For the first time in history, Coldplay performed a concert for their A Head Full Of Dreams tour in Taipei, outside the Taoyuan High Speed Rail station on April 12, 2017. The audience, many wearing plastic 7-11 raincoats, waited anxiously for their appearance.The opening act was Jess Kent, a Melanie-Martinez-meets-Lorde Australian pop singer who performed for thirty minutes, including her catchy debut single “Get Down” and “The Sweet Spot”. The crowd was not overly enthusiastic about her singing or dancing, but rather they became momentarily animated as she said “??(hello)”.
Despite a lackluster opening act, most concert goers were obviously most excited to see Coldplay. As the camera panned around the audience, there were signs that said: “I’ve waited 17 years for you to come to Taiwan!!” Coldplay was listed to begin their performance at 7:30, and quite professionally, their punctuality exceeded expectations for a globally known band. They were just a few minutes late, and this came as a pleasant surprise, because most bands that do perform in Taiwan usually do not think it is too important of a destination and arrive 2 hours late (Katy Perry, 2015) or perform in sweatpants (Adam Levine in Maroon 5, 2015).
The stage lit up red as the band began their first song. Every member of the the audience, who was handed a wristband upon entering the venue, started waving their hands as the wristbands started to light up to match the red on the screen. The first song was enjoyable, but not too memorable. However, the screen changed colors and soon the band started performing “Yellow” (2000), Coldplay’s first American hit. As lead singer Chris Martin began to sing “look at the stars, look how they shine for you,” this older, more sentimental song had almost everyone singing in unison to their favorite lines.
Coldplay did not hold back on special effects. Throughout the night, there were multiple instances when huge clouds of confetti rained across the the stage, blowing all over the crowd and on the stage. Flames shot up from the sides and fireworks blasted into the darkness, igniting the sky with bright streaks. Of their newer songs, “Hymn for the Weekend” was one of the more lively and moving performances. It started off with the same recognizable bird noises that the song had reached top charts with, along with Beyonce’s voice on recording. There were colorful sparks paired with creative, bizarre, and colorful video effects that contributed to its psychedelic lyrics about romance: “life is a drink, and love’s a drug. I think I must be miles up.”
“Everglow”, another song from the A Head Full of Dreams album, according to lead singer Chris Martin, is “a sad song.” He said to the audience “no phones for this song, put all of your phones down.” This song was intended to “send love to anywhere that needs it.” This authentic, live-in-the-moment atmosphere was what made that night unique and unforgettable.
Coldplay performed a number of old songs, including “Magic” (2014) and “The Scientist” (2002). These tended to be the crowd favorites, being nostalgic, romantic and slow. Of all the songs performed at the concert, “Fix You”, sung near the end of the night, was the most memorable. Fix You was soul-stirring and heart-touching every second it was played; first the song began with the familiar tune that most of the crowd immediately knew. One minute in, as the chorus was about to begin, Chris Martin sat the edge of the stage and sang out “when you love someone but it goes to waste, could it be worse?”, and then pointed his microphone towards the audience. All at once, the mass of voices could be heard, singing “lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones, and I will try to fix you.”
Since its formation in 1996, this has been the first time Coldplay has performed in Taiwan. They performed their second night in the same location on April 12. Before the band left, they promised “we’ll play here again!”