened to be a copy of the Yellow Pages lying nearby. The word ‘yellow’ seemed to make sense. And that’s coming from a band that is thoroughly clean when it comes to drugs.
1. Mylo Xyloto
2. Hurts Like Heaven
4. In My Place
5. Major Minus
6. The Scientist
7. God Put A Smile Upon Your Face
8. Up in Flames
9. Viva La Vida
10. Charlie Brown
Encore: 12. Clocks
13. Fix You
14. Every Teardrop is a Waterfall
Encore 2: 15. Us Against the World
16. Everything’s Not Lost