Coldplay / Idlewild - M.E.N. Arena - 11.10.02

The fact that Coldplay are headlining a venue this size playing nothing more than electrified folk music is a victory in itself. That they've done it against all the odds while cynics have poured scorn on their abilities is testament to the power of honesty and truth through the most simplified art form possible. With Coldplay receiving raves reviews over in the States you could call this a victory tour of their home country with Chris Martin being to the band what David Beckham is to Manchester United.

Joining Coldplay on their victory tour are the somewhat glum Idlewild. Losing bass player Bob a matter of days before the tour started amongst rumours of rift between from Roddy Woomble resulting from the usual rock & roll addictions. It's a pity that as the band score their biggest hits to date with "You Held The World In Your Arms" and "American English" they suffer a loss which on the basis of tonight's show they really could do without. Stand in bass technician Alex tries his best, but the band sound tired and retreat further into the reluctant shells than usual. It's certainly not beyond the realms of possibility that Idlewild release a half hearted commercial stab in the dark with the next record before simply calling it a day. With that gang mentality gone it may be their only choice.

But no-one really notices Idlewild as they here to see Coldplay. After storming Glastonbury earlier in the year the Arena's will simply be a breeze for the band who nearly broke up in America before discovering that the only thing they can do about this absurd situation is to laugh about it. Here are a band that are so intimate and solitary, yet due to that unique connection they have with the people are playing highly personal songs to an legion of fans. Where the likes of the Stereophonics and the Charlatans have neither the personality or the tunes to fill such a cavernous venue, the band step up to the challenge like a walk in the park. "Politik" sounds like a lost Elton John ballad while Chris is the first to admit that "Trouble" should be sung my someone like Boyzone or Westlife. Never one to take things too seriously her runs through the now legendary cover version of Nelly's "Hot In Herre" before launching into "Don't Panic" which he dedicates to fans of Brookside dismayed at the thought it's only a matter of time before the show bows out. It's "Green Eye" though of the "A Rush Of Blood To The Head" album which really wins us over with a simple camp fire song turned into the 17,000 strong choir of sensitive males.

Naturally it's those classic early Coldplay moments which really shine in the spacious surroundings. "Yellow" for all it's familiarity loses none of the original spark it had when we first heard it. And "Shiver" is still possibly the ultimate Coldplay moment transcending the rest of the set by no small distance. When you compare tonight to those nervous shuffle's that we all witnessed on that first national tour, it's easy to imagine just how much of a superstar Chris Martin could be as his confidence grows with each album. From now on the future is there's for the taking and it's going to take more than a few heartless music hacks to get in their way.

Alex McCann

Post your Coldplay reviews / comments on the Message Board