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Live 2003
Artist: Coldplay
Label: Parlophone
Length: 14 tracks

When a band releases an official live CD after only two highly successful albums, it might be for one of two things: a) That said band is self-indulgently milking their fame early in their career because they reckon things can only go downhill from such heights, or b) That said band wants to capture a moment in time that is truly precious because dreams have been realized early and this is worth sharing with the fans. 

Coldplay are unequivocally guilty of “B”. For a fan, this double CD / DVD package is a decadent squirt of whipped cream – with a cherry on top – of the delicious repertoire of a band that holds the essence of greatness. This reviewer is not the first to surmise that with Coldplay we may be hearing a band that will become of equal stature with U2 or REM. So far, I cannot think of one Coldplay song that doesn’t succeed in hitting the aural G-spot in some way.

That said, the fourteen live versions of album songs, recorded all over the world on their 2003 tour, are admittedly not much different to their studio originals. There’s just one new song, the beautifully simple “Moses”, and two B-sides – the rocking “One I Love” and the delicate “See You Soon” – fleshing out the almost 70 minutes of Coldplay standards. With the only deviation being the occasional extended intro or outro, the band obviously feels they don’t need to mess around with such a quality repertoire to keep the fans listening. Maybe that will happen on future tours, but for now maintaining the purity of the music is all they need to do to please. 

The accompanying DVD with its 90-minute concert and 40-minute tour diary documentary is revelatory of more of the aforementioned greatness. Over and above the smash hits and the platinum sales, Coldplay demonstrate genuine humility throughout, whether it be as guests on a radio show, laughing as they hear a glowing, high-brow review of their album read on air, or shamelessly promoting the social justice web-site Frontman Chris Martin is a conspirator of hope, urging the crowd to sing along with the exultant chorus of “Everything’s Not Lost,” and to go out and live life to the full. 

My own hope is that Coldplay are never crushed by the pressure to deliver a hit, which was reportedly hovering over the Rush of Blood to the Head album. In spite of it, they managed to pull together a magnificent album. So as we eagerly await the next studio effort, this live album will do more than just fill a gap. It will remain as a testament to a great year in history, when Coldplay toured a world in desperate need of hope with songs that spoke to the heart of life. 

Brendan Boughen  2/16/2004


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