Live 2012 & Australasian tour preview: Coldplay's testing times, circus & triumphs (20121106)
The launch sounds like it could be a space shuttle flight. "We're good on deck, good for show", a male voice intones over a wireless communications system, writes News.com.au in a preview to the forthcoming Live 2012 concert film, due out later in November, and the Australasian tour that starts in New Zealand on Saturday (10th November).
The "show" is Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto world tour. Within only the first 30 seconds of their Coldplay Live 2012 DVD, as the goosebumps rise along your arm, it becomes apparent this ambitious light and sound extravaganza could be the musical equivalent to a rocket launch. The technology involved in assisting these four musicians - Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion - to realise possibly the biggest show on earth by a rock band is mind-blowing.
There are the LED wristbands, the confetti cannons, the lasers, the state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems - if Coldplay is making money on this tour, it isn't much. Yet for all the bells and whistles, Chris Martin and his bandmates remain the focal point. And, even with his tongue firmly in cheek, the frontman [pictured] admits some nights are tougher than others.
"In the build-up to a concert I just get really excited. I'm aware of everyone running around. There's always a panic about something," Martin says. "You know, the rain's coming down or ... the wristbands aren't working ... or Will's bench-pressed too much and his abs have burst. I don't know what the problems might be - Guy's just become too handsome to be lit properly ... or Jonny's fingers have started moving too fast and he's gonna play too many notes. Whatever the problem is, I always enjoy watching it get solved before 9pm."
Martin is a marathon performer, almost sprint skipping across the stage and down the lengthy runway into the middle of the crowd, designed to give those up the back that closer look at the action. The rock'n'roll myths fade away when you see him backstage, contemplative one moment, exploding with energy the next. "Then I start getting real adrenalin and start doing Rocky shadow boxing and all that kind of stuff. So I get as excited as anyone else," he says.
Buckland explains that the concert's graffiti bursts of psychedelic colour, accentuated by the fluoro shades emanating from thousands of wrists pumping the air in concrete and steel stadiums, stemmed from a much simpler concept. "I think the initial image we started with for the Mylo Xyloto album was a rose bursting through concrete. That was the kind of starting point of the whole thing ... the splash of life and colour and passion in a bleak, grey place," he says. Off stage, Coldplay describe themselves as a "circus family".
They play football and cricket and like any modern business person who has to travel for work, they miss their families. Drummer Champion felt the heartache of absence on the last tour. "The toughest bits are when you're away from home, from family. I remember we were playing in Las Vegas, which is a very silly place at the best of times," he says. "I got a call saying that one of my kids was in hospital and there I was in Las Vegas, you know, and I just thought ... there couldn't be a worse place to be when you know your kid is not very well. So it's hard and anyone that travels has that kind of thing to deal with often. We're not the first band to come across these problems by any means. But, yeah, those moments are pretty tricky."
For every tough moment, there is a triumph. All four band members, and their tightknit team, cite the Mylo Xyloto tour as Coldplay finding freedom in the connection with their fans and no longer caring what the haters think. "I see this tour is the last, kind of, shackles being thrown off of being worried about what anyone thinks. Through the course of Mylo Xyloto I'd say that as a band we're functioning better than we ever have," Martin says.
"We've been through the breakups and addictions and arguments and financial disagreements and ... not working properly together in the studio or falling out about which hours someone likes to work. We're a very private band, we don't tell anyone very much. We definitely don't tell anyone about all the darker side of things, because we don't really believe in that rock'n'roll cliche, myth thing."